CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada officials say public health labs and testing sites could soon face a possible post-holiday surge as people return from holiday gatherings.
The state reported 23 deaths and 1,414 new coronavirus cases on Monday — about half the jump reported a day earlier.
State COVID-19 response director Caleb Cage has long stressed the need to look at data over at least a 14-day period, to account for daily fluctuations including weekend testing and processing lags. After lines outside testing centers in the Las Vegas area stretched more than a mile on Monday morning, Cage said that tests reported from a day earlier were slightly down, but warned that it was possible that demand for the tests will spike as people return from the holidays and settle back into their routines — a pattern the laboratories processing tests experienced after Thanksgiving.
Thousands of visitors flocked to the Las Vegas Strip on New Year's Eve in defiance of state public health orders, which limit large gatherings and require face coverings. Cage repeated earlier guidance for people who've been in large crowds to assume they've contracted the virus, given the state's number of active cases, and act accordingly to prevent further spread.
In response to the New Year's Eve gatherings, he said state and local authorities who said they committed to enforcing guidelines had deployed “considerable” enforcement resources. He said it appeared the festivities fell within the jurisdictions of the Gaming Control Board, City of Las Vegas and Clark County.
The state also reported 23 additional deaths, bringing the state's totals to 233,032 coronavirus cases and 3,206 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms for up to three weeks, although older adults and people with existing health problems can face severe illness and death. The vast majority of people recover.
Metz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.