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Nevada Guard wraps up COVID-19 mission as state hits 10K deaths

COVID-19 vaccinations
AP Photo/John Locher, File
FILE - People wait in line for COVID-19 vaccinations at an event at La Bonita market, a Hispanic grocery store on July 7, 2021, in Las Vegas. Nevada has crossed a coronavirus pandemic threshold, surpassing 10,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the first case in the state was announced two years ago.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada’s National Guard is wrapping up its largest, longest state activation in response to a domestic emergency as Nevada surpassed 10,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the state’s first case was confirmed two years ago.

The Nevada National Guard will close its mission in support of the state’s coronavirus response on April 1, exactly two years after it began, 1st Lt. Emerson Marcus said Thursday.

More than 1,400 Nevada Guardsmen and women contributed to the effort, with a peak of 1,139 members on orders to assist in April 2020. The state activation lasted more than 700 days, the longest for any activation for any reason in state history, Marcus said.

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State health officials this week reported 82 more deaths since last week, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, bringing the overall total to 10,031.

The state Department of Health and Human Services began this month to report COVID-19 data weekly, instead of daily. It said it no longer reports test positivity because the rate is increasingly skewed by widespread use of home-testing that goes unreported.

The Nevada Hospital Association reported Wednesday that hospitalizations continue to decline, but “staffing remains a significant concern, contributing to hospitals’ continued difficulty transferring patients out to lower, more appropriate levels of care.”

Clark County, including Las Vegas, reported 622 new cases and 46 deaths this week, bringing totals posted by the Southern Nevada Health District to more than 495,000 cases and 7,739 deaths. Nevada’s first death was reported March 16, 2020.

The Southern Nevada Health District launched a program this week with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Desert Research Institute and Southern Nevada Water Authority to report weekly findings of wastewater testing for the virus that causes COVID-19.

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The sewer sampling program takes a broad look at community spread of the virus in a bid to provide “early awareness of increases in cases and potential outbreaks,” the health district said. It does not provide numbers relating to people who are currently infected.