Nevada on Saturday reported a record nearly 3,200 additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and a record number of related hospitalizations.
The state reported 3,194 additional known cases and 29 additional deaths, increasing the state’s totals to 165,628 cases and 2,301 deaths. A record 1,729 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 as of Friday.
Saturday was only the second time that Nevada reported more than 3,000 additional cases on a single day. The state reported 3,159 on Nov. 25.
Gov. Steve Sisolak noted the record high number of additional cases and the state’s high COVID-19 positivity rate and urged Nevadans to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and avoid crowds.
The outbreak is straining hospitals, Sisolak said on Twitter. “We are in the middle of our three-week statewide pause, and we cannot let our guard down against this virus now,” he said.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher than reported because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.
In other developments:
— The number of Nevada state prison inmates who have been infected with the coronavirus has grown to over 1,100, with outbreaks reported at several facilities, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
The Department of Health and Human Services said 1,103 Department of Corrections inmates had tested positive as of Friday, up from 646 on Nov. 20.
Bill Quenga, Department of Corrections acting spokesman, said Friday that prisoner case counts are rapidly changing, especially now that Nevada has entered into a $10 million contract with Quest Diagnostics for testing in prisons and other state facilities through December.
State labs had been processing prison tests, with delays up to two weeks, Quenga said.
Prison facilities where large outbreaks have been reported include the Warm Springs Correctional Center and the Humboldt Conservation Camp.
— An extension authorized by President Donald Trump for states across the country means hundreds of Nevada National Guard personnel will continue to help the fight against COVID-19 through the beginning of 2021, Sisolak said.
The federal government will provide 75% of the funding for the extension that runs through March 31 and that the state will provide the rest, Sisolak said.
Nevada National Guard soldiers and airmen are distributing supplies, conducting contact tracing, helping operate the state emergency operations center and staffing COVID-19 testing sites.
Sisolak called their work “an indispensable role” in the state’s response to COVID-19.
The activation in early April for COVID-19 response has been the Nevada National Guard’s largest and lengthiest in the state’s history, Sisolak said.