Sisolak lifts COVID state of emergency, cites ‘substantially declined’ hospitalizations

Gov. Steve Sisolak announced the end of the state of emergency, meeting a deadline he set earlier this month and joining at least six other states where similar orders are also expiring.

The proclamation — which takes effect Friday — cites declining COVID cases since February and substantial reductions in hospitalizations from the virus while noting that the state is “prepared to prevent, treat and manage COVID-19.” It arrives more than two months after the governor lifted Nevada’s mask mandate and a little more than one month after the state reduced how often it reports COVID-19 data. 

The lifting of the emergency arrives more than two years after Sisloak first declared a state of emergency in March 2020.

 Across the state, 588 new cases were reported on average each day over the last two weeks, a 79 percent increase from the average two weeks ago. Though the Omicron variant has driven a recent increase in case volume, the number of deaths has consistently fallen.

Along with the proclamation, Sisolak’s office included guidance for health care professionals as they navigate the end of the emergency declaration, which allowed licensing boards to issue waivers for qualified medical providers licensed in other states, among other initiatives aimed at supporting the state’s health care infrastructure and addressing staffing shortages.

Moving forward, licensing boards will continue to assist waiver-holders with receiving permanent credentials, the guidance said, noting the ones most affected include the Nevada State Board of Nursing, the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy, the Nevada Board of Medical Examiners and the Nevada Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

On Wednesday, Sisolak signed an additional proclamation declaring a “limited” state of emergency as it relates to supplemental allotments for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, allowing the state to continue the additional benefits from the federal government until the national public health emergency ends.

“The sharp increase in food insecurity threatened by the loss of these additional federal emergency allotments constitutes an imminent danger or threat to the health, safety, and welfare of Nevada SNAP recipients and their families,” the proclamation said, noting that the supplemental benefits have become “essential” for addressing food insecurity.

Since April 2020, almost one billion dollars in supplemental benefits have been distributed to individuals and families enrolled in SNAP throughout the state. As of May, close to 235,700 Nevada households receive benefits through SNAP, which covers an estimated 452,790 individuals including more than 183,000 children.