COVID-19 case rate ticks up in Las Vegas area, as hospitalizations decline

COVID-19 test kits ready for distribution. (Dave Zajac /Record-Journal via AP)

New COVID-19 metrics released Wednesday showed Clark County’s case rate increasing, but hospitalizations continued to drop throughout the state and county.

The county’s 14-day moving average of daily new cases stood at 145 on Wednesday, a notable increase from last week’s mark of 98. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also showed an increase in an important tracking metric, the case rate per 100,000 people. That number increased to 44.38, about seven higher than this time last week.

State and county health agencies stopped reporting testing numbers when they moved to weekly reports, so it was unclear if the uptick in metrics had coincided with an increase or decrease in testing and test positivity rate.

Still, state officials have stressed that hospitalizations are now a key metric in determining the current risk level for COVID-19, and there was more good news on that front in Wednesday’s update. The number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in the county stood at 80, down by seven from last week’s report.

“Nevada is experiencing a leveling-off in the number of COVID-19 hospitalized cases,” the Nevada Hospital Association said in its weekly release. “Although a minimal increase is appreciated from the prior week, there are no strong signals of a resurgence. COVID-19 continues to be classified as a “routine crisis” within the Nevada healthcare infrastructure.”

The county also reported an increase of about 65 deaths, bringing the Southern Nevada Health District’s cumulative total to 8,421. The two-week moving average of daily deaths held steady at one, though, and state data showed only one of the new deaths had occurred in the last week.

State and county health agencies often redistribute the 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. That’s been very clear in recent weeks, especially with death reporting. State agencies have reported a high number of deaths each week, even when the vast majority of those came weeks or months earlier and are only being reported now.

The state, meanwhile, also saw a significant increase to its 14-day moving average of daily new cases. That number rose from 119 last week to 174, and the state Department of Health and Human Services reported about 1,700 new cases over the preceding week.

Statewide totals stood at 662,934 cases and 10,752 deaths.

The two-week moving average of daily deaths also held at one, while the number of people hospitalized with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in the state dropped from 104 last week to 98.

As of Wednesday, state data showed that 57.19 percent of Nevadans five and older were fully vaccinated, compared with 56.53 percent.

That number varies widely throughout the state. Washoe County has the state’s highest vaccination rate, at 65.59 percent, while Storey County has the lowest, at 27.70 percent.

Contact Jonah Dylan at jdylan@reviewjournal.com. Follow @TheJonahDylan on Twitter.