With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Clark County, the Southern Nevada Health District and local officials are reminding residents to take precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to get vaccinated.
While vaccination rates among seniors and people age 50 and older in Clark County range from 69 percent to almost 90 percent, vaccinations among younger people need to increase to protect their health and the safety of others, officials said. As of June 29, only about 45 percent of people age 20 to 29 have initiated vaccination, and just over 52 percent of people age 30-39 have received one dose of the vaccine. Free COVID-19 vaccines continue to be widely available in the community at local pharmacies and community vaccination clinics. A list of community sites with links for scheduling appointments is available on the Health District’s website at www.snhd.info/covid-vaccine. The public also can call the state’s vaccine hotline at 1-800-401-0946, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, to schedule appointments or ask questions. Additional COVID-19 clinic information can be found online at www.NVCOVIDFighter.org. For information call (855) 635-0235 or email Homebound@SNHD.org.
“We are seeing an increase in the COVID-19 cases in Clark County and we need to remind the public that now is not the time to let your guard down,” said Clark County Commission Chairman Marilyn Kirkpatrick, vice-chair of the Health District’s Board of Health. “The key to putting the pandemic behind us is for everyone age 12 and up who is eligible to get vaccinated to do so as soon as possible to protect the health and safety of our community and to keep our economy open for business.”
The Health District continues to sequence samples of COVID-19 positive test results to identify variants circulating in the community. To date, the Alpha B.1.1.7 (UK) variant is the dominant variant with 658 cases; the Delta B.1.617 variant has been identified in 146 cases. The total number of COVID-19 cases identified with variants of concern is 914. The Delta variant of COVID-19 now accounts for about 16 percent of positive coronavirus cases in Clark County and is of particular concern to health officials here and across the nation and around the world because it’s more dangerous and transmissible among unvaccinated individuals than other forms of the virus. Nationally, nearly all patients who die from COVID-19 – 98 to 99 percent according to some estimates – are unvaccinated. Vaccines approved for use in the United States, including the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and Johnson and Johnson’s single-dose Janssen vaccine, are proven to be effective against current forms of the virus.
“These recent trends in our case counts and COVID-19 positivity rates are concerning, but we now have the tools to protect ourselves and each other,” said Dr. Fermin Leguen, District Health Officer for the Southern Nevada Health District. “Getting vaccinated is the best way to keep yourself and others safe and healthy. Young people who may think they are not as vulnerable to the virus need to understand there can be long-term effects from the illness, and they can also spread COVID-19 to people at higher risk for complications.”
COVID-19 vaccination continues to be recommended for people who have had the virus and assume they have some degree of immunity. A new TV public service announcement created by Clark County features a UNLV student, 19-year-old Mohammad Khalaf, and UMC infectious disease physician Dr. Luis Medina Garcia to encourage people who are young and healthy to get vaccinated even if they’ve already had the virus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaEg981d0CE.
“The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and offer the best protection against the virus and variants currently circulating in our community,” said North Las Vegas City Councilman Scott Black, and Chair of the Southern Nevada District Board of Health. “If people are delaying vaccination because they have questions, I would encourage them to speak with their health care providers about any concerns they have.”
Officials encourage people who may have concerns about getting vaccinated to talk to their doctors or medical professionals and to seek out trusted sources of information including the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov. Common myths are addressed by the CDC about COVID-19 vaccines at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html
Health officials also remind the public that attending Fourth of July celebrations and other gatherings without being vaccinated increases the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. Recommendations include:
- If you are unvaccinated, continue wearing masks in public places and in gatherings with unvaccinated friends and family members, and maintain a safe social distance both indoors and outdoors until you are fully vaccinated.
- Masks must still be worn by everyone, vaccinated or not, in hospitals and healthcare facilities, and on planes, buses, trains and going to and from public transportations hubs such as airports and stations. Private businesses and organizations also may require patrons and employees to wear face coverings while the pandemic continues to be a public health concern.
- Wash your hands frequently, especially after you have been in a public place, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing and before eating.
- Additional guidance for unvaccinated people to celebrate holidays and special events is available on the CDC’s website at: Guidance for unvaccinated people is available on the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/winter.html.
Clark County is a dynamic and innovative organization dedicated to providing top-quality service with integrity, respect and accountability. With jurisdiction over the world-famous Las Vegas Strip and covering an area the size of New Jersey, Clark is the nation’s 11th-largest county and provides extensive regional services to 2.4 million citizens and 45.6 million visitors a year (2019). Included are the nation’s 7th-busiest airport, air quality compliance, social services and the state’s largest public hospital, University Medical Center. The County also provides municipal services that are traditionally provided by cities to 1.1 million residents in the unincorporated area. Those include fire protection, roads and other public works, parks and recreation, and planning and development.