Clark County is still within the federal definition for “high” COVID-19 transmission, but disease activity continues to rapidly decline.
As of Saturday, Clark County’s seven-day average of daily new cases was 293. On Jan. 30, it was 1,366. Average test positivity was 12.3% on Saturday compared to 24.9% on Jan. 30.
The Southern Nevada Health District reported 306 new cases today, along with 19 related deaths.
Dr. Cassius Lockett, director of surveillance for the Southern Nevada Health District, said public health officials won’t consider one-day case counts the most important indicator going forward, as self-tests – the results of which are not required to be reported to the Health District – become more accessible.
Also, trends rather than single-day changes have always been more telling, he said.
Under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention definitions, Clark County has “substantial” case rates and “high” test positivity.
The CDC’s transmission levels are, in ascending order, “low,” “moderate,” “substantial” and “high,” based on case rates and test positivity.
Until Gov. Steve Sisolak lifted the statewide mask mandate Thursday, citing declining disease activity, the state used these levels to guide whether counties could change their mask mandates. If a county was at the moderate or low level for two consecutive weeks, it could loosen its mask rules.
Clark County’s last one-week case rate, based on new cases reported from Feb. 6 to Saturday, was about 89 cases per 100,000 people, or about 330 cases a day. To drop to the moderate level, the county must dip to a case rate of 49.9 cases per 100,000 people, or below 164 daily cases, Lockett said.
Test positivity, meanwhile, must drop to 9.9% to go from high to substantial.
Dr. Fermin Leguen, the Health District’s health officer, agreed that local metrics are quickly decreasing. He said that’s good news, “but still we want to encourage everyone to continue to use all tools they have available to protect themselves and others.”
As disease reports have dropped, so has the demand for testing, Lockett said.
The Fiesta Henderson mass testing site, one of three mass clinics mobilized in response to the record-setting spike in December and January, closed earlier this month.
Another mass clinic at Texas Station will close on Feb. 20, and the third major site, at Sam Boyd Stadium, is set to close March 10.
Smaller, community-based testing clinics, including the clinic at the Health District’s headquarters on Decatur Boulevard, will remain open.