Nevada Governor Sisolak Tests Positive for COVID-19 Days After Handing Down Casino Warnings

Posted on: November 13, 2020, 07:14h. 

Last updated on: November 14, 2020, 06:11h.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak tested positive for coronavirus Friday, as he considers stricter restrictions on gaming properties to curb the record surge in cases.

Sisolak warned casinos this week they will be monitored for compliance with guidelines to curb the risk of COVID-19 spread
A mask-wearing Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak speaks during a news conference last month on coronavirus. On Friday, he announced he tested positive for COVID-19. (Image: K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

The 66-year-old Democrat says he has no symptoms, though he acknowledges he is a “little tired,” the Nevada Independent quoted Sisolak. He plans to remain at the governor’s mansion in Carson City for 10 days.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) generally recommends 14 days of isolation for someone exposed to the virus. But Carson City Health and Human Services officials told him he only needs to quarantine for the 10-day period, the Independent said.

This week, Sisolak worked at his State Capitol office, took part in a ribbon-cutting at the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Reno, and held a press conference on his more restrictive COVID-19 policy on Tuesday.

During that press conference, he urged residents to remain at home. Called “Stay at Home 2.0,” he warned that if that approach does not curb the spread by the end of November, he may order tougher rules.

It is unclear what else he is considering. For now, Sisolak said visitors should still consider going to the state’s casinos, resorts, and other attractions. But they need to wear masks, he said.

On Tuesday, the governor also warned casinos they face increased scrutiny to ensure they maintain appropriate social distancing and follow related safety rules. Additional fines are possible for venues which violate the regulations.

Nevada Coronavirus Record for Cases in Single Day

Sisolak is far from alone in testing positive for the virus. In total, as of Friday, Nevada has seen 116,737 COVID-19 cases and 1,893 deaths.

There were 1,857 new cases reported in Nevada on Friday. That number sets a record in the state for new coronavirus cases reported in a single day, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Also, Nevada saw 13 more patients die from the virus on Friday.

Cases are increasing at a rate of 1.3 percent, or 1,402 new cases, per day, Sisolak added in a Friday Facebook post.

The rapid test he took on Friday was one in a series he has been given for coronavirus. He said prior tests on Nov. 2 and 6 were negative.

On Friday night, he was also awaiting the results from a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test via a nasal swab. The results of that test will be used to confirm the rapid test.

“All public events have been canceled at this time,” the governor’s Facebook post added about his schedule. “I remain in constant contact with my staff and my Cabinet and the work of the Governor’s Office will continue remotely.”

Trump, Other Officials Had COVID-19

Various US political leaders have come down with the virus in recent months. Most prominent was President Donald Trump, who was treated a few days in a hospital last month before returning to the White House, where he self-quarantined.

In July, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt was the first governor to test positive for coronavirus. Since then, others with the virus include Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson.

In early October, Caleb Cage, Nevada’s COVID-19 response director, also tested positive for the virus, the Independent said. Earlier this year, he was the governor’s representative as the Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB) came up with policies to reopen the state’s casinos.

Based on those policies, Nevada’s casinos were reopened after being shuttered for almost three months. Many gaming properties reopened in early June.

A new chair and executive director of the GCB, J. Brin Gibson, was appointed this week by Sisolak. He will not start on the job until Tuesday.

Already, some 12,000 site visits were undertaken by GCB agents in recent months to ensure regulatory compliance.

It was also reported Friday that a second employee who works in the governor’s office tested positive for the virus in early November. That employee was not identified.

“I think this just puts the spotlight on the fact that you can take all the precautions that are possible and you can still contract the virus, and I don’t know how I got it, but we’re going to quarantine and get through it,” Sisolak told reporters via a phone conference on Friday.