Jul 27, 2020

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak July 27 Press Conference Transcript

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsPolitical TranscriptsNevada Governor Steve Sisolak July 27 Press Conference Transcript

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak held a July 27 press conference on COVID-19. Sisolak dropped phased reopening to focus on a long-term enforcement strategy for the state. Read the full transcript here.

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Governor Steve Sisolak: (00:00)
(silence) Everybody set? Good evening. I want to thank you all for being here with me this evening. I am again joined by Kayla Cage to my left, the Nevada COVID-19 Response Director, and Ms. Julia Peek to my right, Deputy Administrator in the Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, Ms. Peek is helping lead Nevada’s statewide contact tracing efforts. I am pleased to have them both here with me.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (00:42)
Since my last address, Nevada’s lawmakers have completed a special session to address a historic budget shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. I appreciate the hard work of the legislature during the session in making difficult decisions. While this was an immediate and necessary measure to close the budget gap for this year, we know that our state will be challenged to provide the essential services Nevadans deserve in the way of healthcare, education, and so much more without federal assistance.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (01:20)
As governor, I will continue to aggressively advocate for additional flexible funds from the federal government that would help Nevada recover from this global pandemic. To save some time during the question and answer session, I’ll answer the question on the second special session right now. It is my goal to have it begin as soon as this Thursday, but we will be announcing the decided upon start date and the proclamation once a final determination has been made.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (01:49)
But today I want to talk to Nevadans about our state’s response to COVID-19. As your governor, I have been immersed in this fight against this deadly virus for nearly five months, along with all of you. Day after long day, along with my staff, medical experts, and leaders from around the state, I’ve sought solution after solution to keep Nevada safer, businesses operating, and workers on their jobs.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (02:20)
After I made the agonizing decision to close our state down on March 17th, we laid out goals to begin a phased reopening of our state and issued safety protocols, including limiting crowd sizes, social distancing, sanitizing, and enhanced cleaning guidelines and, of course, the wearing of masks or face coverings.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (02:44)
Every decision we’ve made, that I’ve made came with risks. Let me assure you that there are no win-win decisions in the battle against COVID-19. Closing to prevent uncontrollable spread and crashing of our healthcare system devastated our economy and put hundreds of thousands of Nevadans out of work. Each decision was and continues to be gut-wrenching. It’s a balancing act, walking a tight rope between the health of our residents and the financial stability of your families and our state. Protecting lives and livelihoods is like dancing on the head of a pin, and it requires daily monitoring, adjustments, and enforcement. Like so many other states. Nevada has been severely challenged since the outbreak of COVID-19. In the month of July, our case count, hospitalizations, and, sadly, our fatalities have all been on the rise, but there are areas where we’ve made great progress. Nevada has seen a significant increase in testing, mask wearing, and compliance with the health and safety rules. Recently, we have started to see some positive signs in our data, including a potential slow and gradual flattening out in both cases and hospitalizations.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (04:11)
The analysts at DHHS believe the forward progress is a direct result of some of the previous mitigation measures that we have put in place, like mandatory face coverings and more enforcement to ensure people are staying safe and practicing proper precautions against COVID-19. Today, Nevada’s R effective dipped under 1.0 just slightly, to a number of 0.9,8. That’s 0.98, which is a good sign. This measures the average number of people who become infected by a person who has COVID-19. When the R effective is under one, it means the virus is not spreading as much. On June 28th, just a month ago, our R effective level was 1.63, and that was one of the highest in the nation. Thanks to all of you, progress has been made. For right now, anyway, we are among the lowest in the nation.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (05:12)
While these are encouraging signs, it is too soon to know if the state is experiencing an ongoing trend or if our recent numbers are just a small blip. Either way, the reality is that in our current situation, Nevada still has a high prevalence of COVID-19. Two weeks ago, we established the elevated risk transmission criteria for counties looking at three key statistics, the average number of tests per day, the case rate, and the test positivity rate. We looked at these figures over a two-week period and controlled and adjusted the criteria for population size. Seven counties at the time met two or more of the criteria, were considered at risk, and needed to take the additional mitigation efforts of closing bars, pubs, taverns, and wineries to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (06:09)
Based on our two-week review of the data, the list has shrunk to four counties, Clark, Elko, Nye, and Washoe. At this time, those four counties will stay with these mitigation measures for the next week. Humboldt, Lander, and Lyon County have shown enough improvement on the existing criteria to return to the statewide standards, meaning pubs, bars, and taverns can reopen at 50% capacity while maintaining social distancing and mandatory face coverings. This goes into effect immediately.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (06:47)
I want to reemphasize that this is for the next week as we address the long-term strategy, moving forward. Over the last two weeks and over the course of the last five months, we’ve learned a lot day-to-day about how best to analyze this data and tackle this disease. For example, in the last two weeks, while reviewing data used in this criteria, we saw several of the smaller counties frequently move on and off the list by meeting two or more of those criteria. It fluctuated on an almost daily basis. We know we need more consistency.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (07:24)
That’s why I wanted to let Nevadans know tonight that over this next week, the Nevada Health Response Team is working to finalize a long-term mitigation strategy for the State of Nevada. I’ll be rolling that out for you next Monday. I believe this plan will help us to achieve two important goals. Number one, with this new plan, no business, local government, or individual should be surprised by future actions as the trends good and bad will be announced regularly and the resulting actions will be clear. Number two, it invests all of us in this fight together. Those who want to keep our restaurants, gyms, and other activities open can do their part to make this happen. Those that don’t will be the ones responsible for further restrictions that are put in place.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (08:18)
This new long-term strategy will include the following key components: Updated criteria. One of the goals includes working with DHHS to develop more in-depth, data-driven criteria to better identify the presence and spread of the disease throughout our state. We’re looking to adjust our current criteria so that it more closely follows overall trends, minimizes the week-to-week or day-to-day fluctuation for counties, and better demonstrates which counties are getting progressively better or worse and therefore which should be tightened up or loosened mitigation efforts. Predictability. I know the past five months have been rough on the businesses.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (09:03)
[inaudible 00:09:01] I know the past five months have been rough on the businesses and residents throughout our country, and Nevada is no different. Through shutdowns, reopenings, phases and more, I understand that the unpredictability hasn’t been easy. That’s why one of my main goals is to create a long-term system of mitigation levels that will allow our business and residents to have advanced notice and understanding on what direction their county could be heading based on updated criteria.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (09:33)
No more phases. In an effort to create more predictability as a state, we want to move away from phases. Like I’ve mentioned, we’ve learned a lot about this virus in the last five months. And while phases made sense at the time, we’ve got to be flexible and responsive to what we’re seeing now. This new approach will set Nevada up for the long-term. This is our new normal.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (09:58)
Increased enforcement. Ensuring businesses and communities enforce our mitigation efforts are key in helping reduce the spread, which is why our long-term strategy will have a goal of stricter enforcement of our safety rules. This will include measures that aim to ensure that business establishments who serve unmasked patrons may be closed if it’s a pattern of non-compliance. And that a non-compliant resort could have part or all of their property closed for a period of time.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (10:29)
Water, theme parks, sporting events, gyms, and other businesses, and venues for gathering will be closely scrutinized and treated accordingly. I’m proud of the work OSHA has done to enforce existing measures, but I also want to thank the county, our county partners who have increased enforcement and done their part.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (10:50)
And as for those municipal governments, the ones that aren’t doing their part, please know that the state will be reaching out to you this week with the expectation that you will be stepping up to help us as well. To put it bluntly, the time for education is over. Businesses, Nevadans and visitors should all be familiar with the expectations of reduced indoor capacity, required face coverings and social distancing.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (11:19)
We are close to five months in. No more excuses. If people are following the rules to keep us safe, there needs to be consequences, which leads me to targeting. Another key component of this long-term plan will be more specific targeting in our mitigation efforts. Just as we’ve done with our vulnerable populations, we want to make sure we’re taking targeted approaches to counties, businesses, and industries that have shown the need for additional assistance and intervention to stop the spread of this deadly virus.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (11:56)
Just as we’ve transitioned from state interventions to looking specifically at county level data, my goal is to soon look within these counties to see if there are certain municipalities or certain zip codes we need to target more specifically with mitigation and/or enforcement measures. Similarly, with economic sectors within our state, we want to transition to targeting specific businesses that may be experiencing outbreaks versus industries as a whole. Unless those industries as a whole are shown to pose an incredibly high risk of spread.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (12:32)
I believe that most of our businesses and communities have made great efforts to be as safe as they can. And targeting problematic areas will help protect the good actors. Additionally, I will be signing a new directive before July 31st, which will extend the current restrictions and provisions that are currently in place.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (12:54)
And finally, I formed an advisory group which will be led by Caleb Cage, our statewide COVID-19 response director. This group made up of agency directors in charge of enforcement, public health and more, along local government and hospital representatives will be responsible for reviewing the criteria, data and progress each week. They will work directly with our County officials, including the LEAP on enhanced enforcement focused targeting, and next steps to reduce the spread. They will be critical in helping to finalize and ultimately implement this long-term strategy.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (13:35)
One more thing. I want to thank Caleb and Julia for holding daily press calls to brief the media and provide more context on our situation. Going forward, I will join them at least once a week to share additional news and updates. We continue to encourage Nevadans to take precautions against the spread of this disease, including staying home when possible, always staying home when you’re sick, practicing social distancing, washing your hands frequently and wearing a face covering.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (14:07)
Thank you. I would now be happy to take some questions.

Speaker 1: (14:11)
Just a reminder when you come up to the podium to ask a question, if you could turn the mic on and off so the folks following the stream at home can hear you.

Miles Buergin: (14:25)
Okay. Hi governor. This is Miles Bergen from News 4 and Fox 11. Several states hold daily or weekly press briefings, but the public hasn’t heard from you for more than 20 days at least it seems. Why allow so much time in-between press conferences?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (14:40)
Well, I don’t believe in having a press conference, just to have a press conference. It was a little bit better than two weeks ago that we had the press conference. We’ve wrapped up a legislative session and we’ll try to do a better job communicating.

Speaker 2: (14:57)
Hey, governor.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (14:58)
Morning, evening.

Speaker 2: (14:59)
I wonder if there’s any circumstances under which you would consider closing casinos again. Is there like a bright line somewhere that you’re looking at?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (15:08)
Obviously, casinos are our largest employer, the most number of employees that we possibly have. They’re working with my administration and with me to implement all of the mitigation measures that we’ve put in place. At the same time, we are monitoring them very closely to make sure that those are in place and we will continue to monitor them closely, but I don’t want to speculate any further.

Speaker 2: (15:33)
You’re monitoring them. Are you looking for any line as far as COVID metrics that might prompt you to rethink closing casinos?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (15:41)
When we send GCB in there, the Gaming Control Board, we’re looking for those that are violating on a certain area, whether they’re not wearing masks, whether they’re not social distancing, if there’s too many people at the pool, that sort of thing. And we will continue to do that and they’ll take appropriate enforcement actions.

Speaker 2: (15:57)
Thanks.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (15:58)
Thank you.

Speaker 3: (16:04)
Hi, governor. We recently learned that two thirds of the inmates at the Arizona private prison where a 100 Nevada inmates are have tested positive for COVID. There’s also reports that some of this is happening in another private prison within our borders. Do you feel like our inmates are safe in that private prison in Arizona?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (16:24)
Well, we sent COVID test, the rapid test into those prisons to make sure that they’re all tested. We’re going to do everything we can, that’s why they were tested and I think we found 69 or 70 positives. We’re doing everything we can to make sure that they get the care that they need. And right now I think we’re okay, but we’re continuing to monitor that situation.

Speaker 3: (16:43)
Does this change anything about how long they’ll stay or anything you’re directing the private prison to do about this?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (16:48)
Well, they’re on a short timeframe anyway, the private prisons, how long they can stay there. As for right now, I don’t want to bring 70 positive patients back to Nevada until they’re been tested and they’ve been proved to be negative, but we’ll let the handle that situation that comes forward.

Speaker 3: (17:04)
And of course the ACLU has asked you today to maybe take some additional efforts to promote transparency about COVID cases in the jail and the prisons. Are you going to take any specific actions to protect inmates that are in our system?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (17:19)
I don’t know what the ACLU asked because I haven’t seen it yet, but we handle the prisons. The counties handle the jails, the detention centers. I assume that they’re taking action as it relates to the folks that are incarcerated there, but we’re testing our folks. I think our testing has been better than almost anybody in the country in terms of positives. We’ve been extremely fortunate in the state of Nevada and hopefully it’ll stay that way. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Speaker 1: (17:43)
Thank you. And let’s try to stick to one question at a time for the governor so we can get through them all. Thanks.

Bill: (17:48)
Hi governor.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (17:48)
Hi.

Bill: (17:49)
So just to be clear, next week then we’ll be hearing more about what’s happening in Clark, Washoe, Nye, Elko. Do you expect that the trends will be such that they will be able to reopen the bars there?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (18:01)
If I could forecast that, I’d be, you know-

Bill: (18:03)
…The bars there.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (18:03)
If I could forecast that, I’d be very happy, but I can’t. I can only look at the data that we get on a daily basis. What’s going to make that determination is how many people follow the rules, how they followed the mitigation. I mean, I’m still getting resistance, you know that, to masks. Suddenly everybody’s a virologist or an epidemiologist or infectious disease expert, and they can tell you how many molecules come through a mess. They read one article on Google and suddenly they’re an expert on this. I rely on professional medical opinion and that’s what I’m going to continue to rely upon.

Bill: (18:36)
And then with the special session, can you give us an idea of some of the priorities you have for that?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (18:41)
Well, we listed a few of them after the end of the last session. We’re still working on the final document moving forward and we’re only a couple days out, so it will be soon.

Bill: (18:50)
Okay, thank you.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (18:51)
Thank you.

Speaker 4: (18:55)
Hi governor. The Supreme Court narrowly upheld the state’s policy regarding the 50 person cap on religious gatherings. You indicated early last month that your staff was in discussion with representatives of Calvary Chapel about trying to come to some sort of resolution. Now that the Supreme Court upheld the cap, do you have any plans to continue those negotiations or is there no need to seek any sort of compromise?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (19:17)
Well, I’m always willing to talk to people and I appreciate the fact that the United States Supreme Court upheld the directive. I’m a person of faith. I watch service online now. That’s what I have to do, I never thought what I would have been watching mass on my telephone, a couple days a week. And it’s unfortunate. That’s what we have to do at the same time. There were two priests that tested positive in Southern Nevada and if you followed that. And those parishioners who were potentially exposed, one of those celebrants I happened to know, we’d there on a regular basis when I was back in Las Vegas. But it’s my job to keep folks safe and it’s just not safe when we get large gatherings put together like that.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (20:03)
And I know people object to it. I want to have faith institutions have more flexibility, but until we get control on this virus, there’s nothing we can do. And if people are wanting to open up the churches, I can tell you they can open up the churches, wear a mask, practice social distancing, and don’t get into large groups, and our numbers will go down. It’s up to the general public to determine how long we stay in each phase and what the restrictions are going to be.

Speaker 4: (20:29)
So I just had a quick question for Ms. [Peak 00:02:31]. So we’re talking about switching from industry-wide regulations to specific businesses. What kind of contact tracing capacity will we need to do that and do we have it?

Speaker 6: (20:44)
That’s a great question. So we’re going to be implementing two things this week in our Salesforce tool that I’ve talked about in the past, we’ve just started the case investigation tool within there. It has occupation. It has about 25 different indicators related to more surgically understanding where somebody was at a location. Pool, restaurant, bar, et cetera. And then also we have another hundred case investigators and contact tracers coming on this week. Additionally, we’re training all the contact tracers to also be case investigators because that was the bottleneck. So we’re at a really good place in Nevada right now. If we need to increase that, we will.

Speaker 4: (21:19)
Thank you.

Speaker 5: (21:21)
Thanks folks. We have time for a couple more questions. If we could just try to keep it to one question each, please.

Speaker 3: (21:26)
Governor, the Secretary of State has expressed some interest in moving back to an in person election this November. Obviously we’re less than a hundred days, we need to make a decision soon. Do you support that decision?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (21:36)
Well, we’re 99 days out. You’re absolutely right. And a lot shorter that until early voting starts. It’s very important to me that every citizen in the state of Nevada is allowed the opportunity to vote in a safe, effective manner that they don’t have to be in line until two, three, four o’clock in the morning to cast their ballot. I don’t know what we’ll be experiencing in October, November in terms of this virus, but I certainly want the ability for all citizens to be able to vote and know that they don’t have to decide between exposing themselves to COVID and casting a ballot when it comes to the election. So that’s something we’re going to deal with in a special session.

Speaker 3: (22:14)
Would you support mandating mail in ballots for everybody?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (22:17)
Well that’s something we’re going to do within the special session that you’ll see in two days, three days. Thank you.

Speaker 5: (22:23)
Thanks. And I think we’ll have time for the last three that are in line here.

Speaker 7: (22:28)
In regards to schools, the president that says he wants them open. You’ve got several schools are coming out with mixed plans. What are your thoughts on the coming school year and your preference?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (22:38)
Schools are extremely important to me. Obviously our kids need to get back to school, they need to get back to being educated. We’ve got a multitude of issues there. You’ve got the students, you’ve got the teachers, you’ve got the parents, you’ve got the employees that work there, you’ve got other issues that are associated with the schools. If the schools aren’t open, you’ve got a nutrition situation for the kids, you’ve got a daycare situation for the kids. After meeting with the superintendents from all 17 counties, we gave them the flexibility to come up with their own plan. Most of them have done that already and submitted the plan to superintendent Ebert, who by the way, has done an absolutely remarkable job working our way through this and guiding them. Some have not done that yet. I understand there are issues, as I said with, whether it’s meals, whether it’s daycare or whether it’s transportation. I just hope that the schools get to that quickly to give the parents some certainty. But I want to make sure that the students are in a safe environment. So I’ll leave it up to the school district.

Speaker 7: (23:39)
So what’s your preference in your personal opinion? Open and fully up at this point or the mixed, what is your choice?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (23:46)
Yeah, I’m not going to weigh in on that because I don’t want to influence the superintendents of the various districts. The districts are separate, when my wife and I drove up here the last time, the number of students that are in a school in Lovelock is nowhere near the number of students that are in a classroom in Clark or Washoe. There are different. Everybody’s different, and that needs to be taken into account. That’s why we gave the various school districts the flexibility to make those decisions on their own. And then they have a plan in terms of how to deal with it. But we are doing a couple of things. We are working now to purchase more PPE for those schools that are going to be going in person and to provide testing for the folks that are going in, whether the faculty or the administration needs it or whatnot. So we’re continuing to be involved. Thank you.

Speaker 2: (24:37)
Actually, I think he just cannibalized my question mostly, but-

Governor Steve Sisolak: (24:40)
Well make another one up. Go ahead.

Speaker 2: (24:42)
Yeah, I was going to ask. Kevin Dick, the Washoe County Health Officers said it wasn’t safe to reopen schools. A couple of your own top health advisors apparently said that it wasn’t safe to reopen elementary schools. Can you just help us reconcile that best as he can?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (24:58)
I think what you’re seeing when it comes to opening schools is what I see on a daily basis with this plethora of decisions that we have to make. You get two experts that are giving you different opinions. Some people will say that, everybody who’s got an educated opinion will tell you wearing a mask or a face covering is effective. Some will tell you that six feet in a restaurant, you don’t need if you’re outside. Others will tell you that you do. They will tell you that you should only have 25% capacity, not 50. There’s plenty of room for different opinions. And that’s what we’ve gotten on the school situation. Everybody has different parameters, I think that they’re dealing with. For some folks, the daycare is not a situation or the nutrition is not a situation. For others, that’s the most important thing about the school day.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (25:48)
I saw that the [NAIA 00:25:52] eliminated all fall sports. They’re going to put them all in the spring, which I think shows that they’re concerned about it. You saw what happened today with Major League Baseball and the Marlins had 14 people test positive and they’re pretty restrictive on these folks. So there’s a lot to be concerned about. We’re following it very, very closely. I know some schools across the country opened up today, so we’ll be looking in terms of how that works and what the best avenue is moving forward. But that’s a responsibility and the decision we left up to the local school boards and superintendents.

Speaker 2: (26:23)
Thanks, governor.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (26:24)
Sure.

Speaker 5: (26:25)
Great. And we’ll take this as the last question, governor.

Miles Buergin: (26:30)
All right, governor, you say you’re moving away from phasing. I know we had phase two, possibility of a phase three. So you say you have a new directive. Anything you can tell the public just about what’s going to be in that new directive.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (26:42)
Well, yeah. What is important to me, in the previous directives, we close all the bars when we got to a certain point. In hindsight, I don’t know if that was the fairest way to do it because I had a lot of bars that I’m being told were extremely proactive and extremely effective in terms of mitigating and taking the-

Governor Steve Sisolak: (27:03)
… in terms of mitigating and taking the appropriate protocols, others just kind of let whatever happen happen, and that’s what I need to do. I’m tired of educating. I’m tired of ambassadors that deal with this stuff. I’m tired of information officers. I need enforcement officers that are going to go out and punish the bad guys and not punish the good guys. That’s why I give Chairman Kirkpatrick and incredible amount of credit, and Bob Lucy credit in Washoe. But some of the municipalities, and I’m going to be very candid, it’s not a joke. This isn’t a joke when somebody is wearing a doily on their face and says that that’s a mask or another city council person says, “Well, I don’t want them coming into my area to mom and pop businesses and closing anybody down.” Well, they know what the rules are, and they need to be treated the same way as everybody else does. The violators need to be punished, and those that are following the rules need to be rewarded and allowed to keep open. If everybody sticks with that, we’ll be a lot better off.

Speaker 8: (28:04)
Thanks, Governor.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (28:04)
Did anybody have something for Caleb? I mean, he came all the way over here. You got to Caleb question? Go ahead.

Bill: (28:12)
I’ll think of one while we’re speaking.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (28:13)
Okay.

Bill: (28:13)
Just a question about the eviction moratorium. It’s September 1st. As we progress here, getting closer to that date, is there any thinking about delaying that?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (28:22)
Yeah. Well, that’s something that we’ll probably be looking at during the legislative special session coming up, the rent assistance. I think we had 3000 people applied on the first day, but there’s more money available for those that didn’t apply. I encourage everybody to do that. This is all in a state of flux, whether it’s that rental assistance money, it’s the eviction moratorium, it’s the unemployment money that’s coming in, whether it’s going to say it’s 600 or get reduced. Those are issues that we’re going to have to face on a daily basis.

Bill: (28:51)
Here’s a question for Caleb.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (28:52)
There you go.

Bill: (28:53)
Testing now, the delays in returning them are 7 to 14 days in some cases, are you concerned about that? Is that getting better?

Caleb Cage: (29:03)
Thank you, Bill, for the question.

Caleb Cage: (29:06)
We have been monitoring. In fact, we had a conference call this morning with the state testing chief to discuss this. I’ll say that testing volume has increased tremendously. I could probably tell you the numbers for today, but there are thousands of tests a day that are going in through the system. We are regularly looking for ways to decrease the burden on the public health system. We have a statewide contract with one private provider right now whose got a couple of innovative solutions that’ll help us with that, especially at public institutions where we can use different kinds of testing there, as well as ensuring that we have point-of-care testing at our nursing facilities. I believe we had 14 nursing homes in the state that just received rapid tests. Those are facilities that will not be sending their tests through public labs, and they have a high frequency of staff and residents that they need to test. We’re working through DPH, the Division of Public and Behavioral Health, we’re working with a number of remaining nursing homes to make sure that they get the point-of-care rapid testing as well. To answer your question, yes, it’s something that we are working on on a daily basis that the governor has made testing a foundation, a cornerstone of his reopening plan because we have to identify who is positive with the virus so that Julia and her team can do contact tracing. We are working just as hard as we can to get those numbers down on the turnaround and trying to expand the group of labs that are processing those tests as much as we possibly can.

Bill: (31:06)
Okay. Thanks, [inaudible 00:04:07].

Governor Steve Sisolak: (31:07)
Thanks.

Speaker 9: (31:08)
Thanks for coming out, everyone.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (31:09)
You got another question for Caleb?

Speaker 9: (31:10)
Yeah.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (31:12)
Okay. We’ll do a Caleb question.

Speaker 9: (31:14)
Okay, Governor.

Speaker 3: (31:15)
Caleb, do you believe that the mask policy is actually working? The governor hinted at there’s a lot of theories out there.

Caleb Cage: (31:22)
I’m not a statistician, but I do know that correlation is not a causality and in statistics, and it’s really hard to determine those things. However, I will say based on the best analysis from the best minds in the state that are looking at these things on a daily basis, I absolutely believe that the mask directive and the subsequent directives have made the impact that we’re seeing right now. I will echo the governor. We’re hoping and looking to continue to see these very good numbers or improving numbers that we’ve seen over the last four days. But I don’t see any way around it. There’s nothing that has changed if you consider in the 4th of July, which we anticipated in an uptick from there, these directives I believe are making a difference.

Caleb Cage: (32:14)
I’d also say, this is something that my colleague Julia speaks about often, is the directives are important, but the enforcement numbers that we see have been increasing and improving as well. The directives are important because they actually have a science-based approach to reducing the spread of the virus, but making sure that business and industry and Chair Kirkpatrick, as you called out a moment ago and a Chair Lucy and folks from around the state are actually taking the enforcement seriously. I believe that those two things together are producing the numbers we’re having right now. I believe the better enforcement gets and the better compliance gets with the directives, the better off we’re going to be as a state.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (32:57)
I want to stress that, that when you listen to whether it’s Dr. Gottlieb, or Dr. Birx, or Dr. Fauci, they all recommend wearing masks. They’re unanimous in recommending wearing masks. The only one that don’t want to wear masks is unfortunately the president isn’t wearing them enough and people that, I don’t know, they look up on Google or something, and they know the size of molecules that are coming out of your mouth. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t. That argument makes no sense. I mean, to have a protest about wearing masks is ridiculous. I wear a mask for all of you and you wear a mask for me. That’s what this is about. That’s why we wear masks. It works.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (33:38)
Now I can attest, Dr. Fauci will admit to it, he’s not the greatest, he’s a phenomenal doctor, not the best pitcher in the world, if you saw his pitch, but his job is to make sure you don’t catch anything. I think that’s what he was amplifying with that pitch. Thank you.

Speaker 3: (33:52)
Do you guys have any concern that Clark County is in the red zone? What’s your response to us being there?

Governor Steve Sisolak: (33:57)
Well, I think that, again, I’m going to go back to Chair Kirkpatrick has done an incredible job. I mean, they are citing. They are closing businesses, suspending licenses. I wish I got the same amount of assistance from some of the municipalities where some of the problems are, but we’re going to start doing now some zip code analysis and send in inspectors and enforcement officers. We have to. I’m not sending in ambassadors. I’m not sending in training professionals in how to wear a mask. I think they know that by this time. I expect them to comply and to help us out here.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (34:31)
We’re in this together. If I’ve got one municipality, that’s not enforcing these laws, everybody suffers. If they want to be responsible that we’re going to have to reduce capacity in restaurants, or close gyms, or close water parks, or close salons, or whatever it’s be, it’s because of stubbornness, and that’s not fair to everybody else. That’s all. Thank you.

Governor Steve Sisolak: (34:49)
Thanks, everybody.

Speaker 9: (34:49)
Thank you, everyone.