Understanding and responding to the business and legal impacts of COVID-19

Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – June 4, 2020

Government Affairs Daily Update

June 4, 2020

Our Government Affairs & Advocacy Team is dedicated to keeping you informed as we continue facing the novel coronavirus. We will provide daily updates, with additional resources available on our website.

Additionally, we will keep you informed of Nevada primary election results and updates through this platform.

State and Local COVID-19 Developments

Governor Sisolak Provides Update – Governor Steve Sisolak Thursday released a statement highlighting Nevada’s recent progress in the effort to battle COVID-19. The Nevada United: Roadmap to Recovery plan was released near the end of April laying out the five criteria officials would monitor as reopening proceeded. Since then, the state has made significant progress in all five categories, including the following:

  • The downward data trend remains consistent and sustainable
    • As of June 3, Nevada is on day 39 of a downward trajectory in positivity rate, with a cumulative test positivity rate of 5.7-percent, down from 12-percent on May 1, meaning that Nevada is well below the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended standard of 10-percent
  • Healthcare infrastructure is stable and hospital capacity is able to be maintained without crisis standards of care
    • As of June 3, Nevada’s confirmed COVID-19 hospitalizations have been on a downward trajectory since April 21, a total of 43 days
    • The Nevada Hospital Association is reporting that member hospitals are within normal supply of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Testing has been expanded and there is sufficient laboratory capacity to process COVID-19 testing samples
    • In the month of May, Nevada increased daily testing by 500-percent and there is testing and laboratory capacity to test all patients, regardless of whether they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Case contract tracing is sufficient
    • On Monday, Nevada rolled out a comprehensive 32-page COVID-19 Disease Outbreak Management Plan to help bridge Nevada from the current crisis response to an enhanced disease management process
    • Nevada’s statewide contact tracing effort involves a digital tracing solution through Deloitte and Salesforce, which will modernize and streamline case investigation and contact tracing to quickly identify and notify individuals who may have been close contacts to a person with COVID-19
  • Vulnerable populations have been protected, with outbreaks minimized in special settings, such as health facilities and nursing homes
    • Nevada is one in four states identified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as having inspected all nursing homes to ensure they are meeting federal infection control standards

Nevada Facing Harsh Fire Season – As Nevada’s fire season gears up to be one of the worst on record, firefighters are also facing the additional challenge of avoiding exposure to COVID-19. With close contact between crew members as they fight fires a staple in their routine, additional risk is placed on them. As a precaution, group meals will be done away with and additional protective equipment, such as masks, gloves, and gowns will be provided. Firefighters are calling upon Nevadans to do their part to help quell the start of wildland fires, nearly 40-percent of which are human caused. Nevada is already off to a hot start for 2020, with 142 fires burning more than 10,000 acres. To keep the nearly 1,000 Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Forest Service, and state of Nevada firefighters safe from both COVID-19 and wildland fires, some restrictions have been put in place, including limiting open flames, banning smoking outdoors on public lands, banning the use of tracer rounds, fireworks and other incendiary devices, and limiting activities such as firewood cutting to morning and early afternoon hours.

Nevada Athletes Return to Campus – Athletes at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) are gradually returning to campus on a volunteer basis. 31 athletes have reported back to campus in Reno, including 20 football players and 11 men’s and women’s basketball players. To comply with school rules, they must go through a 14-day quarantine and are required to wear face masks on campus and take weekly COVID-19 tests. According to Athletic Director Doug Knuth, the school plans to bring the rest of the football and basketball athletes back in the next month, with volleyball, soccer, and cross country athletes returning to campus in August, the normal time frame for those sports. In addition to weekly testing, numerous hand sanitation stations have been placed around training facilities.

Basketball to Resume Play – The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Board of Governors approved a plan Thursday to resume the NBA season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida with a 22-team format. The regular season is set to resume July 31, with the NBA finals set to occur in early-to-mid October. Players will be living and playing the rest of the season at the more than 250-acre complex, and fans will not be able to attend the games in person. At least ten NBA players have tested positive since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting the NBA to suspend play on March 11.

Economic Forum Scheduled – Nevada’s Economic Forum has been scheduled for Wednesday, June 10, as the end of the 2020 fiscal year approaches on June 30. The Forum is charged with considering economic indicators, including unemployment which currently stands at a record high, and updating the status of the State General Fund as compared to the most recent revenue forecasts. The information presented to the Economic Forum could signal a need to address budget deficits for the next fiscal year, possibly in a special session of the Nevada Legislature. An agenda is not yet available.

Las Vegas Celebrates Reopening – Nevada casinos celebrated the long-awaited opening on Thursday with multiple celebrations after being shuttered for two months. At Caesars Palace, Las Vegas icon Wayne Newton greeted visitors, while MGM Resorts International celebrated by ringing the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange. Additionally, the famous Bellagio Fountains danced for visitors to the world-famous song “Viva Las Vegas” by Elvis Presley. You can find a video of the show here.

COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada

These numbers are accurate as of 4:00 p.m. Thursday, June 4.

  • There are 9,111 positive cases in Nevada
    • This number is up 163 cases from Wednesday
  • Nevada has reported 429 fatalities from the coronavirus
    • This number is the same from Wednesday
  • Over 161,000 people have been tested
  • Further statistical data can be found here: DHHS Coronavirus Statistics in Nevada.

National COVID-19 Developments

Small Business Legislation Passes the Senate – The U.S. Senate Wednesday unanimously passed legislation that lengthens the COVID-19 small business loan terms, previously passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The approved legislation gives small businesses up to 24 weeks to us their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, up significantly from the previous eight-week deadline. Additionally, only 60-percent of the loan must be used for payroll while the remaining 40-percent can be used for other expenses, such as mortgages, differentiating from the original 75-percent for payroll and 25-percent for other expenses. A total of $659-billion has been provided by Congress for the loan program, which is part of the broader COVID-19 emergency aid package totaling around $3-trillion, as Democrats and Republicans continue to debate the details of a fourth stimulus package. The bill now heads to President Donald Trump’s desk, where it is anticipate to be signed.

New Demographic Requirements – The Trump administration Thursday released new requirements, mandating that states report COVID-19 data based on race, ethnicity, age and sex of individuals who have been tested for the virus, in an effort to receive a better picture of the toll of the pandemic. All laboratories and other testing facilities will be required to send demographic data to state or local public health departments based on an individual’s residence no later than August 1. The new requirements come as lawmakers question officials on their potential failure to acknowledge the effect of the pandemic on black and Hispanic communities, the hardest hit.

Nevada Primary Election Updates

Nevada Primary Numbers – Nearly 288,000 mail-in ballots have been returned statewide, with 1,000 individuals voting in-person, bringing total voting to 17.7-percent. Comparatively, in 2018, 330,000 voters turned out while 240,000 turned out in 2016. According to the Secretary of State’s office, 248,868 of the mailed 1,829,050 ballots have been returned to the respective county election official marked as “undeliverable”. Additionally, four of Nevada’s counties currently have above 30-percent turnout:

  • Douglas County – 33-percent
  • Humboldt County – 33-percent
  • Lincoln County – 40-percent
  • White Pine County – 34-percent

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