Las Vegas Strip Resorts Rank High as Possible COVID-19 Exposure Sites: Report

Posted on: September 21, 2020, 01:02h. 

Last updated on: September 21, 2020, 02:22h.

Hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip lead the area as possible points of COVID-19 exposure, according to a published report.

Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
The Cosmopolitan hotel-casino is among resorts on the Las Vegas Strip ranked high in the region as a coronavirus “possible exposure site,” according to a report. (Image: Las Vegas Review-Journal)

The resort with the highest number of possible exposures in Clark County from June through August was the Cosmopolitan hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The property had 304 possible exposures.

The COVID-19 contact tracing figures were provided by the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD), according to the newspaper’s website.

The next highest “possible exposure sites” were the Bellagio (153), MGM Grand (133), Venetian (89), and Caesars Palace (86), according to the newspaper’s analysis. The Clark County Detention Center was the only location other than a hotel-casino in the top six. It reported 93 possible exposures.

These resorts were among the first to reopen after Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) allowed casinos to begin operating again in early June following a mid-March COVID-19 lockdown.

Health officials cautioned that people who ended up with COVID-19 were not necessarily infected at the place where they possibly were exposed to the coronavirus.

As of Sunday, 64,160 people in Clark County were infected with COVID-19, according to the SNHD website. Since the first reported case on March 5 in Clark County, 1,329 people have died from COVID-19 complications.

Meanwhile, 424 employees at the Venetian and Palazzo hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. Both resorts are owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp.

At nearby Wynn Las Vegas, 548 employees have tested positive, and three have died, according to published accounts.

Julia Peek, deputy administrator of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, said 26 percent of the people in Clark County involved in contact tracing investigations in the past month reported visiting a hotel, motel, or resort, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

This doesn’t mean a particular business is where the infection occurred, health experts said.

“It just means that that person happened to name it during the case investigation and more information needs to be obtained through that investigation process,” Peek told the newspaper.

Casinos Reopen

With coronavirus infection rates spiking in March, the governor ordered most businesses, including casinos, to close. In late May, Sisolak began a phased reopening that allowed some businesses to reopen. The governor permitted casinos to begin operating again on June 4.

Most resorts in Clark County have reopened with mandatory safety precautions in place. Two Las Vegas Strip hotel-casinos have yet to reopen, Caesars Entertainment’s Cromwell and Planet Hollywood, have not announced a restart date.

The Park MGM is slated to begin operating again at the end of the month as the first smoke-free resort on the Las Vegas Strip.

Bars Back in Business

In July, Sisolak ordered bars and taverns to close again. He said the virus can spread in places such as bars, where people congregate “for long periods of time.” This included bars in casinos.

Bars and taverns that serve food were allowed to remain open with safety measures in place. The bar tops in these places had to remain closed. Patrons could gamble at standalone video machines on the restaurant floor, but not at the machines embedded in bar tops. Bars that do not serve food could not open.

The state COVID-19 Task Force last week voted to allow bars and taverns to reopen in Clark County at one minute before midnight last Sunday.