LAS VEGAS – Disease investigators have released a list of places where possible COVID-19 exposures have happened in Southern Nevada, and dozens of popular hotel-casinos have been named, reports the Reno Gazette Journal, a USA TODAY Network publication.
Here’s a look at the Las Vegas resorts mentioned in the report and the number of exposures that may have happened there in August:
Read the full list here (story continues below):
The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services provided the data to the RGJ and clarified that the number of exposures represents only a portion of people who tested positive for COVID-19.
“Every case is contacted, but individuals do have the option to not participate in the interview and the data on location is self-reported by the cases,” DHHS spokeswoman Shannon Litz said in an email.
The data is based on responses from more than 12,000 people, Litz said.
The Southern Nevada Health District released a statement Friday saying the information provided in the state’s report does not identify locations where cases were determined to be exposed or COVID-19 clusters.
“Places with a higher amount of foot traffic or more employees may be reported as possible exposure locations more often,” the health district said.
Investigators also separated the data according to “place type.” Hotels and motels ranked as the top possible exposure sites in August.
Here’s how the data broke down:
The USA TODAY Network reached out to Cosmopolitan – ranked at the top of the list with 304 possible exposures – for comment and received a statement:
“Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our guests and employees,” the statement said. “To reiterate Nevada health officials, this data does not describe where or when someone contracted COVID-19, but merely what locations they visited during a certain period of time.”
MGM Resorts would not address directly the number of exposures reported at the Bellagio – ranked second on the list.
“The nature of this pandemic is that it is not possible to determine where or when an individual contracts the virus but we have been consistently reporting known cases involving an employee or guest, to the state health department,” spokesman Brian Ahern said in an email. “We have comprehensive health and safety protocols for both employees and guests, rigorous employee training and an awareness campaign encouraging employees to follow safety guidelines both on property and off.”
The new data also mentions other facilities where potential exposures happened in August, including:
Nevada’s COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force for the first time Thursday revealed there may be a connection between positive cases and The Strip.
Nevada Department of Health and Human Services deputy administrator Julia Peek said 26% of people infected in Clark County involved in contact tracing investigations over the past 30 days mentioned visiting a hotel, motel or resort.
Infected people mentioned visiting a “food establishment” like restaurants or grocery stores in 12% of cases, Peek said.
The data “does not mean that the business is associated with the exposure,” Peek said. “It just means that that person happened to name it during the case investigation and more information needs to be obtained through that investigation process.”
Contributing: Anjeanette Damon, Reno Gazette Journal.
Follow Ed Komenda on Twitter: @ejkomenda