A nurse dons personal protective equipment before the opening of a temporary coronavirus testing facility for casino employees at the Las Vegas Convention Center last May. (Photo: John Locher/AP, file)
RENO — Local authority over COVID-19 restrictions has now been granted to all of Nevada's 17 counties after Washoe County commissioners approved a revised plan for the Reno-Sparks area Monday and successfully submitted the necessary endorsements to the state's mitigation task force.
Masks remain mandatory, but control over most all other COVID-19 mitigation measures began May 1 under local plans in Las Vegas and all other Nevada counties, where capacity limits and social-distancing limits vary through the end of the month.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, has set a June 1 date for lifting coronavirus mitigation restrictions statewide, including eliminating all capacity caps, with the exception of a mask mandate.
On Monday, Washoe County became the last county to win approval of a local plan to move forward before June 1. The task force declined to accept its plan last week after the county commission removed social-distancing requirements from the previous blueprint that the county health district had insisted be part of the package.
It's new plan eliminates capacity limits effective June 1, unless there's a big spike in the new number of COVID-19 cases and other trends. In the meantime, it allows full capacity in businesses that have enough space to still comply with the 6-foot social-distancing mandate.
In Las Vegas and Clark County, the capacity cap rose from the state-mandated 50% to 80% on Saturday and will be eliminated when 60% of eligible county residents have received at least one vaccination shot.
On Monday, the percentage was 47% in Clark County. Statewide it was 45.4% and in Washoe County 53%. More than 32.3% of eligible Nevadans statewide have been fully vaccinated, including 35% in Washoe County.
Health officials in Las Vegas say they hope to administer more than 1,000 doses of coronavirus vaccine a day to area residents once a big drive-thru COVID-19 shot clinic opens Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
"We are committed to increasing access and providing as many opportunities for people to get the COVID-19 vaccine as possible," said Dr. Fermin Leguen, chief health officer for the health district in Clark County. "It is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19."
The convention center shot clinic will deliver first and second doses Tuesdays through Saturdays, with appointments available at the health district website.
The district on Wednesday will close the downtown Cashman Center mass vaccination site operated in cooperation with the Nevada National Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and volunteers. It opened in late January and in mid-April administered more than 7,500 shots per day. Daily volume has decreased in recent weeks.
Personnel will be redeployed to pop-up clinics handling smaller numbers of vaccinations around the area, officials said.
Another drive-through location opens May 11 at the shuttered Texas Station casino northwest of downtown.
At the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a vaccine clinic for appointments and walk-ins continues this week but will switch after Friday to second-dose appointments only through June 2.
The health district noted that federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance now advises that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors in public unless they are in a crowd.
State health officials on Monday reported 801 new cases of COVID-19 and nine more deaths since the last report on Friday. The Department of Health and Human Services has reported more than 316,000 cases and 5,473 deaths since the pandemic began.
The 14-day test positivity rate, a measure of the number of people tested for coronavirus and found positive, remained unchanged at 5.7% in Nevada and the Las Vegas area. The World Health Organization goal is 5% or below to relax restrictions.