evada tourism promotions chief Brenda Scolari said Monday in a media call with state COVID-19 response leaders that casinos are “open within the limits of the capacity determined by the governor,” but for instance, in Las Vegas, the New Year’s fireworks that typically draw 300,000 people to the resort-lined Strip have been canceled.
The announcement came as Nevada passed the 200,000 mark in known COVID-19 infections and tallied 73 new deaths during the weekend, the Press of Atlantic City reports.
Gov. Steve Sisolak in November tightened occupancy limits for restaurants, bars, casino floors and gyms, and set capacity at 25% for many businesses in a bid to stop a surge of coronavirus cases that are driving up hospitalizations.
"We are very much promoting that properties in Las Vegas are acting with safety of visitors in mind and have every measure in place that’s necessary to make New Year’s Eve safe and memorable," Scolari said.
But a handful of Las Vegas Strip resorts have announced midweek closures because of a lack of demand. The Mirage said that starting in January, it will only be open from noon on Thursdays through noon on Mondays. While some casino-resorts have only announced weekday closures for hotel reservations, the Mirage plans weekday closures of all of its operations, including its casino floor, restaurants and volcano show out front that erupts four times a night.
Nevada welcoming visitors contrasts with neighboring California, where hospitals are scrambling to find beds and officials are drawing up plans for possibly limiting hospital admissions. In Arizona, officials say only 8% of hospital beds and intensive-care beds are available and not in use.
Nevada's governor took to Twitter on Monday to share photos of the state's first shipment of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as it arrived in Carson City.
Nevada’s first shipment of the Moderna #COVID19 vaccine arrived today. Thanks to @CCHealthEd for sharing these photos!— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) December 21, 2020
While we wait for a widespread vaccine distribution, please continue to wear your mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing & stay home when you can. pic.twitter.com/ohKo9krkFc
“While we wait for a widespread vaccine distribution, please continue to wear your mask, wash your hands, practice social distancing & stay home when you can,” Sisolak tweeted.
Julia Peek, deputy state health administrator, said the arrival of 8,000 doses of vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. and the National Institutes of Health followed 10,000 doses of Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech vaccine received last week for front-line health care workers and nursing home residents.
The state Department of Health and Human Services on Monday reported 2,049 new cases of the coronavirus in Nevada and six more fatalities, raising Nevada’s totals to 205,884 known cases and 2,787 deaths since March.
Authorities think the number of overall infections may be higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.
Sixteen of Nevada’s 17 counties are flagged for what state COVID-19 response chief Caleb Cage called “elevated disease transmission.” Only Storey County isn't on that list.
Nevada’s two-week rate of positive tests fell below 20% over the weekend after peaking at 21.8% on Dec. 8, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. The figure was at 19.7% on Monday — still nearly four times above the 5% that the World Health Organization advises states to reach before parts of the economy should reopen.
“Unfortunately, the modest reduction we are seeing now is not expected to continue,” Cage told reporters, “as Christmas, New Years and other holidays ... may lead to expected surges.”