Nevada Man Tests COVID-Positive for Second Time, 530 Silver State Visitors Catch Virus

Posted on: August 29, 2020, 12:19h. 

Last updated on: August 31, 2020, 01:41h.

A Nevada man is thought to be the first American to test positive again for COVID-19 after believing he had already fully recovered from the respiratory disease.

Nevada coronavirus COVID-19 casino
A Nevada man was hospitalized in early June after testing positive for the coronavirus a second time. Pictured here is a man in intensive care at the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas. (Image: Go Nakamura/Getty)

The unnamed man is a 25-year-old Reno resident. He first tested positive on April 18. At that time, he had numerous symptoms, including a sore throat, headache, nausea, and diarrhea. His symptoms resolved on their own, and two tests in May confirmed he no longer had the coronavirus.

On May 31, the same man reported having a fever, headache, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and cough. He was hospitalized five days later after his symptoms quickly became more severe. He tested positive for having antibodies against the disease.

It is just one finding, but it shows that a person can possibly become infected a second time,” explained Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory.

“If reinfection is possible on such a short timeline, there may be implications for the efficacy of vaccines developed to fight the disease. It may also have implications for herd immunity,” he continued.

The record of the individual twice testing positive for COVID-19 was revealed in a study from the Nevada IDEA Network of Biomedical Research, which was made possible with grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Are Casinos Superspreaders?

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) disclosed this week that since June and through August 15, a total of 530 visitors have ventured into the Silver State and then tested positive for the coronavirus. Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) allowed casinos to begin reopening on June 4.

The vast majority of the COVID-19 patients tested positive in Nevada during their trips. But only 347 of the infected patients have been identified to perform contact tracing.

As casinos began reopening, visitor numbers quickly began increasing. Only 151,300 visitors made their way to Las Vegas in May. That number increased to a little more than one million in June, and over 1.43 million people arrived last month.

Some have alleged that casinos might be ideal spreading grounds for the coronavirus. The indoor, high-touch gaming floors remain under numerous health safety measures. But it’s been well-documented that not everyone is adhering to the restrictions.

Like so many other governors, Sisolak is in a precarious position, but leading a state that relies on tourism more than any other only heightens the necessity to keep casinos and resorts open. “Gambling with lives,” Michelle Follette Turk, an occupational health historian at UNLV, nonetheless declared.

Latest Numbers

As of Friday, Nevada had 67,852 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,287 deaths. There are 565 people hospitalized with the virus, with 197 in intensive care units.

The healthcare system is hypothesizing and preparing for COVID-19 to be circulating for months to come, including during the upcoming flu season,” said Nevada COVID-19 Response Director Caleb Cage.

He added that those plans were versus the emergency and crisis response phase that hospitals found themselves in just a few months ago.

The health department says contact tracing is working to identify other infected individuals. The agency says 12,804 positive tests were identified due to contact tracing.

Nevada launched its opt-in contact tracing app last week.