Washoe health officer expresses concerns reopening could lead to another COVID-19 surge

Nevada News
CLOSE

Hear from the owners of local Reno businesses who have been able to open their doors to customers as the state loosens its COVID-19 restrictions. Reno Gazette Journal

This story is part of the Reno Gazette Journal’s essential coronavirus coverage. Please consider supporting our work by subscribing to RGJ.com. 

Washoe County health officials are worried further reopening businesses could lead to another surge of positive COVID-19 cases.

At a news conference on Wednesday, Washoe County Health Officer Kevin Dick emphasized residents should continue to wear masks, maintain social distancing and stay at home whenever possible.

“What I think we’re seeing is probably some of the effects of the reopening of the economy as we reduce those mitigation measures that we had …” Dick said, adding he expects to see additional impacts as more people come into contact with others in the community.

He said staying home is “probably the safest place for people to be.”

Dick said following the health district’s recommendations could prevent an upward trend of positive cases as businesses slowly reopen.

On Tuesday, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced the state is continuing to make steady progress toward meeting virus containment benchmarks, prompting officials to loosen restrictions on nonessential operations.

Sisolak said the state will move forward with the second phase of its plan to reopen more businesses starting on Friday. That includes bars, gyms, spas, movie theaters, indoor malls and public pools, among other businesses.

More: May 29 marks start of Phase 2 in Nevada. Sisolak says ‘we’ll remain cautious.’

The Washoe County Health District will mail certified pool operators a compliance checklist to expedite their reopening. The district will then send someone to inspect the pools.

“So, we’re relying on our certified pool operators do their job to make sure those pools are operating in compliance so they can be enjoyed by members of our community,” Dick said.

Occupancy must not exceed 50% capacity or more than 50 people. 

Despite his concerns, Dick said he supports Sisolak’s decision to move forward with Phase 2 of his plan. He recommended business owners encourage sanitation practices and social distancing.

He also said both employees and customers should wear facial coverings. Owners should also monitor employees and have them stay home if they show any symptoms.

The health district will also continue to monitor any increases in the number of cases within Washoe County.

“If we see things start moving in the wrong direction, the governor has assured us that he will step back with our approach,” he said.

Read or Share this story: https://www.rgj.com/story/news/2020/05/28/washoe-health-officer-concerned-reopening-could-lead-covid-19-surge/5278892002/

Leave a Reply