Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – May 20, 2020

COVID-19 Daily Update

May 20, 2020

Our Government Affairs & Advocacy Team is dedicated to keeping you informed of pertinent information as we continue facing the novel coronavirus. We will be providing daily updates on the matter over the course of the next few weeks.  Please continue to refer to our Firm website for resources and information:

State and Local News

President Trump Threatens Nevada Funding – President Donald Trump began Wednesday by writing a threatening tweet aimed at Nevada, saying that if the state proceeds with its mostly mail-in primary election, he would withhold federal funding. Nevada lawmakers were quick to respond, backing up Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske’s March decision to hold the mail-in primary due to COVID-19 concerns. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and members of the Congressional delegation took exception to President Trump’s threat with tweets of their own.

The decision to move to a mail-in primary election has been subject to scrutiny and has garnered several legal challenges from both sides of the aisle. After democratic-leaning groups filed a lawsuit, election officials in Clark County (Nevada’s most populous county) made concessions, including sending ballots to both inactive and active registered voters and opening more in-person polling places. While these allowances raised concerns, general agreement maintains that the mail-in primary election is necessary to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. President Trump also tweeted Wednesday morning threatening to withhold federal funding from the state of Michigan, again claiming election fraud by their Secretary of State.

Las Vegas Positive Results Low – Results from tests being conducted at The Orleans in Las Vegas have come back positive for COVID-19 in only 1.5-percent of performed tests. Of the 7,778 diagnostic tests being conducted at the first major program site in southern Nevada, only 119 came back positive as of Monday. The massive drive-thru testing side, which is conducted in partnership with University Medical Center (UMC) and the Nevada National Guard, offers testing to anyone who wishes to be checked, versus only those with coronavirus symptoms. The low positivity rate is a potential indicator that Nevada is getting closer to moving into the Phase 2 reopening plan.

First Prison Inmate Positive Case – The first case of an inmate in a Nevada prison facility has been reported at Indian Springs, located about 40-miles northwest of Las Vegas. The inmate was moved last month from the Clark County Detention Center and had been in an isolation unit per standard intake quarantine protocol. He did not have any COVID-19 symptoms. Inmates in the same unit as the man have been tested and results are pending, and all staff who may have been exposed must quarantine until they test negative for COVID-19 and receive approval to return to work. Prisoner advocates have been calling for the early release of inmates for months due to coronavirus concerns, especially for those who are medically vulnerable and close to the end of their sentences. Additionally, 18 staff members in Nevada prisons have also tested positive for COVID-19. As of May 11, only 56 of Nevada’s nearly 12,500 prison inmates had been tested, representing about 0.45-percent of all inmates.

Federal Government Developments

New CDC Guidelines – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released further guidance over the weekend for schools, businesses, transit systems and other industries hoping to reopen safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The 60-page document provides specific instructions for different sectors to detect and trace the virus based on exposure and risk. Some of the recommendations include:

  • If a person in a school building tests positive, schools should evaluate the risk and consider a brief dismissal of two to five days to clean and disinfect the building and coordinate with local health officials to contract trace.
  • As restrictions on restaurants and bars ease, it is recommended that owners give workers who are at a higher risk of getting sick a job that limits the person’s interaction with customers.
  • As mass transit resumes, routes should be adjusted based on the levels of virus spread.
  • For businesses that provide child day care during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is recommended that a plan is in place to substitute workers if a staff member becomes sick, and requires staff and children older than two to wear face coverings.

House of Representatives to Work Remotely – U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D) formally initiated a remote working period Wednesday, beginning a 45-day interval in which remote voting can be used in the House chamber. Last Friday, the House approved a temporary rule change that gives members a chance to vote and participate in committee hearings remotely, aimed at reducing the number of days members need to be physically present. Lawmakers who choose to vote by proxy will allow for an authorized colleague to vote on their behalf, and lawmakers are limited to being a proxy for no more than 10 members. The rule change also gives those who travel to D.C. by plane the opportunity to make fewer trips going back and forth and risking exposure. In stark contrast, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) has no present plans to allow for remote working and continues to highlight the Senate’s ongoing physical presence on the Hill.

COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada

These numbers are accurate as of 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 20.

  • There are 7,294 positive cases in Nevada.
    • Clark County has 5,650 confirmed cases. Of those, 4,013 have recovered.
    • Washoe County has 1,395 confirmed cases. Of those, 56 are hospitalized and 700 have recovered.
    • Carson City has 75 confirmed cases. Of those, 49 have recovered.
    • Humboldt County has 76 confirmed cases. Of those, one (1) is hospitalized and 13 have recovered.
    • Nye County has 56 confirmed cases. Of those, 33 have recovered.
    • Lyon County has 49 confirmed cases. Of those, 31 have recovered.
    • Douglas County has 25 confirmed cases. Of those, 22 have recovered.
    • Elko County has 21 confirmed cases. Of those, 13 have recovered.
    • Lander County has 19 confirmed cases.
    • Churchill County has six (6) confirmed cases. Of those, four (4) have recovered.
    • Mineral County has four (4) confirmed cases. All four (4) have recovered.
    • White Pine County has four (4) confirmed cases. Of those, three (3) have recovered.
    • Lincoln County has two (2) confirmed cases.
    • Storey County has one (1) confirmed case.
  • Nevada has reported 373 fatalities from the coronavirus. Of those, 314 were in Clark County, 48 were in Washoe County, four(4) were in Humboldt County, three (3) were in Carson City, one (1) was in Elko County and one (1) was in Nye County.
  • Over 88,000 people have been tested.
  • Further statistical data can be found here: DHHS Coronavirus Statistics in Nevada.

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