Lau Fiatoa of Alamo passed away after a weeks-long battle with the COVID-19, various family and friends confirmed.
The tragedy has hit the community hard, as Fiatoa leaves a wife and four sons at home and was a beloved family-man and friend to many. An outpouring of support is underway, including opportunities to donate directly to the Fiatoa family.
As the community absorbs this difficult loss, 39 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by Grover C. Dils Medical Center since Nov. 24. Twelve were confirmed on Dec. 2 and 27 more on Dec. 4. In total, that makes 231 positive total cases in Lincoln County, with 171 of those being recovered, leaving 58 active cases and two deaths.
Currently, the cases within the county are as follows:
- Alamo – 61 (6 new)
- Caliente – 91 (10)
- Panaca – 43 (6 new)
- Pioche – 28 (13 new)
Despite the lower case numbers after Thanksgiving, health professionals were still wary. This is due in part to the past Thanksgiving weekend, and the fact that many households were filled with family and friends. While the medical staff recognizes that people were going to gather, they hope that those who chose to do so practiced social distancing and safe hygiene so that these positive trends continue.
“We’re just trying to prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” said Missie Rowe, Grover C. Dils’ CEO.
The 27 new cases reported today confirm that the virus is still spreading in the county at a similar rate as recent weeks. Typically, results are reported a day earlier, but the medical center indicated the testing facility it uses has been especially busy. New case numbers remain high in Nevada and are at record levels nationwide. The death rate throughout the U.S. is also at record levels.
Another issue that has been affecting the medical center is the considerable surge in cases in both Clark County and Southern Utah. Beyond the fact that these are Lincoln County’s closest neighbors and may be the source of a future surge in cases, this also makes transferring patients to outside hospitals a very frustrating endeavor.
Vaccines are likely to be approved in coming days, at which point they could become available to the general population over the course of a few months. The United Kingdom approved the emergency use of Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine on Dec. 2. If approved in the United States, the vaccines will be distributed using a tiered system, with medical staff and other frontliners being the first to be inoculated, followed by at-risk populations.
Once it’s available to the masses, the state highly recommends that everyone get the vaccine, including those that may have already caught the disease. According to information from the state of Nevada, immunity to the disease is only confirmed for around four to six months following the infection, so additional vaccination is necessary for anyone outside of that range. The vaccines nearing approval will require two shots, with the second shot administered twenty-eight days after the first.
Despite the past few difficult months, Rowe says the staff at Grover C. Dils is doing well. The stress that comes from not being able to transfer patients and the previous weeks’ surges have taken their toll, but the support of the community and the love of their neighbors has helped alleviate some of the difficulties that these medical experts face.