Nevada COVID positivity rate rises after 2-month drop


John Locher / AP

In this March 21, 2020, file photo, a sign advises people to practice social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign amid a shutdown of casinos along the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas.

Fri, Oct 16, 2020 (8:25 p.m.)

RENO — Nevada’s test positivity rate for COVID-19 has continued to rise following a steady two-month decline after Gov. Steve Sisolak raised the size limit for public gatherings.

The 14-day rolling average for the positivity rate — which measures community transmission of the virus — stood at 8.4% on Thursday for the third consecutive day. That's the highest it’s been since 8.6% on Sept. 5, according to the weekly Nevada Health Response Situation Report released Friday.

The World Health Organization recommends a rate of 5% or below, a rate Nevada hasn’t dropped below since mid-June.

The average positivity rate reached 14.3% on Aug. 1, the highest since the statewide peak of 14.6% on April 21. But it had continued to drop throughout August and September — remaining below 7% most of the last two weeks of September before inching up to 7.1% on Sept. 30 and steadily climbing ever since.

Sisolak’s emergency directive adjusting statewide COVID-19 standards effective Oct. 1 raised the limitation on public and private gatherings from 50 people to 250 people or 50% of occupancy, whichever is less.

Since the pandemic began, Nevada's positivity rate peaked at 14.6% on April 21 before declining to less than 10% from May 7 to a low of 2.7% on May 25. It remained below 5% until June 14 before rising again to above 10% at the end of June.

The state has recorded 88,685 positive cases of the new coronavirus and 1,707 deaths since the first case was confirmed in Nevada in March.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.

For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. However, the vast majority of people recover.

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