State, DHHS release criteria, county bar closure list to help slow COVID-19 spread

Nevada State Capitol - photo: Brian Bahouth/the Ally

Yesterday evening, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced bars, pubs, taverns, distilleries, breweries, and wineries that don’t serve food in certain Nevada counties must close effective 11:59 p.m. today to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the State. Today, the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced the elevated disease transmission criteria for determining whether a county must revert back to Phase 1 for bars, in addition to the seven counties that meet that criteria. 

Counties that meet two of the three criteria are considered an Elevated Disease Transmission” county, and will be subject to the restrictions as laid out by Gov. Sisolak last night, and included in Emergency Directive 27 (see Scribd document below).

The criteria measures:

  • Average Number of Tests per Day: this is the average number of cases resulted during the previous week in a county, divided by the number of people living in the county. This number is then multiplied by 100,000 to control for varying populations in counties. Counties that average fewer than 150 tests per day will meet this elevated disease transmission risk criteria
  • Case Rate: this is the total number of cases diagnosed as positive and reported over a two-week period divided by the number of people living in the county. This number is then multiplied by 100,000 to control for varying populations in counties. Counties with a case rate higher than 100 will meet this elevated disease transmission risk criteria
  • Test Positivity: this is the total number of cases diagnosed as positive averaged over a 7-day period, with a 7-day lag, divided by the number of people living in the county. Counties that have a case rate higher than 25 and a test positivity rate higher than 7 percent will meet this elevated disease transmission risk criteria

Counties that currently meet at least two of the measures include:

  • Clark County (Criteria two and three)
  • Elko County (Criteria two and three)
  • Humboldt County (Criteria one and three)
  • Lander County (Criteria two and three)
  • Lyon (Criteria one and three)

  • Nye County (Criteria onetwo, and three)

  • Washoe County (Criteria two and three)

Counties will be reevaluated no earlier than two weeks and must show positive trends out of two of the three risk criteria to be allowed to reopen. In addition to reducing their elevated disease transmission risk, counties must also submit a reopening plan that includes mitigation initiatives and compliance plans to the Department of Health and Human Services for approval to reopen. The first seven counties will be reevaluated on Friday, July 24

Additional counties who are deemed an Elevated Transmission Risk County may be added to this list based on the criteria at any time, and will be reevaluated on their own two week schedule. 

Due to the ever-evolving nature of this virus and rapidly developing information related to spread and containment, the State will continue to monitor a wide range of data, including hospital capacity, and, based on new information and best practices, may change the criteria based in the best interest of public health. 

The Governor’s emergency directives authorize local governments to take actions which exceed those laid out by the State. Additional counties not listed as an Elevated Transmission Risk County may choose to implement stricter provisions on business or social activity, including on bars, pubs, taverns, distilleries, breweries, and wineries. The Governor urges all local governments to closely monitor thcriteria and other data trends and to use their authority to impose stricter measures in any area they deem necessary to protect the health and safety of their residents.