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On Thursday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak declared a state of emergency to boost Nevada’s response to the coronavirus, a step that will free up state and federal funds to fight the outbreak.
“This is not a reason to panic. It’s a first step to open access to resources,” Sisolak said the day health officials confirmed an 11th case of the respiratory illness in the Silver State.
Also Thursday, the University of Nevada, Reno announced all classes will be conducted online, and told students not to return to campus after spring break ends on March 22.
Dozens of sporting and public events were cancelled. An updating list is here.
Washoe announces 3rd COVID-19 case, which is travel related
A woman in her 20s who had recent travel to Germany and France has tested presumptive positive for COVID-19, the Washoe County Health District announced Friday afternoon.
“Her condition is stable and she is self isolating at home,” the district said in a statement. “The Health District is investigating and working to identify close contacts to prevent any community spread of the disease. Due to medical privacy requirements and to protect their identity, no further information about the case will be released.”
City of Reno gives COVID-19 briefing
Mayor Hillary Schieve said at a press briefing Friday the city is declaring a state of emergency as a way to be proactive about getting resources to help fight back against the spread of COVID-19.
The measure is precautionary, officials said, and follows the lead of a statewide emergency declaration announced by Gov. Steve Sisolak on Thursday evening. Schieve said the city’s declaration could bring money, personell and increased access to supplies.
“We’ve had a very difficult time getting supplies, because everybody in the entire world is trying to go after these same masks; all of these sanitary products,” said Reno Police Chief Jason Soto. “And what (the emergency declaration) does is it allows us new avenues in order to prioritize some of that.”
Soto said his department is seeing an uptick in calls from people who believe they’re suffering symptoms of COVID-19. Those calls are typically being routed to healthcare professionals.
People are being urged to not call 911 if they are suffering mild symptoms, and instead call 311 or the Washoe County Health District at (775) 328-2427.
Schieve said the outbreak and subsiquent guidance of “social distancing” has also stoked fears in local business owners that customers won’t show up.
Event cancelations and business closures have already forced layoffs in Las Vegas. But here, where COVID-19 cases have stagnated for the last week, businesses are waiting to see what effect it will have on their workforce.
“I hope we don’t see layoffs, but I wouldn’t be surprised,” Schieve said. “Let’s just say that’s something that could be a reality.”
Total number of cruise passengers returning to Reno-Tahoe confirmed
A total of 50 passengers who were on the Grand Princess cruise ship that was forced to dock in San Francisco last week because of COVID-19 are returning to their homes soon.
Out of that total, 36 are returning to the Reno-Tahoe area and 14 are returning to the Las Vegas area, said Michael Johnson, director of community health at the Southern Nevada Health District.
Clark County reports 9 new COVID-19 cases; statewide total now 19
LAS VEGAS – The Southern Nevada Health District is reporting nine new presumptive positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 16 cases in Clark County.
With two cases in Washoe County and one in Carson City, Nevada’s total of presumptive and confirmed coronavirus cases is now 19.
SNHD said close contacts of the latest cases are being identified or have been notified and are following self-quarantine procedures.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a close contact as someone who was within approximately 6 feet of a confirmed COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time. Close contact can occur while caring for or living with someone. Health care workers who care for patients are also at higher risk.
The latest cases are:
- A man in his 60s who is hospitalized in serious condition.
- A man in his 60s who is isolating at home.
- A man in his 40s who is isolating at home.
- A man in his 20s who is isolating at home and is a close contact of a confirmed case.
- A woman in her 40s who is hospitalized in good condition.
- A woman in her 50s who is hospitalized in stable condition.
- A man in his 30s who is isolated at home.
- A man in his 50s. No additional details are available at this time.
- A man in his 30s. No additional details are available at this time
Decision on continuing prep sports likely to come later today
Spring sports in Washoe County high schools are not cancelled or suspended, yet, as of early Friday afternoon.
The school district scheduled a meeting for later Friday to discuss athletics, but sports are still OK to continue on Friday.
The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association said it is leaving all decisions regarding athletics up to each school district in the state.
Donnie Nelson, NIAA assistant director, said school superintendents make the call regarding suspending or cancelling activities. He expects to make an announcement regarding spring sports later Friday, after the superintendents make any decisions.
— Jim Krajewski
Washoe County: No new cases, encouraging social distancing to slow spread of virus
Washoe County has a message for the community: Practice social distancing, keep calm and call Washoe’s hotline, 775-328-2427 — not 911 — if anyone is experiencing flu-like symptoms.
On Friday, Washoe County officials said no new cases of COVID-19 had been detected, keeping the current tally at two people who remain isolated at home after contracting the disease while traveling.
There are nine other cases in the state, with eight of them in Clark County where transmission of the virus is now suspected to be happening in that community.
Washoe County officials on Friday also praised Gov. Steve Sisolak’s decision to declare a state of emergency for the state on Thursday.
“That will give us additional tools to respond to this situation,” said Kevin Dick, Washoe County Health Officer.
Dick said there are no plans to close down schools or daycares at this time, but that could change. He said with the district’s two-week spring breaking starting Monday should buy the some time to make a decision later this month.
He also praised the postponement or cancelation of public gatherings in the community, which will help slow the spread of the virus.
“It’s important for us to be taking action now,” Dick said.
As part of that effort, all non-essential Washoe County public meetings will be canceled, though the meetings that do take place will still be public, said Washoe County Commission Chairman Bob Lucey.
Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve said the city will be following the county’s lead, canceling its non-essential public meetings. City council will likely continue to meet, she said, but arrangements are being made for it to be done remotely in a way that still allows the public access.
Reno is holding its own press briefing at 2 p.m. to talk about its own response to COVID-19.
The cancelations are practive, Lucey said — an attempt to “flatten the curve” of the virus’s spread.
If COVID-19’s “curve,” or spread, is not curbed quickly, officials are concerned of a surge of hospitalizations at local hospitals.
“There are limits to how much that we can do,” Dick said. “That’s why it’s so important that we start working on this mitigation now and not wait until we san an additional rise in cases that are occuring.”
Dick said the state does track the number of available hospital beds in the state, but he didn’t have that figure available during the briefing.
So far, the two positive cases in Washoe County have been recovering at home. They have not yet required hospitalization.
With the virus spreading in other parts of the state, Dick said it’s unclear how it will continue to spread here.
“If I had that crystal ball I’d be a professional gambler, but I don’t,” he said. “But I would not be at all surprised; I would expect that we have more cases that occur in Washoe County.”
“I would not expect for this to just go away overnight.”
Nevada’s most powerful union calls emergency negotiations with casinos
LAS VEGAS – The threat of COVID-19 has pushed Nevada’s most powerful labor union into emergency negotiations with casino operators, according to an email obtained by the Reno Gazette Journal.
The Culinary Union is proposing protections for 60,000 workers at time of unprecedented economic uncertainty in Las Vegas as the pandemic expands across the U.S. and casino foot traffic diminishes.
The emergency negotiations have been called with these companies: MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment International, Wynn/Encore Resorts, Westgate, Strat, Treasure Island, Four Seasons, Trump, Tropicana, Waldorf Astoria, Circus Circus Las Vegas, Hilton Grand Vacations, Sahara, and the Cosmopolitan.
Here’s what the Culinary Union is requesting, according to the email sent Thursday night:
- Five paid sick days.
- No attendance points/discipline to any worker who calls out sick or who is in quarantine.
- Paid leave (wages & health benefits) if worker needs to self-quarantine or care for a family member who is in quarantine.
- Up to six months of paid health benefits for workers in the event of a layoff.
- Workers may be granted a leave of absence if they wish to request one during this time.
- Additional training and all of the necessary supplies for workers which follow the CDC/OSHA/SNHD guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
- Enhanced cleaning standard for all areas of casino including guest rooms, public areas, and kitchens as recommended by the CDC/OSHA/SNHD.
“Culinary Union contracts protects 60,000 workers in Las Vegas with fair wages, job security, and the best health benefits,” the email said. “Contracts have seniority language which detail that layoffs must be done in a fair and impartial manner and ensures that when business improves, workers will return to work by seniority.”
Renown Regional Medical Center sets up a triage tent to deal with those who come in with respiratory illness in Reno on March 12, 2020.
Reno Gazette Journal
UNR sends information on housing, dining after moving to online-only classes
On Thursday, the University of Nevada, Reno announced it would be holding classes online only and instructed students not to return to campus after spring break ends on March 22.
On Friday, the university sent information about services during the campus closure:
Students can access remote online learning through Web Campus and with direct communication from faculty members.
Currently enrolled students without access to mobile technologies can come on campus to use a University computer. The Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center and Joe Crowley Student Union will be open to students.
Residential Life and Housing Services
Students requiring University housing can appeal to the University’s Residential Life and Housing Office, email@example.com or 775-784-1113. Every effort will be made to accommodate students in need.
Starting March 23, Nevada Dining will move to a “grab and go” food option at Pathways and Bytes Café. The Eatery at the Overlook will provide Hot Food Options for lunch and dinner. Most of the food vendors in the Joe Crowley Student Union will be open during this time. Visit unr.edu/union/hours for hours.
The Center Every Student Every Story
The Center is offering remote student support through firstname.lastname@example.org and we can be reached at (775) 784-4936. The Center will remain open as long as permitted by campus policies, but students are encouraged to connect through email or telephone.
Undergraduate students in need of emergency funds are encouraged to reach out to the Dean of Students Office and the University’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.
Graduate students can access need-based services online through the Graduate Student Association.
Arrangements are being made for students who utilize Pack Provisions, the University’s food pantry. Updates can be found online or by emailing email@example.com.
Counseling Services will be offering teletherapy services in the near future. In the meantime, telephone counseling services are available at 775-784-4648.
Campus Escort Services will be closed starting Saturday, March 14 until further notice.
WCSD studying logistics of online-only classes
The Washoe County School District said on Friday that conversations are happening with top district officials about what would be needed to do school remotely and online.
Schools across the country have closed amid concerns over the coronavirus.
WCSD social Media Specialist Charles Rahn said the district is looking at what would be needed in terms of technology if the district does close schools.
The district starts spring break Monday for two weeks.
Rahn also said a district person went around the administration office on Thursday to see who could work remotely if that decision was made for staff to stay at home.
Rahn said as of now spring sports are not cancelled but discussions are happening daily.
The Reno Gazette Journal is following updates about the coronavirus pandemic and will be updating this story throughout the day on Friday, March 13.
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