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The Nevada Independent

Coronavirus Live Blog: Number of COVID-19 cases statewide rises to 2,871; deaths increase to 114

The Nevada Independent Staff
The Nevada Independent Staff
Steve Sisolak stands away from podium

With the number of coronavirus cases in the Silver State on the rise, The Nevada Independent will be keeping you up to date on the latest here, both through regular live blog updates and updates to our infographic tracking cases around Nevada. The most recent updates will be posted at the top.

To see previous developments, you can visit our week one live blog here (3/9-3/15), our week two live blog here (3/16-3/22), our week three live blog here (3/23-3/29) and last week's live blog here (3/30-4/5). You can also see our live blog tracking economic developments from the first week here.



Note: The default view of the above spreadsheet shows positive cases as reported by the counties and the cumulative county-by-county total, which may differ from the total the state is reporting. Check the above infographic for the latest statewide case total.

Sunday state and county update: COVID-19 cases rise to 2,871, deaths increase to 114

State and county health officials reported 116 new cases Sunday, bringing the number of cases statewide to 2,871. Officials also reported 114 deaths from the virus statewide, an increase of two from Saturday night.

Health officials in Clark County reported 66 cases on Sunday, bringing the countywide total to 2,324. The county also reported 100 total deaths, up from 96 on Saturday, and 624 hospitalizations, up three from Saturday’s reported total of 621.

Washoe County reported 46 new cases Sunday, bringing the countywide total to 461. County officials also reported one death, bringing the death toll in Washoe to 12. Statistics provided by the county also show 61 new recoveries, 388 active cases, 30 current hospitalizations.

Carson City reported two additional cases of coronavirus Sunday evening, bringing the total cases in Carson City to 22. According to a press release from the Quad-County Emergency Operations Center reported by Carson Now, both cases — a woman in her 50s and a woman in her 70s — are self-isolating. The operations center reports coronavirus cases for Carson City, Douglas County, Lyon County and Storey County.

White Pine County additionally on Sunday announced two more cases of COVID-19, bringing the countywide total to three. County officials said the first lab-confirmed case was in an infant, and the infant's parents are now confirmed to be positive as well. The three cases are associated with travel outside the county, officials said.

A dashboard maintained by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services also shows 24,611 people have been tested, an increase of 1,024 from Saturday. As of Saturday night, state health officials also reported 62 percent of hospital beds statewide were occupied, as well as 70 percent of intensive care rooms and 41 percent of ventilators. 

Last updated 4/13/20 at 8:06 a.m.

Saturday state and county update: COVID-19 cases rise to 2,755, deaths increase to 111

State health officials reported three more COVID-19 deaths Saturday evening, bringing fatalities to 111 statewide.

Southern Nevada Health District officials reported 114 new cases of the novel coronavirus Saturday morning, raising the countywide total to 2,258. The health district also reported a total of 96 deaths, up 21 from Friday's total. Hospitalizations in Clark County increased by 38 from Friday to 621.

Washoe County officials announced Saturday afternoon 26 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the countywide total to 415. They also announced one new death, bringing the death toll in the county from the virus to 11. According to county officials, 32 people are currently hospitalized and 59 people have recovered from the virus.

The Quad-County Emergency Operations Center on Saturday evening announced three more Lyon County cases and four more Carson City cases, bringing the region’s total to 40. All seven people are self-isolating at home in stable condition.

The new Lyon County cases are two women — one in her 20s and another in her 40s — as well as a man in his 40s, officials said. Lyon County now has 10 cases, nine of which are active.

The Carson City residents who tested positive are a man in his 70s, a woman in her 50s, a woman in her 40s and a man in his 50s, officials said. The additional cases bring Carson City’s total up to 20, with 14 of them considered active cases.

Health authorities in Humboldt County announced two more cases — a man in his 20s and a woman in her 60s — on Saturday evening, meaning the rural county east of Washoe now has 20 cases. Both new patients are self-isolating at home and had contact with a previously reported case.

As of Saturday evening, counties across Nevada had reported 2,755 coronavirus cases.

The county-reported case numbers exceed the numbers reported by state health officials on Saturday morning, which show a total of 2,700 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus statewide.

A dashboard maintained by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services shows that 23,587 people have been tested across the state, an increase of 838 from Friday. Health officials also reported that statewide 62 percent of hospital beds were occupied, while 70 percent of intensive care unit rooms were occupied. Additionally, 41 percent of the state's ventilators are in use, officials said.

Last updated 4/11/20 at 8:30 p.m.

Friday state and county update: COVID-19 death toll rises to 102

State health officials reported Friday afternoon that 16 more people had died from coronavirus, bringing the death toll to 102 in Nevada. 

A dashboard maintained by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services shows that 22,749 people have been tested across the state, an increase of 154 from earlier in the day.

Counties have reported 2,606 coronavirus cases across the state.

The Southern Nevada Health District on Friday reported that positive COVID-19 cases in Clark County were now at 2,144, up from 2,009 cases reported on Thursday. The death total also rose to 75 deaths, up by four as compared to Thursday.

During a press call on Friday, Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick told reporters that the county is now at 389 positive cases, with three additional recoveries. Hospitalizations in the county are now at 30 individuals.

Humboldt County officials announced Friday afternoon two new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the countywide total to 18. Both of them are men who are self-isolating at home, one in his 40s and another in his 60s. Of the previously announced 16 cases, four are hospitalized while the rest are isolating at home.

Health authorities on Friday evening also reported two new cases in rural areas — a Lyon County resident in his 50s and a Douglas County resident in his 30s. Both are self-isolating at home in stable condition.

The new patients mean there are now 10 coronavirus cases in Douglas County and seven in Lyon County.

Last updated 4/11/20 at 11:31 a.m.

Nevada receives federal funding for National Guard activation

The Defense Department approved Gov. Steve Sisolak’s request for federal funding related to the activation of the Nevada National Guard, officials announced Friday evening.

The amount of federal funding was not disclosed. The governor called up the Nevada National Guard last week to help with the state’s coronavirus response.

“I am grateful for the approval of this additional funding, which will help Nevada battle this invisible enemy, flatten the curve and save lives,” Sisolak said in a statement. 

— Jackie Valley, 4/10/20 at 7:46 p.m.

Burning Man festival moves to online format this year

Burning Man, an annual festival held in the northeastern Nevada desert, won’t be happening in quite the same fashion this year.

Organizers announced Friday that the festival, scheduled for Aug. 30-Sept. 7, will move to an online format called Virtual Black Rock City 2020.

“Given the painful reality of COVID-19, one of the greatest global challenges of our lifetimes, we believe this is the right thing to do,” organizers wrote on their website announcing the decision. “Yes, we are heartbroken. We know you are too. In 2020 we need human connection and Immediacy more than ever.”

Refunds will be given for tickets purchased to the canceled in-person festival, although organizers noted that donations would be appreciated given “substantial staff layoffs, pay reductions, and other belt-tightening measures” to stay operational for the 2021 event season.

Organizers said salary cuts for its leadership team and some staff layoffs have already occurred. Burning Man’s cancellation insurance does not cover health epidemics or pandemics.

“We hope to bring many of them back in 2021, but it’s too soon to know exactly how all of this will unfold,” they wrote. “We are slashing expenses and looking at every line of our budget for possible cuts.”

Participants will need a ticket for Virtual Black Rock City 2020, but the cost has not been determined. There will be no limit to participation, though.

“We’re not sure how it’s going to come out; it will likely be messy and awkward with mistakes,” organizers wrote. “It will also likely be engaging, connective, and fun.”

The in-person Burning Man cancellation deals a sizable economic blow, given that it brings roughly 80,000 attendees to the region.

— Jackie Valley, 4/10/20 at 6:22 p.m.

Clark County health officials see early signs that “curve” of COVID-19 is decreasing

Officials with the Southern Nevada Health District say they are seeing early signs that school and business closures are helping to decrease the rate of coronavirus spread, although they said they’re doing more rigorous analysis to verify those observations.

Dr. Vit Kraushaar, a medical investigator with the health district, discussed the trend in an online press conference on Friday during which officials said emergency departments in Clark County are not seeing the huge surge in patients that some parts of the country witnessed. Officials also reported “a flattening number of patients coming in with COVID” but said they expected the number, and demand for ventilators, to grow.

“We're still in exponential growth, but it's possible that the slope of that exponential curve has decreased slightly,” Kraushaar said.

Health authorities also discussed their efforts to ensure COVID-19 deaths are not undercounted. They said they learn of deaths either when a person who has tested positive and dies in a hospital, or they find out through the coroner’s office.

If a person dies at home, the coroner has a protocol to swab them and determine if they had COVID-19.

“The Council for State and Territorial Epidemiologists has released a case definition for basically people who you suspect may have had COVID symptoms and died, and so we're trying to figure out how to incorporate that data as well,” Kraushaar said. “What we don't want to do is really systematically undercount the number of deaths ... that is a challenge.”

Health officials acknowledged there have been significant gaps in race and ethnicity data they are reporting for people with the virus. For nearly 41 percent of cases, the patient’s race and ethnicity is listed as unknown, raising questions about whether the virus is disproportionately affecting certain demographics.

“As the number of cases increase, it becomes difficult to systematically collect all this information for every single case,” Kraushaar said. “We are prioritizing people who are hospitalized and people who die … I'm pretty sure we're gonna put out that information at some time.”

He said the agency has 50 people working on investigations of cases, but that the cases can take several hours to complete and the priority so far has been on determining close contacts of patients so they can be advised to isolate themselves.

“We aren't going to have complete data. And we see this across the country,” Kraushaar said.  “As much as we want perfect data, I think right now, the most actionable information we want is information about close contacts with people.”

Officials also provided a status update on temporary structures to isolate the homeless who fall sick and house other people who have nowhere to self-quarantine. 

Jeff Quinn, manager of the Office of Public Health Preparedness, said the health authority was still identifying a vendor to set up the temporary structure of about 40 beds on the agency’s property. He said ISO-Q, a temporary structure at the Cashman Complex to house homeless individuals with COVID-19, is expected to open on Monday.

— Michelle Rindels, 4/10/20 at 3:26 p.m.

Federal judge denies request to release ICE detainee with underlying conditions from Henderson Detention Center

A federal judge has denied a request to release a 45-year-old man who is in ICE custody in Henderson, saying he hasn't shown he is subject to unconstitutionally unsafe conditions. 

The order issued Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer Dorsey denied the request for a temporary restraining order from Daniel Ramirez, a Mexican citizen who has pre-diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. Dorsey said that ICE and officials from the city of Henderson showed they were taking steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus within the Henderson Detention Center.

“This ruling is a setback, but we’re going to keep fighting to protect vulnerable detainees and prisoners from COVID-19,” said Sherrie Royster, legal director of the ACLU of Nevada, which represents Ramirez.

The claims from the second plaintiff, ICE detainee and asylum seeker Christopher Njingu of Cameroon, were ruled moot because Njingu was released on parole in recent days.

ACLU officials had argued that detaining immigrants with underlying health conditions put them at significant risk of suffering dire health effects if they contract COVID-19. The organization has also raised the alarm in a separate letter that prisons and jails could become hotbeds of the disease and foster a problem that the facilities are unequipped to handle.

But Dorsey’s order noted that ICE officials have taken precautions such as screening employees before all shifts, closing off visitation and screening new detainees for the virus.

“The presence of such an unsafe condition is speculative at this point,” she wrote, noting that defendants have said no inmate, detainee or employee at the detention center has tested positive for COVID-19. “A mere possibility of harm is insufficient to warrant the extraordinary relief of a temporary restraining order.”

— Michelle Rindels, 4/10/20 at 1:15 p.m.

Washoe County to order mandatory 14-day quarantine for out-of-state individuals in short-term rentals

Health district officials in Washoe County say they plan to issue a directive on Friday requiring any out-of-state individuals living in a short-term rental to quarantine in place and not leave their residence outside of emergencies for at least 14 days.

County health officer Kevin Dick told reporters during a press call on Friday that he planned to issue the directive later today and that it harmonized with state and local messaging asking anyone coming in from out-of-state to shelter in place and avoid public spaces for at least 14 days to help mitigate possible spread of COVID-19.

“That's the incubation period to make sure they don't come down with COVID-19 from contacts that they've had in other areas that they've visited,” he said. “And we're just re-emphasizing that this applies to the users of short term rentals, and we're requiring the short term rental property owners to inform guests that they have those requirements.”

Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a travel advisory for the state in late March, asking visitors to postpone trips if possible and for Nevadans to avoid all nonessential travel

— Riley Snyder, 4/10/20 at 12:49 p.m.

Thursday state and county update: COVID-19 cases now at 2,456 statewide; statewide deaths rise to 86

State officials are reporting 2,456 cases of COVID-19 Thursday morning afternoon, up 138 from Wednesday.

A dashboard maintained by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services shows that 21,771 people have been tested so far across Nevada, an increase of 1,205 since Wednesday.

The number of deaths statewide rose to 86 as of Thursday evening, up from 80 earlier in the day.

Washoe County officials on Thursday afternoon reported two new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in the county to ten.

The county reported that the fatal cases included a woman in her 60s with an underlying health condition and a man in his 50s with an underlying health condition. Washoe County also reported 37 additional positive cases and three recoveries. The county has confirmed a total of 363 coronavirus cases.

The Southern Nevada Health District reported Thursday morning that Clark County’s positive COVID-19 cases have now risen to 2,009, an increase of 131 compared to the last report. Deaths in Clark County also increased to 71, up 6 from Tuesday.

Elko County reported two additional positive coronavirus cases, a male in his 60s with unknown medical history and a male in his 30s who is self-isolating at home. The county said both men were close contacts of another positive coronavirus case.

Lyon County and Carson City each reported two new cases Thursday evening. All of the cases are self-isolating and stable, health officials said. Lyon County said a female resident in her 20s and a male resident in his 30s tested positive, bringing the county's total case count to six. 

Carson City confirmed that a female resident in her 40s and a male in his 70s tested positive, bringing its confirmed case count to 16. 

Health officials for the “Quad-County” area, which includes Carson City, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties, announced one additional recovery for a total of 10 recoveries.

— Last updated 4/9/20 at 6:22 p.m. 

Employees providing food at Clark County school sites will get pay raise

The Clark County School District says it will pay food service workers who are still interacting with the public during school shutdowns 150 percent of their regular pay.

The district announced Thursday that it had reached an agreement with the Education Support Employees Association union to boost wages for people handing out school lunches each day, as well as to custodians cleaning those sites.

“We understand we’re asking employees to go above and beyond their duties and I’m thankful we can offer them additional compensation during this time,” said school board President Lola Brooks.

The pay bump comes after a worker who had distributed food at Desert Pines High School died after contracting coronavirus

Since schools were closed in mid-March, nearly 1 million meals have been distributed at numerous school sites. The distribution program is aimed at ensuring children who depend on school-based free and reduced-price lunch programs don’t go hungry.

— Michelle Rindels, 4/9/20 at 7:40 p.m.

Group of pastors asks governor to loosen restrictions on worship services, says drive-in ban goes too far

Several churches in Las Vegas are calling on Gov. Steve Sisolak to rescind his directive that houses of worship not hold in-person services where more than 10 people might gather.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon at the International Church of Las Vegas, Las Vegas City Councilwoman Victoria Seaman and senior pastor Marc Goulet called on the governor to ease up on the order that specifically prohibits drive-in or pop-up services. The church had planned to hold Easter services this weekend in a manner similar to a drive-in theater, where attendees remained in their cars and listened to audio through the radio.

“As a therapist, I can tell you … they want the ability to be in these parking lots across the city,” Goulet said. “So we’re pleading with you right now to reconsider. Make a decision that I believe you’re going to be grateful for, and honestly, I think God will bless you for.”

Pastors in attendance affirmed, however, that their churches would submit to the governor and would not hold in-person or drive-in services unless Sisolak changed his orders. A Sisolak spokeswoman did not immediately answer whether the governor had changed his mind in light of the requests.

Goulet said the church has been supplying people with food packages and prayer when they show up on the property, and said some people are desperate for the social interaction of being together at a drive-in service. He said one man who he spoke with on Thursday wanted to take his own life because his business has been shut down.

Matt Teis, executive pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Las Vegas, said his congregation took Sisolak’s earlier advice in mid-March not to hold large in-person gatherings, moving most activities online.

“We value his opinion and his insights. We believe that God put him in that position,” Teis said. “But today, we feel that he has overreached his bounds.”

His father, Liberty Baptist Church Senior Pastor Dave Teis, said that while “I appreciate you Gov. Sisolak … the fact is you have no right at all, according to our constitution, to tell us what we can and cannot do when it comes to worship.”

The directive announced Wednesday cites Nevada statute delegating special powers to the governor during a state of emergency, including “directing and controlling the conduct of the general public and the movement and cessation of movement of pedestrians and vehicular traffic.”

— Michelle Rindels, 4/9/20 at 6:55 p.m.

State contracting with vendor to add 100 new workers to field unemployment calls

Nevada is looking to add at least another 100 employees to the call center at its unemployment insurance office after an avalanche of claims has overwhelmed the system.

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced on Thursday that the chosen vendor, an unnamed “international company” that currently operates two call centers in Nevada, is required to have the additional staff up and running next week. The Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation has upped its staff from 75 to 200 during the pandemic, but the number of claims filed each week has been 30 to 40 times the pre-crisis average.

“Although DETR has recently tripled staff in support of the UI program, we acknowledge that some filers continue to face challenges with the UI phone system,” said Tiffany Tyler-Garner, head of the agency. “We are very pleased to partner with the Governor’s Office in finding a resolution to the challenges proposed by the record number of calls received at our centers.”

The state expects that by the end of the week, 300,000 people will have filed for unemployment benefits.

The vendor is expected to use a platform that includes employees at call centers but also people who are working remotely from home. Added capacity is aimed at easing workers dealing with high call volumes, and potentially helping with additional callers trying to claim benefits under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provision that will support independent contractors and others not traditionally receiving benefits.

State officials say that of the initial claims that have been filed, 96 percent have been completed online and 4 percent have been completed over the phone.

“Our State is working overtime and leveraging every resource possible to help those filers who must utilize a phone to file or resolve an issue with their claim,” Sisolak said. “I am optimistic that this new call center will further expedite much-needed relief to Nevadans who have struggled to connect via phone.”

— Michelle Rindels, 4/9/20 at 5:50 p.m.

Clark County continues securing bed space; local health officials start announcing estimates of recoveries

Clark County has secured about 150 of a promised 500 additional bed spaces for people in Southern Nevada who need to be isolated because of illness or otherwise separated from the general population amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatirck announced during a press conference Thursday morning.

The Salvation Army has 32 beds set aside for people who are 65 or older who have underlying medical conditions, while Crossroads of Southern Nevada and Well Care have respectively secured 39 and 114 beds to isolate individuals, Kirkpatrick said. County officials are continuing to work to secure additional bed space, including motels and other locations.

At the same time, county officials announced that construction of a isolation and quarantine complex for homeless individuals at Cashman Center has been completed and that they are now working on staffing for that facility and establishing a process for moving people in and out of the facility. Assistant County Manager Kevin Schiller said the goal is for the facility to be open in the next few days.

“We feel fairly prepared with that, in addition to the other beds that we've identified, because that will also help,” Schiller said.

At the same time, the Southern Nevada Health District is starting to release the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19 in Clark County, though health district officials note that it’s a difficult number to track. Dr. Fermin Leguen, the health district’s chief health officer, estimates that 727 people have recovered from the virus in the county.

While most hospitals are still listing their supplies of personal protective equipment as “yellow,” Clark County Fire Chief John Steinbeck, who is also the county’s emergency manager, said that the situation is improving and that additional PPE received from the national stockpile will be distributed by the end of the day on Friday. However, he said there are still “a lot of shortages” and that donations have still been coming in.

Mason VanHouweling, the CEO of University Medical Center, said that the hospital is preparing for a surge in cases around April 17 and detailed some of the current hospital capacity numbers in Las Vegas, including that about 60 percent of beds in Las Vegas are currently occupied, with 314 confirmed positive COVID-19 patients and another roughly 300 suspected COVID-19 patients admitted to Las Vegas hospitals. He also explained how hospitals are turning patients onto their stomachs for treatment, which has allowed hospitals to keep patients off of ventilators.

"We anticipate an increase and we are seeing an increase in COVID-related symptoms," VanHouweling says.

Leguen also said that the Southern Nevada Public Health Laboratory has the capacity to run 5,000 more tests, though their daily limit is about 60 tests per day. He said that the lab has partnered with the state’s public lab in Reno and the lab at UMC to run additional tests when the lab is at capacity and noted that other hospitals now also have their own in-house testing for coronavirus.

Officials said that it’s difficult to project when, exactly, the pandemic will end. VanHouweling said that the virus would “absolutely” still be around in the fall, while Leguen said it was possible that the virus could return over the summer and return in the fall. However, Leguen noted that much is still not known about the virus and that there still exists the possibility that the virus could become one of the seasonal illnesses that circulate every year, like the flu and other known coronaviruses.

“There is no right answer ... because there is not any science supporting any kind of answer because there is no history for this virus,” Leguen said.

— Megan Messerly, 4/9/20 at 12:28 p.m.

Culinary Union reiterates calls on casino companies to pay workers through coronavirus shutdown

The Culinary Union and its parent union UNITE HERE are ramping up pressure on casino companies in Las Vegas and across the country to pay their workers through the shutdown because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

During a press call with reporters Thursday morning, union leaders argued that several major casino companies should use the cash they have on hand to pay their workers and others that don’t can apply for loans that would allow them to do the same. UNITE HERE President D. Taylor said that casino companies “stepped up” in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 and should do the same now.

“They should pay throughout the closures,” Taylor said.

Taylor suggested that because gaming companies hold what are known as privileged licenses the state has much more say over what they can and cannot do. He suggested that states use their authority to compel casino companies to pay their workers if they won’t choose to do so voluntarily. 

“Both the states should insist that they pay people through the shutdown and, frankly, the conscience of these casinos should do the same thing,” Taylor said.

Geoconda Argüello-Kline, the Culinary Union’s secretary-treasurer, noted that the union has been assisting members with filling unemployment applications, applying for financial assistance to help pay for rent and utilities and handing out more than 9,000 food baskets, with plans to give out another 6,000 this week. She said most casino companies whose workers are represented by the union, other than Wynn Resorts, which is continuing to pay its workers, have “practically left these families alone.”

"We're asking them to take care of their responsibility like the Wynn and Encore and help their workers through this crisis," she says.

Two of the least union-friendly companies in Las Vegas, Station Casinos and the Las Vegas Sands, have promised to pay their workers into at least May.

Asked for comment, MGM Resorts did not directly answer the union's call for action but said they care grateful that Congress has passed the CARES Act to assist workers affected by the shutdown.

"The decisions we are making are to ensure that we have the resources to not just reopen, but also to operate successfully, because the most impactful thing we can do for our employees in the long term is to bring them back to work," the company said in a statement.

The CARES Act extends unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks. MGM Resorts has been helping employees with grants through an emergency fund that so far has collected $11 million in donations and has been connecting people who are out of work with companies that are hiring, including Amazon and WalMart.

A spokeswoman for Caesars Entertainment declined comment on the union's requests.

— Megan Messerly, 4/9/20 at 9:41 a.m., updated at 5 p.m.

Wednesday state and county update: COVID-19 cases now at 2,318 statewide

State and county health officials are reporting 2,318 cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon, up 102 from the last reported statewide total Wednesday morning.

A dashboard maintained by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services indicated that 20,566 people have been tested so far, an increase of 946 people since the last update on Wednesday morning.

Nine additional deaths were reported as of Wednesday evening, bringing the state's death toll to 80. However, Gov. Steve Sisolak said at a press conference Wednesday night there are actually 81 deaths statewide.

The Southern Nevada Health District reported that Clark County’s positive COVID-19 cases have now risen to 1,878, an increase of 144 as compared to the last report. Deaths in Clark County also increased to 65, up from the 54 reported on Tuesday.

Washoe County reported 17 additional coronavirus cases Wednesday morning, as well as four more recoveries. It pushes the county total to 326, of which 285 cases remain active and 27 remain hospitalized. 

County health officials also announced three more deaths on Wednesday; a woman in her 60s with underlying conditions, a man in his 70s also with underlying conditions and a woman in her 80s. Those deaths bring the total killed by the virus in Washoe to eight.

Officials in the Carson City region reported two more cases Wednesday evening, including a Carson City man in his 30s and a Douglas County woman also in her 30s, in addition to one recovered case in Lyon County. The new cases bring the Carson City-Douglas-Lyon-Storey region's total to 27, including 18 active cases and nine recoveries.

Humboldt County officials, meanwhile, reported two more cases Wednesday night, pushing the county total to 16. The new patients are men — one in his 60s and the other in his 20s — and both are self-isolating, officials said. The younger man is from out of state./

— Last updated 4/8/20 at 10:07 p.m.

Station Casinos to continue paying employees through May 15

Citing ongoing uncertainty as to when mitigation efforts against COVID-19 may end, Station Casinos says it plans to continue regular pay and health benefits for all of its covered employees through May 15.

The casino company made the announcement in a memorandum to employees and posted publicly, saying that it will continue to cover pay and benefits of full-time hourly and salaried employees through mid-May, as well as nearly 700 part-time workers.

Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered the closure of all nonessential businesses in the state last month, including casinos, and recently extended the shutdown order until the end of April.

“Nothing is more important to us than the health and wellbeing of our team members, guests, and the entire Las Vegas community, and we wholeheartedly support that decision by the Governor,” Station Casinos president Richard Haskins wrote in the memo.

— Riley Snyder, 4/8/20 at 4:01 p.m.

Reno City Council defers licensure fee payments for businesses closed during non-essential business shutdown

The Reno City Council has voted to defer license fee payments for businesses forced to close during the state’s nonessential business shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The unanimous decision stipulated that businesses in the city will not be required to pay licensure fees and fees levied based on a percentage of sales or revenue throughout the shutdown and for a period of 90 days after reopening. In addition to the deferrals, the city also voted to reduce flat-rate licensure fees so that businesses will only have to pay fees for the months they were open.

The decision comes after a previous 30-day business license fee extension between March 27 and April 30.

According to a city memo, the relief “is proposed to help businesses stay viable through the Coronavirus emergency,” and the combined financial effect of fee deferrals and reductions on the city would be roughly $284,705 per month.

The City Council’s decision follows Gov. Steve Sisolak’s broad emergency order on March 20 requiring all non-essential businesses to close. Casinos, bars, pubs, nightclubs and gyms were among the businesses required to shut down, although some businesses were still allowed to ship or deliver goods directly to residences or offer curbside pickup.

Businesses allowed to have to-go but not on-site services such as restaurants will still pay revenue-based fees but will not have to pay the flat-rate on-premise alcohol license fees because they are no longer serving alcohol on-site. If restaurants are allowed to sell packaged alcohol, they will pay fees associated with packaged alcohol licenses.

To implement the decision, city staff will prepare a fee relief form for businesses to submit. Staff will then ensure that relief is granted to businesses closed because of the governor’s directive.

Any other business still operating but that may have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and state shutdown will also be able to request fee deferment on a case-by-case basis. The city recommended that those with questions regarding the directive call 775-334-2090. 

— Tabitha Mueller, 4/8/20 at 3:45 p.m.

Second Allegiant Stadium construction worker tests positive for COVID-19

A second worker at the Allegiant Stadium construction site near the Strip has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement released Wednesday by construction companies Mortensen and McCarthy. 

The worker was on-site for one week before leaving on April 2 — prior to experiencing symptoms — and is self-isolating at home. Mortensen/McCarthy said the worker’s assigned area was shut down and sanitized and that there was not close contact with other workers. 

The first case of a stadium worker falling ill with the coronavirus was reported last month, not long before state health and safety regulators issued a scathing report indicating construction sites were still broadly allowing workers to congregate in groups. 

Jacob Solis, 4/8/20 at 3:35 p.m.

Union says Clark County Commission has “defined the parameters” of collective bargaining suspension

The Service Employees International Union Local 1107 says it has come to an agreement with members of the Clark County Commission on “parameters” of what the county can and cannot do after suspending collective bargaining agreements last week in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The union, which represents about 9,000 county workers including University Medical Center employees, had last week threatened legal action after County Manager Yolanda King suspended collective bargaining contracts because of an expected financial shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But on Wednesday, union Executive Director Grace Vergara-Mactal and President Brenda Marzan said in a joint statement that they applauded the County Commission in “holding Clark County and UMC management accountable to this reactive, unilateral decision.”

The union also listed several agreed-to parameters, including:

  • Keeping whistleblower laws and the Merit Personnel System in place
  • Not tolerating abusive managers or suggestions that an employee can be terminated without cause
  • Applicable collective bargaining agreements will be followed in the event of layoffs, including union participation and employee protections
  • Labor-management committees will continue to meet
  • Weekly meetings between SEIU leaders and county officials
  • Agreement to not declare a fiscal emergency under state law until the County Commission is consulted and approves the decision
  • Complete reinstatement of collective bargaining agreements once the Governor’s State of Emergency is lifted.

— Riley Snyder, 4/8/20 at 3:08 p.m.

Washoe County expects later peak in COVID-19 cases, medical system not currently at capacity

Washoe County health officials say they expect peak COVID-19 cases in the county to come about a week after Clark County hits a peak number, and they are taking steps to prepare for a possible surge to the medical system.

Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick and other county officials told reporters on Wednesday that area hospitals are taking steps to prepare for a likely surge in novel coronavirus cases, saying that a delayed peak in cases (anticipated because of the currently low per-capita infection rate) could benefit the county by giving it more time to prepare.

“I think it's better that we're going to have more time before we see our peaks hit here in Washoe County because that provides us with additional time to prepare,” he said. “The downside might be if we have more surges occurring in other areas of the country and in Southern Nevada, whether resources have been deployed to those locations and we're having difficulty getting them here.”

Dick said that county hospital capacity was not overloaded; about 62 percent of beds, 53 percent of Intensive Care Unit rooms and 24 percent of ventilators are currently occupied. He detailed strategies to prepare for a surge in cases, including hospitals working to identify sites and staffing for surge situations and the creation of an alternative care site at the Reno Sparks Convention Center, as well as continuing to encourage community social distancing and wearing facial coverings when in public.

He also said the county has received protocols on “Crisis Standard Care” to determine priorities if a surge in positive COVID-19 cases outstrips the county’s capacity to provide medical treatment to everyone.

“These will guide difficult decision-making that will be necessary if we end up with a situation where our surge levels exceed the capacity of our hospital system to provide the medical care that each individual needs,” he said.

Dick also said that the county’s requests for personal protective equipment (PPE) had been partially filled through the state and the federal Strategic National Stockpile, but that it was “much, much less” than the amount of materials requested.

Dick also said that the county was continuing a drive-through testing process with the expectation of collecting around 120 samples per day, with tests available on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam said that his office has only responded to one complaint of a “nonessential” business continuing to operate during the shutdown, and it was resolved without the need to file a citation.

He also said the office was taking steps to ensure safety in the county jail, including enhanced screening of arrested persons and isolating about 12 inmates in the past three weeks who may have been exposed to the virus but do not show extreme signs or symptoms. 

He said that three deputies have tested positive for the virus, and another 18 staff members are on quarantine because of possible exposure. Balaam added that because the sheriff’s office instituted work-from-home measures early on, the police agency had ample manpower to meet patrol and jail staffing needs.

— Riley Snyder, 4/8/20 at 1:06 p.m.

Casino trade group, Nevada delegation ask Trump to intervene in small business loan program

The American Gaming Association, a national trade group for the casino industry, is asking President Donald Trump to intervene and direct the federal government to allow small casinos and taverns to tap into loan assistance offered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The AGA wrote in a letter to Trump and federal officials that the Small Business Administration’s interpretation of a loan assistance program created by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Review, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) did not allow small gaming entities to “receive critical loan assistance designed to help small businesses pay their employees.”

“Making SBA resources available to size-eligible gaming businesses is the right thing to do,” AGA President Bill Miller wrote in the letter. “As it stands, the policy discriminates against these mainstream businesses and, more importantly, the hundreds of thousands of employees who rely on gaming for their livelihood.”

The association also included letters from more than a dozen members of Congress, including all six members of Nevada’s delegation. Republican Rep. Mark Amodei wrote in a separate letter that the decision to exclude small gaming establishments was “ridiculous.”

“Each hour the SBA is allowed to impose their discriminatory, subjective, definition, results in a smaller and smaller balance remaining in the PPP for these deserving small employers to apply for,” he wrote.

— Riley Snyder, 4/8/20 at 10:40 a.m.

Tuesday state and county update: Confirmed cases of novel coronavirus statewide rise to 2,102; deaths up to 71

County health officials are reporting 2,099 cases of COVID-19 in Nevada, as of Tuesday afternoon, up 155 from Monday’s county-by-county total.

Authorities say there have been 18,639 people tested so far. That’s an increase of 1,040 from the 17,599 people who had been tested as of Monday’s update.

About 11.2 percent of people tested for COVID-19 have gotten a positive result, which is up from a rate of 11.1 percent as of the previous day.

Eleven more deaths were reported Tuesday evening, bringing the state’s coronavirus death toll to 71, according to an online dashboard maintained by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

The percentage of occupied hospital beds statewide remained steady Tuesday at 61 percent, according to the daily COVID-19 situation report released by the governor’s office. The percentage of occupied intensive-care rooms dipped slightly, down to 71 percent from 74 percent yesterday, while the number of in-use ventilators rose slightly to 47 percent, up from 44 percent.

The Southern Nevada Health District’s update on Tuesday morning shows Clark County has 1,734 confirmed cases, which is up 126 from the total reported Monday of 1,608.

The health authority said Tuesday there have been 54 deaths in its jurisdiction, which is up 13 from the 41 that were reported as of Monday.

Clark County is reporting 417 hospitalizations, up from the 371 reported on Monday.

The Washoe County Health District said in its Tuesday morning update that it saw an increase of 28 positive cases, adding to the the county's total of 309 cases. The county also reported one additional patient recovering from coronavirus, bringing total recoveries up to 31.

Washoe County reported a fifth death in its jurisdiction Tuesday afternoon. The patient was a woman in her 50s, and the health district is still investigating underlying conditions.

Nye County on Tuesday reported its first confirmed case in Tonopah, bringing the countywide total to 10, up from nine on Monday. Nye County officials say about 300 tests have been reported to them.

Health officials in Elko County reported another positive case Tuesday afternoon, a man in his 50s who is self-isolating at home. The new case brings the county’s total to nine. 

Two more reported cases in Carson City and another in Douglas County Tuesday raised the total for the Carson City-Douglas-Lyon-Storey region to 26, including 18 active cases and eight recovered. 

The new cases include a Carson City woman in her 40s, a Carson City man in his 20s and a Douglas County woman in her 30s. All three are self-isolating at home and remain in stable condition.

To see how Nevada’s coronavirus situation compares to that in other states, see our map tracking the data.

— Last updated 4/7/20 at 6:08 p.m.

Top gaming regulator to leave commission, focus on running medical clinic

Tony Alamo, who chairs the Nevada Gaming Commission, has informed Gov. Steve Sisolak that he will not seek another term on the regulatory agency in order to focus his attention on preparing his medical clinic for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alamo informed Sisolak in a letter sent on Tuesday that he planned to fill out the rest of his term as a commissioner, which expires on April 17, but would not be seeking or asking for another four-year term on the commission. Alamo owns and operates his own multi-physician primary care clinic in Henderson, and he said he needed to focus on those duties first.

“As you are aware, the peak of the infection is theorized to occur in the next 10-14 days; and therefore, I need to direct all of my energies to the clinical and logistical planning that my primary employment demands,” he wrote.

Alamo was appointed to the commission in 2008 and also served for six years on the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

Final Resignation Letter NG... by Riley Snyder on Scribd

— Riley Snyder, 4/7/20 at 5:04 p.m.

Board of Regents eyes budget cuts, codifies policy changes amid coronavirus shutdown

The Nevada Board of Regents on Tuesday heard the broad strokes of deep budget cut proposals through both the 2020 and 2021 fiscal years, including proposals for a 4 percent cut in 2020, and between a 6 percent and 14 percent cut for 2021. 

Combined, it would mean a budget reduction of between $69 and $124 million — numbers that are near the deep cuts made during the height of the financial crisis. 

Gov. Steve Sisolak last week asked all state departments to review possible cuts before April 13. With that deadline in mind, regents are set to meet again this Friday to discuss and vote on specific budget reduction recommendations, though financial officers for the system said the full scope of cuts may not be known until after the state has laid out its budget in May. 

The regents also adopted a number of emergency policy changes in the latest effort by the system to shift operations and ease the burden on students amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Those changes include a move to temporarily suspend holds on students with delinquent accounts, or those accounts that have racked up at least $100 in late payments, until September 30. The change will allow students affected financially by the coronavirus shutdowns to continue to register for summer and fall courses, as well as access official transcripts. 

Regents also approved a measure that will separate an underlying letter grade from the satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S-U) grading system, functionally allowing students to choose whether or not they want to receive an S-U grade in lieu of their final letter grade. 

In practice, students may choose to discuss their final letter grades with a counselor, who can then advise the student whether or not an S-U grade — which has the possibility of complicating processes such as graduate school admissions — is the right choice to make. 

Other changes passed Tuesday include the postponement of in-person graduation ceremonies for the Spring 2020 semester and the contract extensions of outgoing acting UNLV President Marta Meana and Chancellor Thom Reilly. Regents expect another proposal to extend the contract of outgoing UNR President Marc Johnson to be presented at a future emergency meeting. 

Those extensions follow an announcement last week that searches for new presidents at UNLV and UNR have been pushed to September, while the search for a new chancellor was pushed to June. 

Jacob Solis, 4/7/20 at 3:09 p.m.

Unincorporated Clark County joins Las Vegas in allowing liquor stores to deliver

Clark County is now allowing liquor stores to deliver products directly to customers’ homes while the storefronts are ordered closed.

The Clark County Department of Business License is temporarily allowing delivery service of unopened beer, wine and hard alcohol while the governor’s statewide emergency declaration remains in place. Liquor stores have been declared non-essential businesses and ordered not to serve customers on the premises, even through curbside pickup.

Stores can request permission through the county and must pay a $175 application fee. Those that quality must adhere to social distancing and sanitation protocols required by the governor.

The permits will allow delivery to locations in unincorporated Clark County only, and licensees must verify the age of the purchaser. Employees must do the delivery, as opposed to third-party services such as Uber Eats or Postmates.

Authorization lasts through April 30 — the length of the governor’s business shutdown order — but may be extended if closures last longer. 

Some liquor stores are already delivering after the City of Las Vegas gave them permission in recent days. Similarly, marijuana dispensaries are allowed to deliver their product if they have approved delivery vehicles and drivers, but are banned from operating storefronts or allowing curbside pickup.

— Michelle Rindels, 4/7/20, 2:50 p.m.

California loaning dozens of ventilators to Nevada

Gov. Steve Sisolak thanked Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state of California on Twitter for loaning Nevada 50 ventilators through May 1.

The shipment is expected to be delivered this week by the California National Guard, whose members are transferring them to the Nevada National Guard.

“In these trying times, we are reminded that the states remain united in our shared goal to protect Americans,” Sisolak wrote on Tuesday, adding the hashtag #StayHomeForNevada.

The Nevada Hospital Association reports that there are 893 ventilators in the state and 47 percent are in use, according to Sisolak spokeswoman Meghin Delaney. The additional ventilators will be on top of those numbers.

“The length of the loan was determined by California,” Delaney said when asked if the duration of the transfer reflected the timing of any peak for cases in Nevada or California. “Gov. Sisolak has been encouraging Nevadans on a regular basis to ‘Stay Home for Nevada’ to avoid any peak at all.”

She said the hospital association had not reported the average length of time that people have been staying on ventilators.

Sisolak said at a press conference on Monday that the state has requested 450 additional ventilators from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and was told they would be delivered within 72 hours before “what they’re deeming a surge.”

California has a lower rate of cases and deaths than many other parts of the country, with about one death per 100,000 residents compared with Nevada’s two deaths per 100,000 residents. 

“If we need them back in a few weeks, we'll get them back,” Newsom said of the ventilators, according to The Associated Press. “We looked at our modeling, we looked at conditions on the ground, and we feel confident about our capacity to meet our needs, as we support the needs of others.”

— Michelle Rindels, 4/7/20, 1:45 p.m., updated at 3:30 p.m.

Nevada traffic deaths down nearly 50 percent in March as residents stay home during pandemic

The number of roadway deaths in Nevada in March was down 48 percent compared to the same month last year — a trend that state officials say is linked to fewer people driving amid school and business shutdowns.

The Nevada Office of Traffic Safety reported Tuesday that there were 12 roadway deaths in Nevada in March, down from 23 in March 2019. School and nonessential businesses were directed in the second half of the month to close down.

“With the decrease in traffic, the Office of Traffic Safety expected a decrease in fatalities in March,” Andrew Bennett, spokesman for the agency, told The Nevada Independent. “Unfortunately, Nevada still experienced 12 fatalities on our roadways … All 12 of these fatalities were preventable and directly related to human behavior and choices that were made behind the wheel.”

Bennett said the deaths were caused by lack of seatbelt usage, impairment, and speed, and urged residents to slow down, stay focused on the road and don’t drive under the influence. 

The positive trends for the month of March were largely overshadowed by growth in the number of fatal crashes in February. Authorities said there were 61 crash deaths in Nevada in the first three months of the year, down from 63 for the first quarter of 2019.

— Michelle Rindels, 4/7/20 at 10:56 a.m.

Monday state and county update: Confirmed cases of novel coronavirus statewide rise to 1,953; death total rises to 58

The state Department of Health and Human Services reported Monday morning that there are now 1,953 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus statewide, up 117 from 1,836.

State health officials reported 12 additional deaths related to COVID-19 on Monday evening, bringing Nevada’s death total to 58.

The update on a dashboard maintained by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services is thus far the biggest one-day jump in deaths caused by the virus. Gov. Steve Sisolak tweeted that his office was investigating whether all deaths occurred today or if there was a lag in reporting over the weekend.

Humboldt County health officials on Monday evening reported that three more people tested positive for coronavirus, meaning the rural county east of Washoe now has 14 cases.

The new patients include a man in his 50s, a teenage girl who’s a close contact of a previously identified case and a man diagnosed in another county who’s self-isolating in Humboldt County, officials said. The other two are self-isolating at home.

Of the other 11 cases, three people remain hospitalized and one person has been released from the hospital, Humboldt officials said. The other eight are self-isolating at home.

Humboldt County Health Officer Charles Stringham reminded residents they have much control over how the virus is spread.

 “If you choose to always take the right actions, you will not get this virus, regardless of what others choose to do,” he said in a statement. “Remember, you are in control.”

The number of positive cases as a percentage of total tests run has been steadily increasing for the past couple of weeks. It increased from 10.9 percent on Sunday to 11.1 percent on Monday.

The Southern Nevada Health District additionally reported 89 new cases of COVID-19 in Clark County, bringing the countywide total to 1,608. Deaths in the county associated with the novel coronavirus remain at 41, while hospitalizations only increased by two, to 371.

Clark County now has 72.1 cases per 100,000 residents, the most cases per capita of any county in the state. Nevada, as a whole, is at 63.4 cases per 100,000 residents and has fewer cases per capita than 17 other states and the District of Columbia.

New York, which has the most cases per capita, is at 627.3 cases per 100,000 residents, while New Jersey, in second, is at 422.25 per capita. States, however, have different policies on who gets tested, which may influence the data.

Carson City Health and Human Services reported one new case of the novel coronavirus on Monday morning, a Carson City woman in her 20s who is self-isolating at home in stable condition. There are now 11 cases in Carson City, with one recovery.

Nye County officials additionally reported two more cases of the novel coronavirus Monday morning, both in Pahrump, bringing the number of cases countywide to nine. Two people have recovered from the virus in the county.

Washoe County health officials also announced on Monday that it had confirmed 17 additional cases of the virus, up to 281 cases county-wide. The number of hospitalizations also increased to 21, compared to the 18 reported on Sunday.

On Monday evening, Carson City health officials reported an additional positive COVID-19 case in Lyon County; a male in his 40s who is self-isolating at home and is in stable condition. It’s the fourth positive case of the virus in the county.

Health officials also reported six additional recoveries of positive cases in the “Quad-County” region, which includes Carson City, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties.

Last updated 4/6/20 at 8:51 p.m.

Confirmed cases among employees in Nevada prison system rises to three

The Nevada Department of Corrections says two additional employees have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the reported cases from the agency up to three.

An agency spokesman told The Nevada Independent on Monday that one employee at Ely State Prison and one employee at Casa Grande Transitional Housing in Las Vegas had tested positive. The employees were sent home to begin a 14-day period of isolation.

The cases are in addition to one reported March 26 in an employee at High Desert State Prison in Indian Springs, north of Las Vegas. The department has not reported any confirmed cases among inmates.

Prison officials said they have taken steps including suspending visitation and cleaning surfaces with a bleach solution to prevent spread of the virus.

Representatives from the ACLU of Nevada have called for early release of certain inmates to reduce the prison population and make it easier for inmates to practice social distancing. To date, Gov. Steve Sisolak has not announced sweeping action on the matter but said various options are under consideration.

— Michelle Rindels, 4/6/20 at 1:25 p.m.

Washoe County officials look toward late May peak rather than late April

As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Nevada continues to grow, Washoe County health officials are anticipating that the case count will peak sometime between late April and late May.

Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick, during a press availability with reporters Monday morning, said the health district is looking at multiple models to project peak cases in Washoe County, including one that projects a statewide peak on April 20 and another that has the state hitting its peak on May 20 and the county peaking on May 23. Dick said he is expecting a later peak rather than an earlier one but that he is “hopeful” that with the county reporting 45 cases on Friday and only 16, 19 and 17 cases in each of the three days since then that social distancing measures implemented last month may be working.

“I’m hopeful that we’re starting to see the effects of the closure of the essential businesses and the state at home orders,” Dick said. “I’m hopeful that we’re starting to flatten that curve but we’re going to need to watch those numbers moving forward to be able to ascertain that.”

In the meantime, health district officials are continuing to work to build capacity, including setting up an alternative care site at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. Health district officials are consulting with hospitals to determine the level of care that will be provided at that facility and working to secure staffing and supplies for the center, though Dick said the facility will likely provide a lower level of care to patients who are recovering from COVID-19 and are well enough to be discharged from the hospital.

“We’re actively engaged in getting that up and running as soon as possible based on the data we have with the peak being tentatively speaking around middle to late April,” incident commander Sam Hicks said.

Hospitals are in the process of expanding their capacity, too. Dick said that Renown Regional Medical Center has begun work to turn its parking structure into additional acute care bed capacity. Pickett Park, which is across the street from Renown, is also under consideration to house a hospital tent.

“That would be very accessible to the main hospital infrastructure for patients who are housed there,” Dick said.

As far as the homeless population, Dick said that while the general population is being sheltered at the downtown Reno Events Center, the health district has identified space at the Record Street shelter where homeless individuals who have influenza-like symptoms can be separated and housed. Additionally, the health district is working with the medical and behavioral health clinic Well Care to provide isolation for homeless individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting test results.

While at least 35 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed at the Willow Springs children's residential treatment center in Reno, Dick said that additional cases have been confirmed in other residential treatment facilities, including both behavioral health facilities and long term care facilities. 

Dick couldn’t give a number on how many health care workers have been infected in Washoe County but confirmed those cases do exist. However, he said some of those cases were people who had returned from travel elsewhere.

The Washoe County Health District continues to offer drive through testing at the Reno Livestock Events Center, collecting about 200 samples on Saturday and projecting another 220 samples will be collected Monday. The drive through test site will continue operating Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

— Megan Messerly, 4/6/20 at 12:35 p.m.

Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Walker River Paiute Tribe establish mandatory COVID-19 curfews

Three Northern Nevada tribes have established mandatory curfews for their residents in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Walker River Paiute Tribe on Thursday established a mandatory curfew from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., barring tribal members and residents from leaving their homes between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. unless for essential activity. Those who fail to abide by tribal directives during an emergency can face up to a $5,000 fine, as well as possible jail time of up to a year.

The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony on Friday established a mandatory curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. requiring community members on the colony's land to stay in their homes unless they are working in essential businesses or obtaining emergency medical treatment. Anyone who violates the curfew faces up to a $500 fine for a first offense.

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe put in place a similar policy on Sunday, barring residents from leaving their homes between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., with exceptions only for emergencies and to perform essential services. Violators will be subject to a $100 fine.

— Megan Messerly, 4/6/20 at 10:59 a.m.


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