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Medical workers conduct COVID-19 testing at UNLV Medicine in Las Vegas, NV. (UNLV/Courtesy)

The Southern Nevada Health District is beefing up its roster of contact tracers and case investigators, two key roles in combating the spread of COVID-19, officials said Tuesday during a news conference.

The health district is adding 200 case investigators — 100 through UNLV and 100 through a contract with a local call center — who will follow up with people who have tested positive for the virus. The agency is adding a similar number of contact tracers — 100 through a state contract, 80 through a state grant and 25 staff members from Clark County’s Department of Family Services — who will reach out to close contacts of people who have tested positive for the virus.

Despite the expanding health workforce, officials stressed the importance of community members being proactive to avoid spreading the virus. COVID-19 cases have been increasing across the state, but particularly in Clark County, in recent weeks.

“If you're experiencing symptoms, test positive or have had contact with someone who tested positive, it’s important that you stay home and away from others,” said Dr. Michael Johnson, SNHD’s director of the community health division. “If a case investigator or contact tracer calls you, it’s important that you answer the call.”

Health officials said those who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a phone call, text message or email with instructions for how to self-isolate. Clark County Commission Chair Marilyn Kirkpatrick said the county has ramped up testing — with about 7,500 people being tested daily — which means results are taking longer to process. She said most people are receiving their test results in three to seven days.

Kirkpatrick encouraged job seekers to visit the University Medical Center and health district websites for information about lab technicians and other in-demand positions.

The commissioner also plugged using hand sanitizer, wearing a mask and maintaining social distance as a means to prevent transmission.

“I know nobody likes wearing the mask,” Kirkpatrick said. “It is new to us. It’s something different, but we’re all doing it to stop this virus from spreading very quickly in our community.”

Clark County health officials reported 26 deaths related to COVID-19 on Tuesday as well as 713 new cases. Of the state’s 37,529 cases as of Tuesday afternoon, 32,025 have been in Southern Nevada.

Check out our COVID-19 data page for more information from Clark County and around the state.

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