Las Vegas Sun

August 4, 2020

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Nevada agency: Lab delays caused big bump in virus case reports


Morgan Lee / AP

Ashley Pyne, right, helps her son, Elijah, complete a nasal swipe for COVID-19 testing in Picuris Pueblo, N.M., Thursday, April 24, 2020. Small Native American pueblo tribes across New Mexico are embracing extraordinary social distancing measures that include guarded roadblocks and universal testing for the coronavirus in efforts to insulate themselves from a contagion with frightening echoes of the past.

Updated Sunday, June 28, 2020 | midnight

CARSON CITY — Nevada added 1,100 additional confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday as the known death toll from the outbreak reached at least 500.

Although the figure appeared to have shattered the daily record of 507 reported Thursday, Southern Nevada Health District officials later attributed at least 620 of the 971 new cases reported in Clark County to a delay in lab testing. About 240 of the cases belong to data from June 23 and another 380 for the next day. 

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services reported a total of 16,339 cases. At least 13,174 of them have been identified in Clark County, where deaths total 410, or about 3% of those infected.

Increases in new cases are expected with testing more available, but the infection rate, which stood at 6.2% Saturday, has been crawling upward for 10 straight days. Additionally, widespread testing has been more accessible for some time. 

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Saturday's report also included two additional deaths, both in Clark County. An additional 22 people were hospitalized in the county, which includes metro Las Vegas. 

Of the 13,174 total cases here, 947 people have been hospitalized, or about 15%. About 8,732 people have recovered, or 66%.

A mandate announced Wednesday by Gov. Steve Sisolak for people to wear face coverings in public places took effect Thursday.

Sisolak said the requirement was an attempt to stem an increase of coronavirus cases that has hit the state as casinos, restaurants and other businesses began reopening.

The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized increased for the fifth day in a row, to 503.

Sun reporter Ricardo Torres-Cortez contributed to this story.