According to the Nevada Health Response COVID-19 dashboard updated on February 7, there have been 913 cases of the virus and 15 deaths in Mineral County. The good news is that the rate of covid transmission and hospitalization is expected to go down as more people get tested (and isolate if their results come back positive) and vaccinated. Churchill County has been working with Mineral County since the beginning of 2022 to offer more testing and vaccination events to meet the demand and keep people working.

At the February 2 Mineral County Board of Health meeting, Shannon Ernst from Churchill County reported one new death in the area due to covid since it gave its last update to the Commissioners on January 19. However, she also said that she is hopeful that the number of new cases will start trending downward soon.

“The uptick [in new cases] has been slow. People have gotten their boosters now and it’s starting to trend down,” Ernst said. She said that they have administered 1,035 booster shots since they’ve stepped in to help with the COVID-19 mitigation process and 2,295/51.69 percent of residents are vaccinated, which Ernst said is unique compared to other rural Nevada counties.

“You guys are having a good response compared to other counties; there’s a significant uptick in vaccinated residents,” she said.

However, as of February 2 there was still a 46.7 percent test positivity rate in Mineral County which is still fairly high, likely due to the highly contagious Omicron variant. Ernst said that the Omicron variant was not circulating as quickly in January as it was last fall, but the 5-day lag in receiving the test results poses an issue since many people are feeling better and out of isolation by the time they get their letter stating whether they tested positive or not.

Mineral County Commissioner Cassie Hall said that it took the full five days for her to get her test results back, and Ernst acknowledged that there are challenges with shipping tests out of Mineral County and that they are looking into correcting that lag. There is also a shortage of rapid tests available, therefore only emergency responders, county employees, and prison inmates are getting them if it’s imperative for them to do their jobs.

The February 2 Board of Health discussion then continued about the validity of at-home covid tests (Ernst recommended that the best thing to do is to go to a testing site) and reiterated that fully vaccinated people who test positive for covid do not have to quarantine for five days. She also shared that her and local public health officials had a meeting in late January to talk about the legislation and the possibility of changing county codes to help form the new central Nevada health district.

Currently in conjunction with Churchill County, Mineral County will be offering PCR covid tests MondaysThursdays throughout the month of February (except on February 21, President’s Day). No appointments are necessary for Monday and Thursday testing events; public health staff will be on hand to administer covid tests from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the parking lot next to the fire department.

If you are interested in attending a testing event and want to pre-register, access the QR code on the Mineral County Emergency Management’s Facebook page or call (775) 699-4119 to schedule a testing appointment.