Cover Image: People waiting to get a COVID-19 test in a drive-thru testing facility in New Mexico.
On June 11, Washoe County Reported a new one day record of new COVID cases.
According to Washoe County Health Officer Kevin Dick, this is not what they expected.
“We’re reporting 61 additional COVID-19 cases in Washoe County today, the largest single-day increase. The previous high was 54 news cases reported on May 26 and May 17. This is a stark reminder that COVID-19 is still spreading at a concerning rate in Washoe County,” he said.
“It’s been 98 days since we got our first case in Washoe County and just now we’ve reached the highest point in single-day cases and the seven-day moving average. We thought, and the models told us, our peak was probably behind us. Now we have a new higher peak of daily cases and maybe moving higher yet.
Increased testing commercially at some casinos, the Washoe County drive-through test site, and at some Walmart and CVS locations is leading to more cases; however, the rise is also attributed to people in our community failing to practice safe social distancing and mask use. We need to battle this virus together to protect our vulnerable populations and it starts by taking extreme precaution when going out into the community and only going out for essential needs,” Dick explained.
In Storey County, Testing Remains Slim to None
Storey County has tested 41 people or >1% of the population to date. They announced testing last month and no appointments were available in Virginia City when I called. People drove up and took the test in Lockwood without an appointment due to poor advertising of the test availability.
According to Emergency Management Director Joe Curtis, Storey County could offer more testing in the future. However, he offered no details other than it might happen sometime in July.
Meanwhile, Storey County Commissioner Lance Gilman ran multiple full-page ads in the Reno Gazette-Journal and the Comstock Chronicle. His ads begged Governor Sisolak to allow rural counties to craft their own re-opening schedule. Virginia City has opened back up and people are flocking to C Street. While this is great for the merchants, it might not be all that great for the residents.
Is It Over Yet?
I’ve read articles that suggest the weariness of the whole thing and the protests sweeping the nation and suggest that wearing masks, social distancing, and shelter in place is pretty much dead. A quick visit to the casinos reveals the stark contrast in attitudes; everyone working is masked, no one gambling is masked.
If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It.
The only way to convince our Governor and health officials that this COVID thing is in the rearview mirror is to massively test everyone. Massive test results will show the Governor and state health officials the actual state of affairs here in The Richest Place on Earth and across the state. With this data, they can make an informed decision.
Instead of running full-page ads begging to let us do our own thing, Storey County should be testing every man, woman, child, dog, and goldfish.
If I was County Commissioner, we would have already completed the first round of a massive testing effort. We would be neck-deep in round two. We would be working with the “Quad-County” group to help them with a similar massive testing effort.
Once we have solid positive testing data, we can go to the governor and prove to him we are good to go. Until then, we are flying in the dark.
Residents First. Special Interests Not First
Sam Toll – Candidate
Storey County Commission, District One