Beginning Tuesday, all Nellis Air Force Base personnel and visitors will once again be required to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designated Clark County as having a high community level of COVID-19.
The CDC recommends indoor mask-wearing in communities with high levels, a recommendation seconded on Friday by the Southern Nevada Health District.
The return to masks at Nellis was announced in a post Monday on the military base’s Facebook page. In addition to “100 percent mask wear indoors,” the base will limit capacity for both work and social gatherings to 50 percent. Social distancing will be in effect in dining facilities. Meetings will be limited to no more than 50 participants, unless the Air Force under secretary provides a waiver.
The post also said there would be COVID-19 screening tests for those who are unvaccinated.
The base’s public affairs office could not be immediately reached for comment.
COVID-19 cases have been increasing in Clark County and in much of the country, with variants of the omicron strain showing an enhanced ability to evade immunity from vaccination or prior infection, and as built-up immunity wanes over has waned over time. These infections generally are milder than those from earlier strains of the virus such as delta.
The CDC gave the county the “high” designation late last week based on its increased case rates and hospitalizations.
Clark County’s rate of new cases in the past week is 228.04 per 100,000 population. Its rate of new hospital admissions is 10.9 patients per 100,0000 population, and 4.3 percent of its staffed inpatient beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients, according to CDC data.
The Nevada Hospital Association said on Wednesday that hospital infrastructure “is not being stressed by the disease.”
Clark County, the only county in Nevada at the high level, is among the nearly 10 percent of counties in the U.S. with the designation. The majority of the nation’s counties – 57.51 percent – are at the low level, and 32.75 percent are at medium.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.