Hotels, Casinos on Clark County List of Possible COVID-19 Exposure Sites

Posted on: February 5, 2021, 03:41h. 

Last updated on: February 5, 2021, 03:58h.

Hotels and casinos are among the top seven places Clark County residents visited before being diagnosed with COVID-19. according to a district health officer, Las Vegas is in Southern Nevada’s Clark County.

Guests at a casino on the Las Vegas Strip have their temperature checked. Casinos are on a list of possible exposure sites for COVID-19. (Image: Business Insider)

Food establishments placed second behind “other” as places people infected with COVID-19 visited in the 14 days before being tested or showing symptoms, according to a list on the Southern Nevada Health District website. The term “other” designates places that don’t fit into any category on the list.

Hotel/motel placed third, ahead of medical facility, work, and grocery story. Rounding out the top seven is casino.

Dr. Fermin Leguen, the district’s health officer, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the list was posted because of demand from the public and news outlets. He said the information has limited value to the district and is not used in deciding which places to inspect.

The list does not name specific casinos or other locations. Some people visited several sites on the list before contracting COVID-19. The list is based on voluntary self-reporting, according to the newspaper.

The district’s website states that a place of possible exposure is not necessarily where the disease was acquired, “due to an extended incubation period of up to 14 days.”

Julia Peek, the state Department of Health and Human Services deputy administrator, told the newspaper the list is helpful, but “certainly not a smoking gun.”

Tourism Slowdown

In the fall, Las Vegas Strip hotel-casinos topped a similar list of reported locations, according to the newspaper. This list indicated that one in four Clark County residents who became infected with COVID-19 named hotels, motels, or resorts as a place where they possibly were exposed to the coronavirus during the summer.

Before the fall report came out, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) expressed concern about “half information” doing harm to businesses, the Review-Journal reported.

As COVID-19 cases began to spike in March, Sisolak ordered casinos and other businesses to close. He allowed them to reopen June 4 after a 78-day shutdown. He later imposed a 25 capacity on businesses such as casinos.   

Since the pandemic, tourism has remained in a slump. The lack of conventions and a steep decline in airport traffic have led to low hotel occupancy rates. In response, some hotel-casinos on the Strip have shut down all or part of their operations during the slow middle of the week.

A Clark County commissioner and gaming industry executive recently said they are seeking an increase in the capacity limit to 50 percent for live entertainment and public gatherings.

Vaccine Confusion

Public confusion over who can get the vaccine, coupled with anger at slow distribution, have ignited commentary on social media sites.

Las Vegas resident O.J. Simpson was targeted on Twitter recently after he tweeted a picture of himself receiving a Pfizer vaccine shot at a Las Vegas Walgreens. In 1995, the former football star and actor was acquitted in the high-profile slaying of his ex-wife and her friend. Simpson later was imprisoned after an armed confrontation at an off-Strip casino in Las Vegas. 

Some Twitter users were critical that he was allowed to receive a shot. Others noted that his age, 73, made him eligible.