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One week out from the Thanksgiving holiday, Nevada reported a new single-day record for new coronavirus cases with 2,386, and Washoe County reported more than 6,000 diagnosed active cases for the first time.
Washoe County reported 304 new diagnoses for the coronavirus Thursday and 157 new recoveries, which puts the county’s active caseload at 6,020 — the highest total to date, and more than double the total two weeks ago. One in 79 Washoe County residents currently has a diagnosed case of the coronavirus.
Washoe’s Regional Information Center also reported five coronavirus-related deaths in the past day, the highest number recorded in a single day:
- A woman in her 90s with an underlying health condition
- A woman in her 70s with no underlying health conditions
- A woman in her 70s with underlying health conditions
- A woman in her 60s with an underlying health condition
- A man in his 50s with underlying health conditions
The Washoe County Health District reiterated its recommendation that county residents avoid Thanksgiving gatherings outside their immediate households — a recommendation echoed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which on Thursday morning called for Americans not to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Cases reach highs statewide
Fifteen of Nevada’s 17 counties reported new cases in the state’s Thursday morning data release. Clark County led the state with 1,592 new cases. Only Humboldt and Esmeralda reported none.
Nevada’s R(t) value — roughly, the number of people who become infected by an infectious person — stands at 1.22, the 11th highest mark in the United States. Any number above 1.0 represents an increasing number of cases.
According to the calculations by the website rt.live, Nevada has had R(t) values at 1.0 or above since Sept. 1. But Nevada is hardly alone with a growing caseload; 49 other states and the District of Columbia currently have marks above 1.0.
ICU bed usage up sharply
The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 hit new highs both in Washoe County and statewide on Wednesday. The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,136 hospitalized patients known to have the coronavirus on Thursday, with an additional 152 suspected cases. Of the known and suspected cases, 261 are in intensive care units, and 150 are on ventilators, the highest number since Aug. 19.
In Washoe County, 234 known COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, as well as an additional 50 suspected cases. Fifty-four are in intensive care units, with 28 on ventilators.
Washoe hospitals reported reduced available capacity, according to the Nevada Hospital Association reported the following percentages Wednesday, which take into account both COVID and non-COVID patients:
- Staffed hospital beds in use: 85%, up 1 percentage points since Wednesday
- ICU beds in use: 59%, up 21 percentage points
- Ventilators in use: 30%, down 1 percentage point
Where to get tested
County residents in need of testing have several options.
► At-home COVID-19 testing: LabCorp provides at-home testing via FedEx for those who meet screening criteria after filling out a short survey. Further information is available at pixel.labcorp.com/covid-19.
► Carson Tahoe Specialty Medical Center: Carson Tahoe Health has instituted drive-through testing for those experiencing COVID-like symptoms (fever, cough, breathing difficulty, fatigue, aches, sore throat, loss of taste or smell). The drive-through location at 775 Fleischmann Way in Carson City is open between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The drive-through program is open only to those with symptoms; asymptomatic individuals may be assessed for testing by calling 775-283-4789 or visiting gethealthycarsoncity.org/novel-coronavirus-2019/.
► CVS Pharmacy: CVS Pharmacy is conducting free drive-thru testing for COVID-19 at eight locations in Reno, Sparks, Carson City and Fallon. Patients must register in advance by scheduling an appointment at cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing.
► Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center: The Washoe County Health District conducts COVID-19 testing by appointment only for those who meet screening criteria after taking a brief survey. Appointments can be scheduled online at aca-prod.accela.com/Washoe-Covid19/welcome.aspx or by calling 775-328-2427.
► Saint Mary’s Urgent Care: Coronavirus testing is available by appointment only at four Saint Mary’s Urgent Care facilities in Reno-Sparks. Appointments can be made by visiting carbonhealth.com/coronavirus.
► University of Nevada: Students, faculty and staff exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 may receive an appointment to be tested by calling 775-784-6598 or by visiting www.unr.edu/coronavirus/health-and-safety/testing.
► Walgreens: Walgreens is conducting no-cost COVID-19 testing for patients who meet testing criteria at its location at 3495 S. Virginia St. near Moana Lane. Appointments are required; visit www.walgreens.com/findcare/covid19/testing to learn more.
► Walmart: Two Reno Walmart locations are conducting drive-thru COVID-19 tests by appointment at 5260 W. 7th St. and 155 Damonte Ranch Pkwy. For details, visit MyQuestCOVIDTest.com.
Northern Nevada Medical Center, Renown Regional Medical Center, Renown’s urgent care locations and Veterans Affairs Sierra Nevada Health Care System also are performing COVID-19 tests, but require orders from a physician. Contact your general practitioner to discuss options.
Brett McGinness is the engagement editor for the Reno Gazette Journal. He’s also the writer of The Reno Memo — a free newsletter about news in the Biggest Little City. Subscribe to the newsletter right here. Consider supporting the Reno Gazette Journal, too.