COVID-19 Updates: Third potential Washoe County case reported

Published: Mar. 6, 2020 at 3:35 PM PST
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Washoe County announced on Friday a third person has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. The test still has to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The latest is a woman in her 20s who traveled recently to Germany and France. She is stable and is self-isolating at home, the Washoe County Health District said.

The health district is working to identify close contacts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The district said it expects the first two cases will be confirmed by the CDC.


The Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District will be closed for the next three weeks following action Friday by Placer county Public Health Department.

Instruction will resume and distance learning will begin for all students on Thursday, March 19, 2020, remotely. Instructional materials will be provided through arranged pickups at the school or at a central location. The child’s teacher or school staff will contact parents via email and/or phone with more information on this process.

“Decisions like this are difficult to make, but we are taking this action based on what is known at this time about the transmission and severity of the illness to best protect our school communities,” said Placer County Superintendent of Schools Gayle Garbolino-Mojica. “The most effective way to slow the transmission of this virus is to implement social distancing practices. We won’t take chances when it comes to the health and safety of our students.”

While children are less at risk than other demographic groups, they have shown the ability to transmit COVID-19, the health department said.


The Washoe County Health District reported no new cases of COVID-19 during its press conference Friday, March 13, 2020.

Kevin Dick with the health district said, in Washoe County, there is one case of COVID-19 confirmed by the CDC. Another presumptive positive case is waiting for CDC confirmation.

Dick said the health district is working with Governor Sisolak's office to coordinate the return of the Northern Nevada residents who were passengers on the Grand Princess Cruise. Dick said it is expected they will return sometime Friday, March 13.

Washoe County Commission Chairman, Bob Lucey, said all non-essential Washoe County meetings will be suspended.

Lucey also stressed the importance of being mindful of the older population in the community. "Help those who cannot fight on their own," he said.

Lucey also reminded the community to take precautions against COVID-19. "Be prepared and be smart. Be clean and be vigilant," he said.

Despite Governor Sisolak declaring a state of emergency Thursday night, and President Trump declaring a national emergency Friday, Lucey said Washoe County is


declaring one at this time.

As for COVID-19 test kits, Dick said there is a sufficient supply for the next several weeks. He also said the state lab has established a resupply system.

When asked if someone with no known travel to areas affected by coronavirus, and no known contact with a cornavirus patient, can be tested, Dick said they


be tested, and urged them to call the health district at (775) 328-2427 where they will be ranked in terms of risk priority.

Dick said the health district is working closely with the Washoe County School District to discuss appropriate action moving forward, but said they are not providing any direction on closing schools at this time.

Dick said he expects more COVID-19 cases to occur in Washoe County and urged the community to, "pull together for a significant amount of time to knock this thing down."


Two Churchill County School District staff members are in doctor-directed quarantines, but have not tested posted for COVID-19, the school district said Thursday in a statement.

There are no known cases of COVID-19 in Churchill County, the school district said.

Parent-teacher conferences next week will be conducted over the telephone and not in person, the school district said.

There could be changes to after-school and co-curricular activities like games, practices and events, the school district said.

Students with a fever of more than 100 degrees or a persistent cough or with sore throats will be sent home until the symptoms go away.


Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak held a press conference in Las Vegas Thursday to announce he has declared a state of emergency in Nevada to deal with a potential COVID-19 outbreak.

The declaration gives the state more flexibility in preparing for and responding to any coronavirus outbreak, Sisolak said.

Sisolak said he is considering banning mass gatherings, as other states have done.

The state also set up a statewide hub to disseminate COVID-19 information.

MARCH 12, 5:50 P.M. UPDATE:

The University of Nevada, Reno is moving its classes online effective Monday, March 23, as a reaction to COVID-19.

The campus is not being closed. But after students return from spring break next week, they will study online.

Faculty, staff, and students can use Zoom Pro, an enterprise video conferencing platform with real-time messaging and content sharing.

Students currently living in residence halls who do not have the option to remain home following spring break should call University Residential Life and Housing immediately at 775-784-1113.

Students who work on campus should contact their employers.

All public or special events with planned attendance of more than 150 people are canceled effective March 13 until further notice.

Students in need of counseling can call 775-784-4648. Employees in need of counseling can contact human resources at 775-784-6082.

For any questions UNR set up a 24-hour information line at 775-682-9900.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas announced its classes are going online also.

MARCH 12, 3:35 P.M. UPDATE:

The Carson City woman who has presumptively tested positive for COVID-19 is in her 70s and is in isolation.

The woman's husband is also in isolation. The woman traveled to Carson City from San Jose on March 2.

She reported feeling better on Thursday.

The risk to the community is considered to be low.

MARCH 12, 2:50 P.M. UPDATE:

A person has tested positive for COVID-19 in the Carson City area, Carson City Health and Human Services reported Thursday. The test will be sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the coronavirus.

It is the first case in the combined Carson City, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties areas. It is being considered presumptive positive until the CDC confirms the result.

A press conference is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and will be livestreamed on the web and on Facebook.



MARCH 11, 9:30 P.M. UPDATE:

There are no plans to close Nevada college campuses at this time, Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly said Wednesday in a press release.

He asked all

“While making preparations for remote instruction, please develop contingencies for students who may not own or have access to a personal computer or other technologies,” Reilly said.

The university system will work with the state of Nevada and local authorities to develop a plan, Reilly said.

MARCH 11, 5:20 P.M. UPDATE:

Fans will not able to attend the remaining spring athletic events for the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

The Wolf Pack sent out the statement Wednesday afternoon saying only competitors and game-essential staff will attend.

“The health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans is the top priority,” the statement said. “The institutions will continue to evaluate and assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with local health officials, the Mountain West Conference and campus colleagues and continue to follow federal, state and NSHE guidelines and best practices."

The decision aligns with the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s decision to restrict fans from upcoming championship events.

On the Reno campus, all scheduled baseball and softball games as well tennis matches will have only essential staff, family members of student-athletes and coaches, and accredited media. Games will still be broadcast with scheduled radio and Mountain West Network coverage.

Related athletic events and competitions, including the Silver and Blue Spring Game and Grit Run, spring/volleyball soccer camps and games, and cheer clinics scheduled through the end of April have also been canceled.

Nevada's ticket office account representatives will be in contact with ticketholders to discuss refunds.

MARCH 11, 3:55 P.M. UPDATE:

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office has precautions in place to protect staff and inmates from COVID-19, Sheriff Darin Balaam said Wednesday.

If a flu-like case should arise, deputies and staff will work with the facility’s medical provider and the Washoe County Health District to ensure precautions are followed, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

“Our inmate screening process has always contained questions related to the identification of infectious disease,” Balaam said in the statement. “With these additional steps we hope to reduce exposure to the virus while having a plan in place should symptoms appear.”

Inmate visitation has been through video conferencing for more than 10 years so face-to-face visitation is not a problem. “Visitation would only be cancelled if there was a concern for the safety of the public or a security issue within the facility,” the statement said.

The sheriff’s office has ordered additional cleaning equipment and protective supplies.

Staff is also encouraged to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for safety by washing hands regularly and staying home if they are sick; covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then disposing of the tissue; cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in Washoe County.

At a press conference Tuesday, the Washoe County Health District said the case involves a man in his 50's who had traveled on the Grand Princess cruise ship, and who had tested presumptive positive last week. Officials said they were still waiting on results for the second presumptive positive case in Washoe County involving a 32-year-old man who had recently traveled to Santa Clara County.

Kevin Dick with the health district said the passengers returning to Nevada from the coronavirus-stricken Grand Princess cruise ship are not showing any symptoms. Dick said they will arrive at undisclosed airports in both northern and southern Nevada, although the district did not know when. They will then be transported to their homes where they will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, which is the incubation period for COVID-19. Dick said if the residents show symptoms of the virus in that 14-day period, they will be tested.

The health district said some of the passengers were from Washoe County, but would not say how many. On Monday, Carson City Health and Human Services said 15 passengers were from Carson City, Douglas and Lyon counties.

As for the incubation period, Dick said the health district will work with the affected residents when it comes to supplies, including food and prescriptions. He said there are criminal penalties if residents who are supposed to be in self-isolation, violate the agreement made with the state. Dick said they have some ideas about surveillance that might be used, to ensure affected residents are self-isolating.

Dick said the risk of transmission remains extremely low in our community.

He urged the community to stay calm, citing rumors involving COVID-19 at a local Patagonia warehouse. Dick called the rumors unfounded.

Anyone who thinks they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 is asked to call the Washoe County Health District at 775-328-2427. Health officials will then determine whether or not the symptoms warrant being tested for coronavirus.

MARCH 10, 2:15 P.M. UPDATE:

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has detailed the restrictions and rules for the passengers evacuated from the Grand Princess cruise to return to the state.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) says 21 passengers from the Grand Princess tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). There were -49 passengers from Nevada also on board the ship, but all of the Nevadans are asymptomatic.

Gov. Steve Sisolak's Office and DHHS developed a plan to allow the Nevada passengers to return to the state that would safeguard their health and the health of other Nevadans.

The conditions, which were approved by the HHS, include:

- The passengers must be asymptomatic;

- The passengers must be tested for COVID-19 prior to boarding the secure flight back to Nevada so the presumptive test results will be available for local health authorities;

- Any passenger that refuses testing will remain under the supervision of the appropriate federal agency;

- The passengers must be returned to the state in an isolated manner that limits exposure to the general public; and

- These passengers will remain under the supervision of their respective local health authority for the 14-day isolation period immediately upon their return to Nevada.

Local health authorities are arranging transportation to the passengers homes where they will serve their mandatory 14-day isolation.


Carson City Health and Human Services confirmed Monday that they are monitoring 15 people from Carson City, Douglas, and Lyon counties who were passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship.

The passengers will be monitored for 14 days as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, starting Tuesday, March 10.

The 15 passengers are among the 49 Nevada residents from the Grand Princess cruise ship which has been circling off the coast of California for several days after a California resident who was on board the ship for the previous voyage tested positive for COVID-19.

Carson health officials said the residents currently are not showing symptoms of COVID-19 and will be staying in their homes for the 14-day monitoring period.

The residents do not pose a risk to the general public, health officials said.


Organizers are cancelling Barton Health's Pink Heavenly event scheduled for March 21, 2020 over coronavirus concerns.

In a statement, Barton Health said in part:

The decision was a precautionary measure with the importance of prevention and reducing the risk of vulnerable populations’ exposure in mind. While the on-mountain event is canceled, fundraising will continue for Pink Heavenly’s cause; Cancer Support Services through Barton Health - programs dedicated to improving the lives of those fighting cancer.

Barton said hospital operations and clinical patient care remain fully operational. Heavenly Mountain is also open and operating normally.

Chris Kiser, Barton Foundation Executive Director said:

“Although this precaution was not an easy decision to make, it is the right decision to protect the health and safety of our community and our care providers. The Foundation will continue its commitment to Cancer Support Services through Barton Health and providing funding to keep these services available.”

Funds raised for Pink Heavenly 2020 will be rolled into next year’s Pink Heavenly event, happening March, 2021 at Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe, organizers said.

If you'd like to make an online donation, click



Washoe County health officials updated the community Monday, March 9, 2020 after confirming a second presumptive positive case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our area.

Kevin Dick with the Washoe County Health District said the patient is a 32-year-old man and had traveled to Santa Clara County, an area experiencing a number of COVID-19 cases. Health officials became aware of this second case late Saturday, March 7.

The district said they have identified family members who have had close contact with the patient, and those family members are in self-isolation for the 14-day incubation period. The health district said those family members have tested negative for COVID-19, but if they begin to show symptoms, they will be tested again.

The district is not releasing information in regards to the patient's place of employment, but said they are working with coworkers for any potential exposure.

Dick said there is no timeline for results of the presumptive positive cases in Washoe County, which have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation. He said results will be released as soon as they are available.

The health district said there has been no local transmission of COVID-19 in our community, and prevention starts with those close to the people who have tested positive.

“Family members that are in households with the Covid-19 cases, they are still in that 14 day quarantine period," Dick explained. "We will continue to monitor them to make sure they don’t develop symptoms or if they do that we take appropriate actions with continued isolation until they recover.”

Dick urged anyone in the community with symptoms of concern, to not go to the emergency room, but instead to contact the health district at 775-328-2427. Health officials said drive-thru testing is available for patients who are determined to be of high priority. The drive-thru testing involves collecting samples in an outdoor area to minimize the risk of exposure.

As for the rush to buy supplies, Dick cautioned the community to maintain an adequate supply of food, but to not stockpile items, such as bottled water. The health district said they don't expect any disruption to the drinking water supply.

The health district has made several funding requests to help in the response to COVID-19 including $190,000 for medical staffing and supplies. That money, if approved, would come from the state's Public Health Preparedness Program.

When asked about social gatherings, Dick advised the community to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including avoiding crowds, and possibly reconsidering travel plans, especially for the older population.

Dick said there are still many unknowns about COVID-19. "We are building a plane while flying it," he said. "We've got it in the air, but we're working on how to improve things."


A second person in Washoe County has tested positive for COVID-19 coranavirus, the Washoe County Health District announced Sunday morning.

The test still has to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The infected person is a 32-year-old man and he is isolated at home, the district said in a statement. His only known travel was to Santa Clara. Calif. The district is determining who had close contact with him and is conducting community surveillance to see if it has spread. He was tested at a medical emergency department.

"Given the increase in cases across the nation and the world, and the increased local testing we’re conducting, it isn’t surprising to see an additional presumptive positive case," Kevin Dick, district health officer, said in a statement. "Washoe County residents should remain vigilant against this disease."

The health district is recommending people reconsider all travel -- whether domestic or foreign -- to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The best ways for people to reduce their risk of getting sick, and preventing COVID-19 are: 

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds 
  • Cough or sneeze into your sleeve, or tissue
  • Avoid touching your face 
  • Stay home if you are sick 
  • Try alternatives to shaking hands, like an elbow bump
  • There is no recommendation to wear masks at this time to prevent yourself from getting sick
  • If possible, work from home
  • For businesses, go here for cleaning information

More information of COVID-19 can be found at or by calling Washoe 311 (Dial 3-1-1).


Gov. Steve Sisolak assured Nevadans Saturday that the state is aggressively addressing the COVID-19 coronavirus cases in the Silver State.

Sisolak spoke at a Las Vegas press conference to give an update on the COVID-19 status.

“To summarize, Nevadans work together,” Sisolak said. “When we discovered we had two presumptive cases of COVID-19 this week, we didn’t underreact, we didn’t overreact – we reacted. We took swift action and worked together."

“In the past week, there were road bumps and challenges, but every Nevadan should join me in being proud of our local and state health authorities, and the collaboration and communication exhibited between our local, state and federal leaders,” Sisolak continued. “We learned lessons, we improved, we identified needs, and we made the calls. I can tell you this, the CDC is listening.”

Sisolak recapped that one person in Clark County and one in Washoe County have tested positive for the highly contagious virus, although the tests still have to be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control.

The state is marshalling federal, state and local resources to assess and combat the problem, the governor said.

“I know a lot of Nevadans have questions on why certain people are getting tested and why others are not,” Sisolak said. “I want to assure you that our local health authorities have been responsible stewards in their administration of screenings and risk assessments based on existing CDC guidelines, but I believe we all share the same desire to test even more people, as necessary.”


The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County has added safety measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

The RTC disinfects its buses daily. Surfaces in transit vehicles and transit stations are sanitized daily.

Bus drivers and passengers are being urged to use proper hand hygiene, safe-coughing etiquette, and to stay home if they are sick. The RTC urges the public to follow these precautions.

Carson City Health and Human Services continues to monitor for COVID-19 cases. So far there are zero cases in Carson City, Douglas, Lyon, and Storey counties. CCHHS is meeting with local government officials including emergency management, school districts, and sherriff’s offices to discuss preventative measures and plans for any potential impacts from COVID-19.

U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar Friday requesting the agency fulfill Gov. Steve Sisolak’s request for additional COVID-19 test kits to enhance the capacity of Nevada’s health agencies to test patients and protect communities.


Northern Nevada Medical Center is limiting patient visitation until further notice due to COVID-19 concerns.

The changes include:

  • If deemed necessary, visitors will be allowed into the hospital from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. This may change. NNMC advise people to contact your family members prior to going to the facility.
  • Visitors will be screened before entrance to the hospital is allowed.
  • People with a fever, cough, difficulty breathing or a severe respiratory illness, should not go to the hospital. They should contact the Washoe County Health District at 775-328-2427.
  • No one younger than 12 is allowed to visit a patient at the hospital.
  • Only one visitor will be allowed per hospital patient at a time.
  • Only one visitor should accompany patients seeking treatment in the emergency department.
  • Visitors should use hand gel when entering the hospital to minimize the spread of germs. Hand gel stations are available at all entrances and by all elevator banks.

Gov. Steve Sisolak commented Friday on the presumptive positive test for the coronavirus in Washoe County, saying his heart goes out to those impacted by COVID-19.

“As the situation continues to rapidly develop throughout Nevada and around the country, we will continue to coordinate and support a coordinated response and preventative measures at all levels of government,” Sisolak said in a statement. “As Nevadans continue to take preventative measures as they’ve been instructed to do, I will be joining our federal delegation in seeking additional resources to identify and prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

He encouraged Nevadans to not panic but to take the issue seriously and to keep informed. Sisolak said he is in daily contact with the state school superintendent and education leaders and is offering the state’s support.

“We will continue to choose collaboration over chaos,” Sisolak said. “We will continue to prepare and prevent, not panic.”

Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve also issued a statement, saying she was saddened to learn from the Washoe County District Health Department there was a presumptive test showing a Washoe County resident had COVID-19.

“The city of Reno is continuing to monitor the level of risk to the public in close coordination with WCHD and other regional agencies, and we will provide updates as they become available,” Schieve said. “In addition to these regional efforts, Ccty personnel and programs are prepared to protect the public without affecting services.”

Barton Health announced it is cancelling its performance and wellness classes, support groups and other non-essential public events until further notice.

“This does not affect patient care, and all clinical services and medical offices are fully operational,” Barton said in a statement.

The Washoe County Library said all library stay-and-play and virtual reality programs are currently suspended.

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