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Clark County COVID-19 metrics all headed lower this week

Updated October 22, 2021 - 7:19 pm

Clark County’s major COVID-19 metrics all registered further improvement over the past week, which also saw the county clear the first of two requirements for lifting of the state’s mask mandate for crowded indoor public spaces.

Although the number of hospitalized patients jumped to end the week, new cases, deaths, hospitalizations and test positivity rate all improved over the past seven days, according to local and state data posted on Friday.

Numbers for the week from the Southern Nevada Health District and the state Department of Health and Human Services: the 14-day average of new COVID-19 cases (down 9.26 percent), the 14-day average for deaths (down 25 percent); hospitalizations (down 9.39 percent) and the 14-day positivity rate (down 8.70 percent).

For the month, the news is even better for new cases (down 18.9 percent), deaths (down 66.67 percent) and hospitalizations (down 23.36 percent). The test positivity rate stalled for the first three weeks of October before moving lower this week, so it also is down 8.70 percent for the month.

The progress allowed the county this week to remove one of two barriers preventing the lifting of the public mask mandate imposed by Gov. Steve Sisolak in July. The county’s seven-day test positivity rate remained below the “moderate” category on the transmission risk scale created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a second week in a row.

That leaves only one roadblock remaining: To exit the mandate, the county also must record back-to-back weeks with a seven-day average (the gauge preferred by the CDC) of 50 or fewer new COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 residents.

The county remained well above that threshold as of Friday, with the average at 103.23 per 100,000. But that was down nearly 10 percent from Tuesday, when the figures stood at 114.62.

That bodes well if there isn’t another surge waiting around the corner.

Daily numbers for county

In its daily update Friday, the health district reported 383 new coronavirus cases and six deaths during the preceding day. That pushed pandemic totals to 329,006 cases and 5,900 deaths.

New cases were above the 14-day moving average of 294 per day, while the average itself was down by four cases per day from Thursday’s report.

Fatalities matched the 14-day average of six per day, while the average was unchanged for a third straight day.

Data guide: COVID-19’s impact on Nevada

State and county health agencies often redistribute daily data after it is reported to better reflect the date of death or onset of symptoms, which is why the moving-average trend lines frequently differ from daily reports and are considered better indicators of the direction of the outbreak.

The county’s test positivity rate, which tracks the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 who are found to be infected, continued its recent improvement, dropping 0.1 percentage point to 6.3 percent, state data showed.

The number of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients hospitalized in the county jumped by 31 from Thursday’s report.

Update on breakthrough cases

Meanwhile, the health district late Thursday posted its first update on so-called breakthrough infections of fully vaccinated individuals since Sept. 30.

The new report showed the district has identified a total of 10,601 breakthrough cases, with 539 leading to hospitalization and 170 resulting in death. Since Sept. 30, the district added 152 breakthrough cases, 57 hospitalizations and 12 deaths among those fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the report showed.

Breakthrough COVID-19 cases have been rising as a percentage of cases in the county and represented 23.02 percent of the total as of Thursday’s report.

That is likely attributable to the fact that the percentage of Nevadans who are fully vaccinated continues to increase, but may also reflect the waning effectiveness of the vaccines, which has prompted the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to approve booster shots.

Still, the data show the vaccines remain highly effective in staving off the most dire consequences of infection, with the hospitalization rate for the fully vaccinated at 949 per 100,000 population, compared to 26,482 per 100,000 for the unvaccinated.

For breakthrough deaths, the rate is 15 per 100,000 for the fully vaccinated, versus 477 per 100,000 for the unvaccinated.

State picture also improving

The state on Friday reported 735 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths during the preceding day, increasing totals to 434,898 cases and 7,523 deaths.

New cases were well above the 14-day moving average of 480 per day. Deaths attributed to the disease matched the 14-day average of 10 per day.

A total of 662 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients were occupying beds in state hospitals, an increase of 34 from the preceding day.

The state test positivity rate, however, continued to fall, declining 0.2 percentage points from Thursday to 7.1 percent.

The health department reported that 55.58 percent of eligible Nevadans have been fully vaccinated, compared to 54.82 percent for Clark County.

Contact Mike Brunker at mbrunker@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4656. Follow @mike_brunker on Twitter.

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