Hundreds of Visitors To Nevada Test Positive for COVID-19

Posted on: November 11, 2020, 01:39h. 

Last updated on: November 11, 2020, 02:37h.

More than 700 visitors to Nevada have tested positive for COVID-19 since casinos began operating again in June, according to published accounts. Many of these visitors tested positive while they were in the state. Others tested positive after returning home.

Las Vegas Strip
Tourists walk along the Las Vegas Strip on recent sunny day. State figures show more than 700 visitors to Nevada have tested positive for COVID-19. (Image: AARP)

In a four-month span from June 1 to Oct. 3, a total of 691 visitors tested positive while in the state, according to KSNV-TV. Of that number, 471 were from two bordering states, California and Arizona.

There was no indication where in Nevada these people visited during their stay. However, Las Vegas is the top destination in the state. Since June, more than 5.7 million people have visited Southern Nevada, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

These figures were complied by the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Another 21 people tested positive for COVID-19 after returning home. All but three were from California, the television station reported. Two were from Arizona. One was from Ohio.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise in March, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) ordered casinos and most other businesses to close. The governor allowed casinos to reopen June 4.

Only a few hotel-casinos in Southern Nevada still are closed. One of these, the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, is set to reopen by the end of the year, according to Caesars Entertainment CEO Tom Reeg. The Rio is just west of the Las Vegas Strip.

The company’s Cromwell Hotel and Casino was the last resort to reopen on the Strip. It began operating again Oct. 29 as an adults-only property.

Some resorts on the Strip are dealing with low consumer demand by closing during the middle of the week. Park MGM, near T-Mobile Arena, is accepting hotel guests only on weekends through the holiday season. Another hotel-casino on the Strip, Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, including the hotel and gaming areas. The Encore closure will remain in effect until consumer demand increases.

‘Stay at Home 2.0’

At a televised news conference in Carson City on Tuesday, the governor sounded an alarm about the rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the state. He urged Nevadans to stay home as much as possible for the next two weeks. This two-week period, which he calls “Stay at Home 2.0,” ends two days before Thanksgiving.

Sisolak said he will evaluate in two weeks whether stronger enforcement is needed.

I don’t want to take stronger action,” he said at the Capitol. “I want to stay on the path to get all Nevada children back in classrooms, opening conventions by 50 percent by January 1, and lifting more restrictions.”

He said people have asked why he is not placing limits again on casinos, retail businesses, and restaurants.

“That is the tightrope of trying to balance controlling the COVID spread, protecting our hospitals from surges, and at the same time not destroying and shutting down our economy,” he said.

COVID-19 Cases Surging

As the governor indicated, Nevada in recent weeks has undergone a surge in coronavirus cases.

The average number of new cases had been falling since early August. However, that number has risen since mid-September, according to state data collected on the Las Vegas Review-Journal website.

The Nevada Hospital Association said this surge could signal “either the beginning of a fall resurgence, or the profound apathy of the general public, coupled with poor masking and social-distancing etiquette.”

Nevada has reported 112,621 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,863 deaths.