People were all smiles this past weekend after Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak announced that the mask mandate is ending, effective at once. In a February 10 press conference, Sisolak stated that masks are no longer needed in public places unless the business requests it. However, face masks are still needed in airports, on planes, when riding public transportation as well as in clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and other places that serve vulnerable populations.

“The mask mandate for public places has been rescinded for the entire state. There are places that may still require the use of masks (i.e., hospitals, nursing homes, etc.); please work with these businesses and locations,” the Mineral County Emergency Management department reiterated on its Facebook page.

“With that said, I believe this is a step in the right direction, however, please continue to be patient with, and respectful of, each other. If you feel the need to wear a mask, do so. If you feel you do not need to wear a mask, then don’t. But please respect each other and any businesses that may be required to continue to impose the use of masks,” the statement continued.

Following the release of Nevada’s mask policy change, the Mineral County School District sent its staff additional information regarding how the Emergency Directive 052 Guidance affects school settings. According to the governor’s statement, school districts may adopt a facemask policy that falls in line with requirements set by a county government or local health authority. If an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs in a school setting, then facemasks and other virus mitigation measures may be put into effect at the direction of the local health authority. On February 10, MCSD Superintendent Andre’ L. Ponder told District staff, “MCSD will work with our local health agencies to update our policies, procedures and plans”.

As of February 10, there have been 929 cases of COVID-19 in Washoe County and 15 deaths associated with the virus. More than 52 percent of people ages five and older are fully vaccinated in the county; 73 percent of residents are vaccinated statewide.

The number of new covid cases and deaths have dropped dramatically in the last few weeks; according to the Nevada Health Response’s covid tracking dashboard, there were 5,780 new cases on January 16 which dropped down to 1,073 cases on February 10 in the entire State of Nevada. In Mineral County alone, there were seven new cases on January 16 compared three new cases on February 10.

More than 919,696 people have died nationwide due to complications with the virus and the worst covid outbreaks in the State of Nevada were in Churchill, White Pine, and Humboldt counties.

Free COVID-19 testing resumed this week at El Capitan. Through this Friday, February 18, people are welcome to walk into the testing area found near the entrance facing the Travelodge and get a PCR test, no appointment necessary. Even though the State mask mandate has been lifted, face masks are still needed while in the testing area.

“Just like vaccines, masks are still a great tool we have to slow the spread of the virus. I expect going forward to still see Nevadans and visitors occasionally utilizing masks when they are out in public,” said Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak in the February 10 press conference.