COVID-19 cases continue to increase daily by the tens of thousands in the United States and by the hundreds in Nevada, though the growth rate of new cases has plateaued in many areas, including the Silver State.
Meanwhile, Lincoln County remains quiet, with just 17 patients tested for the disease, according to Grover C. Dils Medical Center. Of those tests, 16 came back negative and one is pending as of May 1.
One Lincoln County resident tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-April. That test took place outside of the county, though the individual lives in the Alamo area.
States around the country are starting to lift social distancing measures, though they are proceeding cautiously. After extending Nevada’s stay-at-home order until May 15, Gov. Steve Sisolak released plans on how the state can re-open.
The multi-phased approach begins with “Phase 1” where businesses deemed non-essential may voluntarily reopen “under strict restrictions.” Exceptions are bars, nightclubs and similar operations, which will remain closed.
This phase is expected to start May 15, or when the state meets reopening criteria, and will last approximately three weeks, according to the roadmap released by the governor’s office.
“We will do this as quickly and safely as we possibly can, with a gradual, phased-in approach,” Sisolak wrote.
While businesses begin re-opening, social distancing directives from the governor will remain in place, such as no gatherings of 10 or more people and no non-essential travel.
In future phases, the roadmap notes restrictions on businesses and social distancing directives will remain but will relax over time.
The roadmap includes the creation of a “Local Empowerment Advisory Panel” (LEAP) “to serve as a resource for counties as they work through the necessary requirements to reopen and share best practices and guidelines for local communities,” the roadmap stated
J.J. Goicoechea of the Eureka County Board of Commissioners is the rural county lead on the panel. The Nevada Association of Counties, of which Lincoln County is a member, also has a representative on the panel.
“I’ve taken immense pride throughout this crisis whenever I see Nevadans helping Nevadans, and you should too,” the governor concluded. “It’s our resiliency and spirit that makes us great.”
Around 5,000 COVID-19 cases and around 240 deaths have been confirmed in Nevada as of the end of April. Around 42,000 people in the state have been tested for the disease, which causes mild to moderate respiratory symptoms in most, but has resulted in severe illness and even death in some, particularly the elderly or those with underlying health conditions.
According to John Hopkins University, the pandemic has sickened over 3 million people worldwide and caused nearly 240,000 deaths, as of May 1. Nearly 940,000 people have recovered. About a third of wordwide cases are in the United States, where over 65,000 people have died and 137,000 have recovered.
Yet sickness from the pandemic seems far away from Lincoln County, which has avoided community spread of the disease so far. Though impacts have certainly been felt in other ways with businesses, schools, churches and other organizations closed.
Healthcare officials credit residents adhering to social distancing guidelines as the reason the disease hasn’t gained a foothold locally.
“We want to thank our community for all that you have done, and continue to do, to keep our numbers at a minimum,” Grover C. Dils stated in an April 27 Facebook post. “We know that social distancing is helping as we have not seen a lot of illness in our clinics or hospital.”