For the first time in over a month, Clark County on Wednesday reported fewer than 1,000 new coronavirus cases over the preceding day.
That’s part of a larger drop in cases and most coronavirus metrics. The county hit the peak of the current surge in the last few weeks, and numbers have dropped quickly. That had been expected based on data from around the world looking at how the omicron variant caused rapid increases followed by similarly rapid decreases in case counts.
It’s also coincided with a significant drop in testing metrics. In early January, the Southern Nevada Health District and its partners were conducting 90,000 tests a week, said district director of disease surveillance and control Cassius Lockett. This week the health district has conducted only half of that.
“Right now we don’t have any testing concerns,” Lockett said at a Wednesday afternoon briefing. “The demand did decline significantly at most of our testing sites. There are no longer any long lines or things of that nature.”
The testing site as Fiesta Henderson was scheduled to close Wednesday, but Lockett said he wasn’t sure when the county’s largest site at Sam Boyd Stadium would be shut down. The decrease in demand comes as the state plans to make over 500,000 at-home tests available to local communities and many Nevadans have started to receive at-home tests from the federal government’s initiative.
The 971 new cases reported Wednesday represented the lowest single-day increase since Dec. 26, when the county reported just 379.
The county also reported 28 deaths, bringing totals posted by the Southern Nevada Health District to 477,561 cases and 6,793 deaths.
New cases were again well below the two-week moving average, which saw another significant drop from 1,914 on Tuesday to 1,673. The two-week moving average of daily deaths held steady at 10.
The number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 saw a major decrease, dropping from 1,524 on Tuesday to 1,317. The Nevada Hospital Association noted in its weekly release Wednesday that hospitalization numbers are continuing to drop in Southern Nevada, while noting that staffing is still a concern throughout the state.
“The rate of southern region COVID-19 hospitalizations is slowing down, while the northern region continues to accelerate,” the trade group said. “Staffing remains an issue throughout the health care continuum with employees requiring isolation or suffering from illnesses. Staffing challenges affect doctors’ offices, skilled nursing facilities, public health departments, and hospitals alike.”
The county’s 14-day test positivity rate, which tracks the percentage of people tested who are found to be infected, decreased by 1.3 percentage points to 30.4 percent in Wednesday’s update.
The state saw similar trends as Clark County, reporting 1,700 new cases and 38 deaths over the preceding day. That brought totals posted by the state Department of Health and Human Services to 627,655 cases and 9,050 deaths.
New cases were slightly below the two-week moving average, which decreased sharply to 2,497. The two-week moving average of daily deaths increased from 12 to 13.
State and county health agencies often redistribute daily data after it is reported to better reflect the date of death or onset of symptoms, which is why the moving-average trend lines frequently differ from daily reports and are considered better indicators of the direction of the outbreak.
In the state’s other closely watched metrics, the 14-day test positivity rate decreased 0.8 percentage point to 31.2 percent, while the number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 decreased by 214, to 1,583. That number has shifted significantly from day-to-day but has dropped over the last week.
State numbers also showed a decrease in testing. The two-week moving average of daily tests conducted was over 21,000 on Jan. 18, but that number is now at 13,407 and is still on the downswing.
As of Wednesday, state data showed that 55.88 percent of Nevadans 5 and older were fully vaccinated, compared with 55.26 percent in Clark County.