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SNHD: Omicron subvariant likely responsible for COVID-19 wave in Nevada

Virus Ourtbreak Nevada
AP Photo/John Locher

A person self administers a COVID-19 test at a drive-thru testing site Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022, in Las Vegas.

The latest wave of COVID-19 infections has hit Southern Nevada, triggered by a new omicron subvariant, waning immunity and riskier behavior, according to the Southern Nevada Health District.

Like much of the country, Southern Nevada over the past month has seen growing numbers of new reported coronavirus cases. 

As of May 9, the seven-day moving average in Clark County was 223 cases, according to district data. For the most recent report, click here.

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Cassius Lockett, the district’s director of disease surveillance and control, said reported cases represent an undercount of infections, since many people now are testing for the virus using at-home rapid test and their results are unreported.

The new omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1, believed to be better at evading immunity from natural infection and vaccination, is on the rise in Clark County.

With immunity waning over time, people letting down their guard and not distancing, the subvariant is spreading fast.

CDC data also put the county’s test positivity rate at 15.42%, according to data last updated on Saturday. 

The figure is enough to push Clark County into the “high rate of transmission,” according to the CDC.

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Before Gov. Steve Sisolak rescinded Nevada’s mask mandate in February, masks were required in counties with higher rates of transmission. If that criteria were applied today, Clark County would once again be under a mask mandate.

Yvette Fernandez is the regional reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She joined Nevada Public Radio in September 2021.