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Las Vegas is stepping up its response against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic after the city was named as a “virus trouble spot”. 

The White House Coronavirus Task Force has urged officials in the state of Nevada to take “aggressive” steps in a bid to halt the spread of the virus. 

Casinos in the state have been open since June, though Nevada has reported a spike in cases recently. 

Las Vegas spokesman Jace Radke has said the city is already taking additional measures to ward off the threat of COVID-19. 

In the red zone 

Last week, Doctor Deborah Birx – who is the coronavirus coordinator for the White House – said that Las Vegas was one of the cities that should adopt a more aggressive COVID battle plan. Others included in this list were New Orleans, Miami, Indanaopolis and Baltimore. 

On July 14th, Nevada was one of 18 US states placed in a “red zone” – in relation to coronavirus cases. 

As of last Sunday (July 19th), the seven-day average for positive COVID-19 tests for Clark County – in which the Vegas Strip is located – stood at 16%. For the state overall, Nevada’s seven-day positive testing average is slightly over a fifth (20.2%). 

Prior to reopening, the World Health Organization recommends that testing rates stand at 5% or lower for 14 successive days. When casinos began to welcome back patrons on June 4th, the percentage was 4.9%. 

Nevada and Vegas already acting 

According to Radke, Las Vegas had already been taking certain steps to aid a more robust fight against the virus prior to Birx’s warning. This included sending 50 two-person teams on business trips around the city to ensure that venues were compliant with safety measures. Specific measures include wearing face masks and mandatory social distancing. 

According to Nevada Governor Steve Sissolak, the state has also been ramping up safety procedures. In relation to the current situation, he said the following in a statement

“Localities that are newly listed in the red and yellow zones by the White House have been asked to provide additional actions they have taken or plan to take — beyond measures already taken Statewide — to implement the policy recommendations from the White House.”

COVID cases in Nevada have risen 

According to Worldometers, there had been 8,830 total cases on June 2nd. Since then, however, the figure has risen exponentially. There were 20,718 reported cases on July 3rd, which rose to 42,843 as of July 26th. 

The number of active cases has also jumped. 1,807 people were infected at the same time on June 2nd, which has risen to 17,089 on July 26th.

Of the 42,843 reported cases of COVID-19, there have been 734 deaths. 

According to State Coronavirus Testing Chief Mark Pandori, testing facilities in the Battle Born State are currently at full capacity. This has therefore led to delays when it comes to getting results back. Nevada is not, according to him, not one of the states simultaneously testing “pool samples”.

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