Nevada Government Affairs & Advocacy Nevada Update – July 23, 2020

Government Affairs Daily Update

State and Local News

Second Special Session Imminent? – Nevada lawmakers are anticipating a second special session of the legislature, though no details are confirmed at the time of this writing. Governor Steve Sisolak sent lawmakers home from Carson City immediately following the completion of the first special session Sunday evening over coronavirus and public safety concerns. Lawmakers labored for 12 days over the state’s budget, which was initially expected to last only a few days. A second special session is anticipated to be called via Proclamation from Governor Sisolak as early as this weekend, sending legislators back to Carson City sometime next week. Through the suspension of some rules, lawmakers were able to participate virtually, though most opted to serve in-person from the state’s capital. The legislative building was closed to the public and many believe that restriction will remain for this second round, if it occurs. Potential topics to be heard include: social justice/police reform, employer liability shield and worker protections, election reform, and unemployment benefits reform.

Washoe County Health District Advises WCSD Not to Reopen – Washoe County Health District Officer Kevin Dick told the Washoe County School District leaders it should not pursue in-person learning options for the fall semester during a call on Thursday. The recommendation is based on Nevada’s COVID-19 Elevated Disease Transmission Tracker, as well as the recent designation of Washoe County as a yellow zone by the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Yellow zones are not advised to have gatherings of more than 25 people, which may conflict with classroom sizes. Despite the recommendation, the decision to reopen school doors will be left to the Washoe County School Board of Trustees. The board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, July 28. Currently, the district plans to start the school year on August 17 with a hybrid model of in-person and distance learning.

Las Vegas Identified as a City in Need of “Aggressive” Action – Eleven major U.S. cities, including Las Vegas, were identified by the White House Coronavirus Task Force during a call to state and local leaders as areas needing to take “aggressive steps to mitigate rapidly growing COVID-19 cases,” according to Dr. Deborah Birx. Birx, a leading member of the Task Force, advised those on the call to prioritize contact tracing and rapid data reporting. Hard-hit areas such as New York and southern California are seeing encouraging declines in test positivity. With the exception of Las Vegas, the other ten cities named – Baltimore, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and St. Louis – are all on the East coast.

Nevada DHHS Updates Reporting System – The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services upgraded the state’s electronic laboratory reporting system to help mitigate ongoing COVID-19 reporting challenges amid regularly increasing volume. The upgrade will allow the system to process results up to seven times faster, giving public health officials and Nevada residents more timely results. The COVID-19 pandemic put an unanticipated strain on the reporting system, which is receiving roughly the same amount of reports per week that the department received in all of 2019. The Department emphasized the importance in understanding faster processing of COVID-19 results will likely show increases daily cases.

UMC Reverses Previous Drive-Thru Testing Rule – University Medical Center (UMC) is reversing its previous position on drive-thru COVID-19 testing, now asking members of the public who do not have symptoms or have not been exposed to someone with COVID-19 to refrain from making an appointment. According to a UMC spokesman, the decision was made to ensure that patients who are at the highest risk have convenient access to testing, as cases continue to skyrocket throughout the state. After suffering shortages in testing at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, UMC ramped up capacity to allow anyone to receive a test, symptom free or not. However, scheduling has been under strain in recent weeks, leading to the decision to limit testing. As of Thursday, Clark County reported 34,209 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

National News

U.S. Hits 4-Million Cases–The United States reported surpassing four million COVID-19 cases on Thursday, adding an additional one million known cases in the country in just 15 days. The nation reported its first million cases on April 28, more than three months after the first known case in the U.S. was reported. Cases are trending upward in 39 states, including Nevada, with many states experiencing simultaneous rises in hospitalizations and fatalities. On Wednesday, nationwide hospitalizations exceeded the previous high of nearly 60,000 set on April 15. The White House and Congress are continuing to work on a new economic relief proposal that includes a potential second round of stimulus payments, additional aid to businesses and funding for state and local governments. While the details are largely unknown, the package will likely feature funds for expanded testing and laboratory work as states continue to experience increases in cases.

Trump Cancels RNC in Jacksonville, FL –President Trump announced his decision to cancel the Republican National Convention scheduled to take place in Jacksonville, Florida at the end of August. President Trump pulled the convention from its original scheduled location in North Carolina in June amid a debate with the state’s governor over social distancing guidelines. Florida has made national headlines in the past month as positive coronavirus cases continue to rise there. On Thursday, the state reported 10,249 additional cases and set a new single-day record for fatalities at 173. Former Vice President and presumed Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden plans to accept the 2020 nomination at a nearly all-virtual Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee next month.

COVID-19 Numbers in Nevada –

After two days of record-breaking fatality numbers in Nevada, the state reported five COVID-19 related deaths Thursday, bringing the total to 709. Clark County continues to lead that state in COVID-19 confirmations, accounting for more than 86-percent of cases in the state, followed by Washoe County. The seven-day moving average for the testing positivity rate fell, however, to 20.2-percent, down just 1.1-percent from Wednesday.

Numbers –

New Cases: 1,154

Total Cases: 39,919

Current Hospitalizations: 1,136 (+34)

Total Fatalities: 709 (+5)

Total Recoveries: 28,715 (+1,359)

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