Updated September 24, 2021 - 3:08 pm
Nevada’s death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 7,000 on Friday as most Clark County metrics for the disease caused by the new coronavirus continued to show improvement.
The Southern Nevada Health District reported 564 new COVID-19 cases and 14 additional deaths over the preceding day, raising totals in the county to 317,520 coronavirus cases and 5,559 deaths.
“The trend of COVID in Clark County is really decreasing since probably about four or five weeks ago,” Dr. Fermin Leguen, health officer for the district, said at a news briefing Friday to discuss plans to roll out booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine for newly eligible groups as soon as next week.
New COVID-19 cases remained higher than the moving two-week average of daily reported cases in the county, but the trendline continued its recent decline, dropping from 416 to 409, state data shows.
Fatalities from the disease showed a similar pattern, coming in well above the moving 14-day average of eight deaths per day as the longer-term measure fell from nine.
Both averages have been declining in the county from recent peaks of 1,119 on Aug 19 and 22 deaths per day from Aug. 25-29, state data show.
The county’s two-week test positivity rate, which essentially tracks the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 who are found to be infected, decreased by 0.2 percentage points on Friday, reaching 8.4 percent. The rate has been falling fairly steadily since hitting 17 percent on Aug. 8.
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.
Vaccines credited for transmission drop
Leguen said Friday that the drop in the positivity rate rate is evidence of lower transmission in the community, which he attributed to growing vaccination numbers.
As of Friday, 54.13 percent of people 12 and older in Clark County have been fully vaccinated, slightly below the state rate of 54.79 percent, according to data from the state Department of Health and Human Services.
Hospitalizations in the county have fallen more than 44 percent since peaking on Aug. 10, with 1,168 suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients reported. As of Friday, that figure stood at 653.
The health district also reported that as of Thursday there had been 450 so-called breakthrough cases — those involving fully vaccinated individuals — in Clark County that have required hospitalization, including 25 in the past week. The number of breakthrough cases resulting in death in the county rose by nine in the past week, from 137 to 146.
About 18 percent of cases reported to the health district in September have been breakthrough cases, according to county data.
Leguen, the health district official, stressed that the number of serious breakthrough cases is a small percentage of those who are infected and “not unexpected” given that none of the COVID-19 vaccines are 100 percent effective.
“When we look at those numbers, we see that mortality, hospitalization, among people who are fully vaccinated is almost none,” he said.
State passes 7,000 deaths
Across Nevada, there were 1,072 new corona cases reported on Friday and 32 additional deaths, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services’ coronavirus website.
Totals in the state rose to 416,496 cases and 7,015 fatalities.
New COVID-19 cases and fatalities also were higher statewide than the moving two-week average. The two-week average of daily reported cases continued its recent decline, falling 812 to 790. The average of daily reported fatalities in the state was unchanged at 14 per day.
The state’s two-week positivity also decreased by 0.2 percentage points, reaching 10.9 percent. The rate has dropped significantly from its recent peak of 16.4 percent Aug. 13, but has flattened out in recent weeks.
State data shows there are 922 people in Nevada hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, which is 39 fewer than the day prior. About 70.8 percent of the state’s total hospitalizations were in Clark County.
While patient numbers have been dropping throughout the state, staffing still remains an issue, particularly in Washoe and rural counties, the Nevada Hospital Association said Wednesday.
—12+ population: 2.64 million.
— Doses administered: 3.06 million.
— Vaccinations initiated: 1.72 million.
— Vaccinations completed: 1.47 million.
— Eligible fully vaccinated: 54.79 percent.
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; Department of Health and Human Services.