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Nevada’s COVID-19 test positivity rate at lowest level in 4 months

Updated February 24, 2021 - 5:14 pm

Nevada on Wednesday reported higher than average numbers of new coronavirus cases and deaths during the preceding day, but the state’s positivity rate continued its recent decline to hit 8.6 percent — a level not seen since late October.

Updated figures from the Department of Health and Human Services posted on the state’s coronavirus website showed 516 new COVID-19 cases and 16 additional deaths over the preceding day. That raised the cumulative totals for Nevada to 292,059 cases and 4,919 fatalities.

New cases were well above the 14-day moving average of 335 per day, while deaths were almost 50 percent higher than the daily moving average of 11 over the period.

But Caleb Cage, director of the state’s COVID-19 response, noted that new cases have declined sharply of late, falling by by 55 percent over the past two weeks.

Nevada’s average daily cases are now less than half the levels during last year’s summer surge and the state now has the fourth lowest caseload (daily average cases over the past seven days per 100,000 residents) among the 50 states, he said.

Deaths from COVID-19 also have been declining, but are only now dipping below the peak of the summer surge, Cage noted.

The state’s positivity rate, meanwhile, declined 0.3 percentage points from the prior day in Wednesday’s update, and has now dropped 13 percentage pointsfrom the high of 21.6 percent recorded on Jan. 13. The rate, which essentially tracks the percentage of people tested for COVID-19 who are determined to be infected, was last this low on Oct. 21, when it stood at 8.5 percent.

Hospitalizations of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients also continued to fall, with 534 beds occupied, down 47 from the previous day, according to the state data.

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

Clark County, meanwhile recorded 357 new COVID-19 cases and 17 additional deaths over the preceding day, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.

That brought the cumulative totals for the county to 225,301 cases and 3,827 fatalities.

The county’s 14-day test positivity rate stood at 9.7 percent, or 1.1 percent higher than the state average.

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

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