A timeline of the coronavirus crisis in Las Vegas


Steve Marcus

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announces that he has declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) during a news conference at the Sawyer State Building Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Wed, Mar 25, 2020 (2 a.m.)

Since the first person tested positive for the coronavirus in Nevada, the pathogen has swept Southern Nevada with alarming speed — from one to two cases, then a few dozen and then a couple hundred. By the time you read this, the number will certainly have jumped again.

Sadly, six people in Clark County have lost their lives to COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

As quickly as the virus has spread, news surrounding the effort to contain it has moved nearly as fast — from social distancing to school closings to an unprecedented order by the governor to close all casinos and nonessential businesses for 30 days.

The following is a timeline of events surrounding the still-unfolding pandemic.

December 2019: The virus was first identified in China, where more than 80,000 people have been infected and 3,200-plus have died as the result of COVID-19.

Jan. 20: The first case of coronavirus disease is identified in the United States in Washington state.

March 5: The Southern Nevada Health District reports the first person to test positive for coronavirus in Nevada, a Clark County man in his 50s who had recently traveled to Washington state. He was hospitalized in isolation at a VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System facility.

March 5: The first case is reported in Northern Nevada, in the Reno area.

March 7: Gov. Steve Sisolak announces that the federal government approved testing for the virus at two commercial labs, joining two public labs.

March 8: The Health District reports that a second person in Clark County, a woman in her 70s, tests positive for the coronavirus.

March 10: MGM Resorts International announces that it is temporarily closing buffets at its Las Vegas Strip properties.

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Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman delivers her State of the City address at City Hall, Thursday Jan 9, 2020.

March 10: Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman tells tourism officials that the media’s coverage of the coronavirus outbreak is “absolutely destroying us.”

March 11: The World Health Organization declares the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

March 11: The Health District reports that three more people in Clark County tested positive for the virus, bringing the total to five in the county and seven statewide.

March 11: UNLV announces that all spring athletic events will be closed to the public for the remainder of the season, hours after the NCAA announced its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments would be played without fans in attendance.

March 12: Gov. Steve Sisolak declares a state of emergency.

March 12: The NCAA pulls the plug on its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, meaning a year without March Madness. It’s a major blow to Las Vegas, which counts the opening weekend of the men’s tournament as one of its busiest of the year.

March 12: The NHL suspends its season with no word on how long the pause will last, sidelining the Vegas Golden Knights, who had four games remaining before the playoffs. The decision comes a day after the NBA suspended its season.

March 12: UNLV announces that starting March 23, after spring break, classes will be conducted remotely. Touro University Nevada in Henderson follows suit.

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This file photo shows a view of the UNLV campus.

March 12: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announces that all public gatherings, including worship services, are being temporarily suspended worldwide.

March 12: The Nevada State Democratic Party cancels its county conventions, which were scheduled for April 18.

March 12: The Clark County School District suspends extracurricular activities, assemblies, athletic events and other gatherings.

March 12: The Mountain West cancels all winter and spring sports competitions, effectively ending the season for eight UNLV teams.

March 13: The Clark County District Court suspends civil and criminal jury trials set to start in the next 30 days and limits who can enter the courthouse.

March 13: Utility companies in Nevada announce they are suspending disconnections and shut-offs due to nonpayment.

March 13: The union that serves Clark County school administrators requests that School District Superintendent Jesus Jara close all schools.

March 14: Cirque du Soleil, creator of many of the most popular shows in Las Vegas, says it is temporarily suspending its productions in Las Vegas and around the world.

March 15: Wynn Resorts announces it will temporarily close its Wynn Las Vegas and Encore properties.

March 15: MGM Resorts International announces it will suspend operations at its Strip resorts and at T-Mobile Arena.

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A view of the T-Mobile Arena before the Vegas Golden Knights first season home game Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017.

March 15: Gov. Steve Sisolak announces that Nevada’s K-12 schools will be canceled until April 6.

March 16: The Health District announces the first death in Clark County from complications of COVID-19, a man in his 60s with underlying medical conditions. Officials also announce the number of people infected with the coronavirus in the county has risen to 35.

March 16: NFL Draft public events scheduled for April in Las Vegas are canceled, league Commissioner Roger Goodell announces. Player selection will proceed as scheduled April 23-25, and the league is exploring “innovative options” for how the process will be conducted, the NFL said in a statement.

March 16: Tony Alamo, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission, says casinos will continue to make their own decisions about whether to temporarily close.

March 16: The Cosmopolitan says it will temporarily cease operations starting March 18 with plans to reopen April 1.

March 16: The Nevada System of Higher Education says it will delay searches for the system chancellor, UNLV president and UNR president.

March 16: The UFC postpones its next three scheduled events through April 11, finally giving up on President Dana White’s plan to keep fighting amid the coronavirus pandemic.

March 16: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas cancels Mass at least through the April 5 weekend, a week before Easter.

March 17: Las Vegas Sands announces that the Venetian and Palazzo will close until at least April 1, conceding the shutdown could be “a prolonged event.”

March 17: In an unprecedented act, Gov. Steve Sisolak orders a statewide shutdown of casinos and all other nonessential businesses for 30 days. “My ultimate goal here is to come together as Nevadans to save lives,” Sisolak says. “That requires aggressive strategies aimed at mitigating community spread.”

March 17: The Las Vegas Justice Court suspends eviction proceedings for at least 30 days.

March 18: Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman says she wants Gov. Steve Sisolak to shorten the 30-day shutdown of all nonessential businesses in Nevada to eight to 10 days, saying a longer shutdown would “cripple” the Las Vegas economy.

March 18: The Health District says more than two dozen more coronavirus cases have been identified in Clark County, bringing the total to 69. The number of people who have tested positive has continued to rise nearly daily since the first case was reported March 5.

March 18: The Federal Aviation Administration says McCarran International Airport temporarily ceased operations at its air traffic control tower after a staffer “potentially tested positive” for the coronavirus.

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A plane takes off at McCarran International airport, Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Las Vegas. Officials at the airport said in a tweet that it will remain open with reduced operations after an air traffic controller tested positive late Wednesday, temporarily closing the control tower. (AP Photo/John Locher)

March 19: Officials at Nellis Air Force Base say a NATO service member tested positive for the coronavirus, the first confirmed case at the base.

March 19: Cirque du Soleil, a name that has become synonymous with Las Vegas entertainment over the past 25 years, “temporarily” lays off about 95% of its workforce worldwide, according to reports.

March 20: Gov. Steve Sisolak signs an emergency directive giving local governments the authority to enforce an order for nonessential businesses to close through fines, license revocations and, if necessary, police action. “I did not want it to come to this. But to protect all Nevadans, this is necessary,” he says during a video news conference.

March 20: The Health District reports a second coronavirus-related death in Clark County, a woman in her 60s with underlying medical conditions. The total number of cases in the county rises to 126.

March 20: Gov. Steve Sisolak says Nevada hospitals do not have enough ventilators to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

March 20: The Nevada Attorney General’s Office says it has received nearly 100 calls and complaints from Nevadans relating to coronavirus scams, including reports of inflated prices for in-demand items.

March 22: Gov. Steve Sisolak names gaming industry veteran Jim Murren to lead the state’s COVID-19 Response, Relief & Recovery Task Force, which will mobilize the private sector to assist state agencies in the ongoing fight against coronavirus.

March 23: The Health District says two more people with coronavirus disease have died in Clark County, bringing the total number of virus-related deaths in Nevada to four. The total number of cases in Clark County rises to 212.

• March 24: The Health District says two more victims of coronavirus have died in Clark County, bringing the total number of virus-related deaths in Nevada to six. The total number of cases in Clark County rises to 249.

March 24: Gov. Steve Sisolak bans people from gathering in groups of 10 or more in indoor or outdoor public spaces. The order does not apply to people’s households or to the state’s homeless population.

March 25: Health officials report four more virus-related deaths in Nevada, bringing the total to 10, all in Clark County.

• April 1: Gov. Steve Sisolak formally issues a stay-at-home order and extends the closure of schools, casinos and other nonessential businesses through April 30.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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