Nevada Gov. Sisolak, who has been working overtime since the coronavirus pandemic has made its imprint in the Silver State, says Nevada is looking closely to identify where proper budget cuts can be made to help ease the economic downfall that’s been caused by the virus.
He has asked state agencies to look for areas within their budgets where reasonable cuts can be made.
With that announcement, Sisolak said that people at the front line of public health and safety will be granted priority in this particular budget strategy. He also assured that cuts wouldn’t be made across-the-board. Instead, the state will look to see where they can adequately conserve their resources.
“With the near-total shutdown of businesses during the COVID-19 response, including the gaming industry that makes up the lifeblood of our state’s economy, it is inevitable that this unexpected drop in revenue will force the state of Nevada to make tough budget choices in order to continue protecting the health and safety of our citizens,” Sisolak said.
Sisolak continued in the same statement by comparing the tough decisions the state will have to make to combat the financial impact of COVID-19 with that of Nevadans and small businesses in the state.
He commented on the mutual suffering of Nevadans by acknowledging those who have had or will have to make the same “hard, thoughtful decisions” to keep themselves afloat during these challenging times, in the same way that the state is doing the same.
Update on COVID-19 Crisis in Nevada
In case you’re not caught up to speed on the situation in Nevada, last week Gov. Sisolak announced a stay-at-home order for Nevadans and activated the National Guard. The day before that, he extended the statewide closures of all casinos and nonessential businesses in the state to April 30.
On Wednesday, Sisolak gave an updated status on Nevada’s response against COVID-19. He began his briefing by thanking those Nevadans who have been diligent in staying home and practicing social distancing to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“It’s absolutely critical that we all continue to Stay Home for Nevada and practice strict social distancing,” Sisolak adamantly expressed.
As of today, April 8, there are over 2,300 positive COVID-19 cases in Nevada, with 18,249 tests coming back negative.
“We have lost 80 Nevadans to COVID-19,” said Gov. Sisolak.
As Sisolak made that statement, another death was reported during the press conference. That puts the death total at 81. That total number includes two healthcare workers, who made the “ultimate sacrifice.”
Sisolak urged Nevadans to do everything they can to keep our front line of defense as safe and healthy as possible.
Governor Expands Social Distancing Guidelines
On Wednesday, Gov. Sisolak expanded the state’s social distancing guidelines with more strict rules to help slow down the spread of the virus. Here’s a list of the new guidelines, effective today:
- Sports venues, including golf courses, public basketball courts, skateboard parks, and swimming pools, are to be closed for the duration of the emergency.
- Showrooms that display goods for sale, such as car dealerships and household appliance stores, must now be closed to the public.
- Realtors are now being prohibited from showing open houses for numerous people, and the house must not be occupied.
- Licensed hairdressers and barbers cannot offer in-house beauty services to anyone outside of their immediate household.
- Grocery stores are being forced to close self-service stations if those stations cannot be properly sanitized in between each customer. The selling of raw goods, such as raw meat, which are neither packaged or sold by the scoop is also now prohibited.
- In-person worship services are being prohibited, with no gatherings of more than 10 people allowed.
- Businesses that are still operational must provide PPE for their employees, as well as implementing sanitation protocols.
State Distributes One Million Pieces of PPE
According to Sisolak, the state has provided 1,379,042 pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) which has been a massive help across the local healthcare industry. The governor had been requesting more PPE for the past week.
Currently, the state’s PPE status is yellow, or in moderate need.
A whopping $6.2 million has been approved in state funding in an effort to assist the state in fighting COVID-19 and as a way to purchase more PPE. Another two million dollars was given in settlement funds to United Way as a means of assisting Nevadans with paying rent.
More Testing Kits Needed
Sisolak advised that so far, Nevada has received 3,000 reagent kits and 4,000 test swabs from the federal government, and how this amount doesn’t support the amount needed to test the state adequately.
Due to the lack of testing supplies, Sisolak has turned to the option of expanding state labs for testing use.
Dr. Mark Pandori of the Nevada State Public Health Lab is currently getting testing kits together in Northern Nevada and is working hard to get them delivered to Southern Nevada, where the majority of the COVID-19 cases are coming out of.
When it comes to testing kits, Nevada has been in dire need of them for a while now. The test kits at UNLV all but ran out yesterday, and state labs are out of extraction swabs.
According to Sisolak, the state should be getting more 15-minute kits by week’s end.
Urges Patience with Unemployment Claims
With delays in receiving testing kits and additional PPE, there is also a clear delay in many Nevadans being able to file their unemployment claims and receive their unemployment benefits.
The delay that has been plaguing applicants is a result of the sheer volume of cases being filed, which reached its all-time high in the state in the month of March. According to Sisolak, the state has been able to process 250,000 unemployment claims, but both their online and over-the-phone system has been struggling to keep up.
As a result, the system has crashed on numerous occasions, leaving many applicants frustrated during the process. Over 164,000 Nevadas are apart of the record number of Americans who filed for unemployment in the last two weeks of March, which is around 10 million.
“I’m aware of the frustration. I hear the anecdotal stories. I know for every person, if you’re the one that can’t get through, it’s a big issue for you,” Sisolak said. “We do not have the structure in place, I can assure you of this, to process this kind of this volume.”
Sisolak is urging callers to “keep trying and stay patient” through the unemployment process, and assured applicants that benefits will be “retroactive to the initial day.”
No Easter Dinner
As Sisolak is suggesting that the state “tighten the faucet” when it comes to enforcing stricter social distancing guidelines to those who aren’t taking it that seriously, that also means the upcoming Easter holiday is no exception.
“This isn’t the time to have an Easter dinner of 23 people in your immediate family that you haven’t seen since Christmas,” Sisolak said. “If we get to that later in the week, you’re going to see what strict enforcement looks like.”
The governor is urging Nevadans to continue to comply, so that way the upcoming holiday doesn’t set the state back any further or cause the virus to spread even more.
With the fluid coronavirus situation in Nevada, it’s best to keep monitoring the daily news for any updates or changes regarding social distancing guidelines or closures.
We hope that the situation in Nevada eases up soon so things can return to normal. Until then, stay at home as much as possible, keep your distance, and wash your hands!