Officials advise wearing masks in Vegas as COVID cases rise

Officials advise wearing masks in Vegas as COVID cases rise


LAS VEGAS (AP) — Masks are back in Las Vegas, after regional health officials on Friday cited a rising number of coronavirus cases and advised everyone — vaccinated or not — to wear facial coverings in crowds and indoor places.

The recommendation from the Southern Nevada Health District isn’t a requirement. But it affects casinos, concerts and clubs where business has boomed since restrictions were lifted and the state fully returned pandemic control measures to counties about seven weeks ago.

“Both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals should wear masks when they are in crowded public settings ... such as grocery stores, malls, large events and casinos," Dr. Fermin Leguen, the region's chief health officer, told reporters.

He said the district doesn't have authority to make masks mandatory, leaving that question to the state, county and cities.

Vaccine clinics and testing are continuing at sites around the region, Leguen added.

Vaccination rates have stalled in recent weeks in Nevada, a state with libertarian leanings where health officials reported Friday that about 55% of residents 12 years and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Statewide, about 46.3% are fully vaccinated.

Nationally, 68% of adults have received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

An official with the union representing 60,000 Nevada casino employees issued a statement noting the risks posed to workers by people who are not vaccinated.

Culinary Union official Geoconda Argüello-Kline pointed to CDC data that more than 97% of people who have been hospitalized recently with COVID-19 have not received a vaccine.

The mask recommendation in Las Vegas came after Nevada health officials on Thursday reported 938 new cases of...

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