(Michael McGrady) — Nevada’s COVID-19 Mitigation & Management Task Force is adopting amendments to its testing policy and the criteria that determine the risk of high disease transmission in state areas.
The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended that the task force adjust the necessary thresholds that are used to identify the state of counties and their local risk of possible elevated rates for COVID-19 transmission.
State health officials said in a statement that the change “will help shift the State to a more sustainable new normal at this time.”
Last month, the task force approved variances to reopen bars in Clark and Elko counties.
Under the modified criteria, counties will now have to meet the same three criteria that consider the average number of tests per day, case rates of COVID-19, and the case rate paired with a positivity rate from tests conducted.
Counties need to now only reach 100 tests per day, per 100,000 residents. The task force also agreed to a policy change that would elevate the test positivity rate from 7% to 8% before the county is flagged for being at an elevated risk.
All counties, according to a statement, are still required to maintain the baseline mitigation measures set in place by Gov. Steve Sisolak’s pandemic directives. This includes physical distancing, wearing face masks and other PPE, limits on gatherings, and businesses’ capacity.
“Earlier in the pandemic, we had a lot of surge testing events, which realistically long term, when we get years into the pandemic, are not going to be sustainable,” Chief State Biostatistician Kyra Morgan said. according to The Nevada Independent. “We’re going to have to reach a baseline of normalcy in our testing volume.”