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Nevada Battles COVID Resurgence

John Locher/Associated Press

Las Vegans wait their turns earlier this month at a pop-up vaccination clinic outside a La Bonita grocery store.

The resurgence of COVID-19 in Nevada has led to more deaths, renewed requests for masks, and warnings for others to stay away.

The number of cases has steadily increased since late May, with Nevada’s test positivity rate hitting at 12 percent on Monday, up from 11.3 percent on Friday. In Southern Nevada, the Clark County rate was 13.5 percent.

The state has averaged three deaths a day over the last two weeks, while the average number of new cases reached 635, well above the 30-day average of 466. This comes as Nevada’s vaccination rate sits at 43 percent, which puts it in the bottom third among all states.

"We're almost looking at it as a pandemic among the unvaccinated people," said Sarah Lugo, senior community health nurse for the Southern Nevada Health District.

Health officials in Los Angeles County warned residents there against traveling to Nevada, citing the “concerning” number of new cases.

Lugo told State of Nevada that visitors could still safely come to Las Vegas if they take precautions.

“Come. We want to see everybody here. It's nice to see smiling faces,” she said. “Las Vegas is doing a great job here on the Strip on making sure you're wearing your mask if you're not vaccinated and trying to do their social distancing and following the mandates.”

Amid this, the Southern Nevada Health District requested Friday that vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks when out in public indoor spaces. Almost all of the state’s recent cases and deaths have been in the Las Vegas area.

Lugo stressed that people have a powerful tool at their disposal to fight the pandemic: "The number one thing, and we keep pushing it, is to get vaccinated."

Sarah Lugo, senior community health nurse, Southern Nevada Health District 

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Dave Berns, now a producer for State of Nevada, recently returned to KNPR after having previously worked for the station from 2005 to 2009.