Updated February 25, 2022 - 6:06 pm
The COVID-19 test positivity rate in Clark County fell below 10 percent Friday for the first time this year.
The county’s 14-day test positivity rate, which tracks the percentage of people tested who are found to be infected with COVID-19, dropped by 0.6 percentage points to 9.7 percent Friday — the lowest rate in 2022.
The county’s 7-day test positivity rate — one of two key metrics tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — was even lower at 7.35 percent. The other metric showed 63.97 coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents in the county.
Clark County had been among the majority of counties nationwide that the CDC considered high risk for transmission of COVID-19, but it dropped into the substantial risk category for the first time this year on Tuesday.
For a county to exit the high risk category, the 7-day test positivity rate had to be below 10 percent and there had to be fewer than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents.
Southern Nevada last dropped into the “substantial” tier on Nov. 1. But the omicron variant soon reared its head throughout the state and county, and the number of cases skyrocketed until about a month ago when the surge started to recede.
The only Nevada county in the low risk category is Eureka County, which reported fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 residents in the last week.
Across the nation, less than 2 percent of counties are considered low risk for transmission.
Meanwhile, Clark County’s 14-day moving average of new coronavirus cases fell by 14 Friday, down to 188 new cases per day. The actual number of new cases was slightly higher with 258, bringing the total countywide to 487,385 cases, according to state data.
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 an outbreak.
As of Friday, 360 people were hospitalized in the county with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, down 19 from the day before.
Nevada Hospital Association said Wednesday that hospitals around the state were reporting a “return to normalcy” as hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at their lowest numbers since July 1. Statewide, 28 fewer people were hospitalized Friday with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, bringing the total down to 459 patients.
Data guide: COVID-19’s impact on Nevada
The average number of daily deaths in the state or the county did not move from Thursday, according to Friday’s data. The average remained at five for Clark County and seven for Nevada.
In Clark County, 46 new deaths were added Friday, which brings the total to 7,452. Statewide, 51 new deaths were reported, inching the state’s total to 9,664 deaths.
The state also reported 484 new cases Friday, raising the total to 644,569 cases of coronavirus. Nevertheless, the 14-day average of new cases in Nevada fell by 23 to 286.
The state’s test positivity rate fell Friday by 0.8 percentage points to 11.1 percent.
Meanwhile, state data Friday showed 56.5 percent of eligible Nevadans over five were vaccinated, compared to 55.89 percent in Clark County.
In a news conference this week, Cassius Lockett, the Southern Nevada Health District’s director of disease surveillance and control, said the health district is shifting its focus to targeted ads encouraging residents to get the vaccine. Although many testing sites have recently closed with the accessibility of at-home tests, Lockett worried about the possibility of new variants.
“There’s always probability of a new variant emerging or right around the corner to start circulating in the community,” he said. “We definitely need to be more prepared if one arrives and it’s highly contagious.”