COVID update: Omicron surge prompts mask mandate for all Nevada counties–again

COVID update: Omicron surge prompts mask mandate for all Nevada counties–again
Face masks for sale inside the legislative gift shop on the first day of the 81st session of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)

CARSON CITY–Storey, Eureka and White Pine counties join the rest of the state today in going back to a mask mandate. 

“Cases continue to increase rapidly across the state with the current omicron surge,” said Gov. Steve Sisolak spokesperson Meghin Delaney. “According to Directive 045, everyone, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear masks in indoor settings again.”

The three Nevada counties were previously experiencing low COVID-19 transmissions but were unable to escape the highly contagious omicron variant. So it’s back to masks for the rural areas starting Friday, Jan. 21. 

Washoe County continues to experience a massive spike in new cases. County data on Jan. 16, 2022 show the highest number of COVID-19 cases ever recorded in a single day with a 25% test positivity rate.

The COVID-19 risk meter is now at its highest rating – severe. 

“At this stage, our community is in crisis mode,” the Truckee Meadows Risk Meter indicates. 

Hospitals reached the high range for both bed use and ICU last week, and 14 people have died from COVID-19 since the start of the year.

Other COVID-19 news

Free test kits: The U.S. Postal Service today announced four free test kits for each household. People can order the free kits here:

State looks to reduce healthcare shortages: Gov. Sisolak today said staffing shortages at health care facilities is an ongoing problem, especially with skyrocketing cases of COVID-19. He said the state’s health division and State Board of Nursing are working to enroll nursing students as nurse apprentices to increase health care staffing and while providing hands-on experience for students. The state is also putting out a call for more people to join the Battle Born Medical Corp, a volunteer program for licensed health care professionals.