Nevada May Start to Pinpoint Businesses and Events as COVID-19 Hotspots

Casinos in Nevada may start to be named as places where there is a high risk of COVID-19 exposure, Governor Steve Sisolak said during a Monday press conference call with reporters. If any business, including casinos, is found to be “particularly egregious” and with a high propensity of virus cases, state officials may release the info, seeking to protect the public.

The pressure for more data regarding the role of the gambling establishments in the recent spike in the positivity rate is mounting on the governor, especially since casinos, unlike bars and other non-essential businesses remain open, despite the second wave of COVID-19 in the Silver State continuing to gather pace.

Are Casinos Hotspots for COVID-19?

The surge with the increasing number of new cases was linked to casinos by some local media reports, looking closer at state data on case clusters and super-spreader sites. A recent article used an analysis from cellphone location data to show how interconnected Las Vegas casinos are with the rest of the country, and how they could be potential hotbeds for the virus.

Governor Sisolak pointed out that identifying such hotspots for coronavirus transmission may be tricky and caution must be used to avoid the unfair implication of some events and businesses which are not actually adding to the growing number of cases.

“We have to be very careful to make sure businesses aren’t harmed by half-information being put out there.”

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak

The press conference call happened just hours after the state launched a new contact tracing app which is capable of tracking a user’s location, but preserving the confidentiality of the information. Covid Trace is a free app, for both iOS and Android phones and state officials are urging Nevada residents to use it on a wide scale.

“The strength of this app is in the quantity of people who download it. The more people who use it the more useful it’ll be. We ensured this maintains the confidentiality of individuals, but it will let you know that you’ve been exposed and the date when you were exposed.”

Julia Peek, Deputy Administrator, Nevada Community Health Services

The app that was launched by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) and was a product of the collaboration between Apple and Google, seeks for nearby phones which are already associated with the virus. In case a match is found, the app notifies the user what to do next to stay safe and keep others safe by displaying further instructions from the NDHHS.

“The DHHS created this app so Nevadans can make use of the latest technology to keep themselves and their families safe and fight the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Julia Peek, Deputy Administrator, Nevada Community Health Services

The DHHS reported the latest on the virus front in the state, where five-day lagging daily positivity rate went to 11.6%, and cumulative rate since the start of testing reached its highest, 10.6%

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