- Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Like most US states, Nevada is experiencing a significant resurgence of coronavirus cases.
- At this time the 66 year old Sisolak says he is asymptomatic.
The state of Nevada now has a high profile face to associate with the resurgent COVID-19 pandemic. On Friday afternoon, Governor Steve Sisolak announced that he has tested positive for the coronavirus. The announcement came via an official press release from the Governor’s office in Carson City:
As part of a regular testing protocol, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak underwent routine COVID-19 testing on Friday, November 13 in Carson City. A rapid test provided a positive result. The Governor also received a diagnostic PCR test and those results are pending at this time.
At this time, the Governor is not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. Earlier this week, the Governor expressed feeling fatigue, however he attributed this to his demanding schedule. No other symptoms were experienced.
Governor Sisolak’s positive COVID-19 tests comes as the Silver State is experiencing a serious resurgence of the virus. Earlier in the week, state and local health officials characterized the renewed spread of the coronavirus as an ‘out of control wildfire’. On Friday, Nevada set a new record for COVID-19 cases reported in a single day with 1,857 new cases confirmed across the state. The previous record was set just a few days before on November 7. In addition, the only county in Nevada that had yet to report a coronavirus case has now experienced one. Remote Esmeralda County (Population 974) managed to make it through to this point unscathed, more likely due to their permanent state of ‘social distancing’ than anything else.
State data shows that there has been more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases on 9 of the previous 10 days. Before October 24, there had been a span of almost two months without a 1,000 new case day. The positivity rate calculated by the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper reached 13.4% of Friday. Putting the severity of the ‘second wave’ of the pandemic into perspective the data tracking website GlobalEpidemics.org ranks Nevada #25 in terms of the current severity of the COVID-19 outbreak with a 7 day moving average of 42.4 cases per 100,000 people. The worst outbreak under this quantification method is now occurring in North Dakota where there is a 175 new cases per 100,000 people moving average.
Governor Sisolak will now quarantine for ten days at his residence in Carson City. In a phone call with reporters Sisolak said that he isn’t experiencing any symptoms:
“I’m feeling fine. I don’t have any symptoms. I’m a little tired, but I’ve been tired since March when we started fighting COVID.”
First lady Kathy Sisolak has tested negative for the virus. Governor Sisolak said that his positive test underscores the importance of continued vigilance in following best practices such as social distancing and mask wearing:
“More than 1,800 new cases were identified in Nevada yesterday. We have to work together to get a handle on this virus.”
For the most part, Sisolak has led by example in this regard. He’s invariably photographed wearing a mask in public, often one featuring the Nevada State Flag. His response to the COVID-19 pandemic has received a mixed response from his constituents. Some consider his approach proactive and well advised while others have been critical of an overly broad shutdown of the state such as the one that idled Nevada’s gaming industry for over two months. A statewide mask mandate continues in Nevada having been issued by Sisolak on June 24.
Nevada’s gaming and tourism industry continues to struggle due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A number of large gaming properties remain closed with some opening only on weekends to accommodate guests. With no conventions being held in town midweek occupancy rates have plummeted despite heavily discounted room rates.