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Multiple U.S. jurisdictions are advising residents to avoid traveling to Las Vegas as the highly transmissible Delta COVID-19 variant fuels rising case counts in Nevada. As of July 23, cases across the state had risen 23 percent over the previous week, while hospital admissions rose by seven percent.
8 News Now reported that Clark County (home to the city of Las Vegas) has specifically been added to the White House’s list of “areas of concern” and is considered a “sustained hot spot” for COVID-19 transmission, with Nevada being labeled a “high transmission state”.
Based on data from the New York Times’ tracker, TPG reported that Clark County’s seven-day average number of new cases per day had risen 74 percent from the average two weeks prior, as of July 23. The 14-day average of test positivity rates has increased by 15 percent over the past 14 days, while the weekly average of hospitalizations went up 102 percent.
Last week, Hawaii’s Kauai County warned its residents not to visit Sin City, with Mayor Derek Kawakami calling Las Vegas the “biggest hot spot” source for COVID-19’s importation to the island over the past several weeks. Kauai District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman likewise said that a recent spike in positive cases had been traced to people who’d traveled to Las Vegas.
“This destination poses significant risks. The popular activities are largely indoors and can be crowded. Visitors stay indoors for prolonged periods, mingling with others from all over the country. Masks are not required,” Hawaii’s State Department of Health Kauai District Health Office wrote in a July 19 statement. “The result is a set-up for the spread of COVID-19. If you plan a trip, please be vaccinated before you go.”
Some mainland jurisdictions are also specifically cautioning their residents against vacationing in Vegas. Northern California’s Contra Costa County officials warned Bay Area residents that going to Las Vegas right now is very risky, especially if they’re unvaccinated. County Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said, “It’s really important to remember that, as far as COVID goes, what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.”
During a mid-July to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors briefing, L.A. Health Official Dr. Muntu Davis emphasized his recommendation that travelers reconsider visiting Nevada and other areas where the seven-day average of COVID-19 case rates are spiking, especially those who are unvaccinated.
Last week, the Chicago Department of Public Health also added Nevada, among other states, to its renewed travel advisory after several weeks where there had been no states that surpassed the threshold of 15 new cases per 100,000 residents per day.
Amid the worsening COVID-19 conditions, Clark County commissioners have mandated that all of Las Vegas’ indoor workers must mask up again, but stopped short of requiring Sin City tourists to wear masks.