Coronavirus in Nevada: Timeline of virus’ presence in Reno, statewide – Reno Gazette Journal


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After originating in China late last year, the coronavirus has spread globally.

The first case of the virus in the U.S. was reported in January 2020 and by March, it had spread to Nevada with the first case being reported in Southern Nevada and the second, right here in Reno.

Here’s a timeline of the virus’ presence locally and the community’s response to the health threat.

Feb. 26:Washoe County explains coronavirus preparations

The Washoe County Health Department announces that it is preparing for the possible spread of the virus to the area, citing a quarantine and isolation plan and the existing pandemic flu plan.

March 2:Placer County worker first in county to test positive for coronavirus

Just across the state line, a healthcare worker in Placer County was reported as being the first in the county to contract the virus.

The individual was an employee of NorthBay VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville where they were in close contact with a Solano County resident with COVID-19 was being treated before being transferred to another facility. 

The Placer County’s resident’s symptoms were described as mild, according to a release.

March 2:UNR cancels some study abroad programs

Two dozen University of Nevada students in Italy were also told to return to the U.S. A summer program in China and another program that students were planning to leave for soon in South Korea was also canceled.

More than 50 of the university’s study abroad programs were being monitored.

March 5:First coronavirus death in California occurs in Placer County 

The Placer County resident was a different person than the individual who was the first to be reported with the virus.

The deceased individual lived in Rocklin and had underlying health conditions and was likely exposed to the virus while on the Grand Princess cruise, according to the Placer County Health Department.

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Thousands of passengers remained aboard the cruise line off California’s coast after potentially being exposed to 62 others who had previously be on the ship. Passengers were confined to their rooms beginning March 5.

March 5:Washoe County man first in county to test positive for coronavirus

According to the Washoe County Health District, the man was linked to the Grand Princess cruise ship outbreak. He was reported to be in stable condition and was isolating himself in his home.

“The upside for us is this one person confirmed is not a community exposure,” Washoe County Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler said. “He was clearly on the cruise ship.”


Watch coronavirus testing kits be delivered via helicopter to the Grand Princess cruise line off the coast of California on Thursday, March 5.


March 6:Huffaker Elementary closes

Huffaker Elementary School announced that it would be closed Friday after the Washoe County Health District said the man who tested positive the previous day had a family member who attended the school.

The Washoe County School District said it didn’t know how many kids were sick or absent from school during the week. The district said it will wait for the health department to decide whether schools would be closed on Monday. 

March 7:Washoe County Emergency response elevated to Level 2

The Washoe County Health District addressed the virus at a press conference, confirming the single case in the county. At this time, officials said there are no confirmed cases at Huffaker Elementary. 

The school was closed Friday “out of an abundance of caution,” County health officer Kevin Dick said. He said the department is aware of other local residents who were on the Grand Princess cruise and that they are being monitored.

Dick said they have not identified any transmission of the virus within the community but said Washoe County elevated to a Level 2 Health District Emergency Response. He said travelers returning from China, Italy, Iran, Japan or South Korea should to self-isolate for 14 days and contact the health district.

March 7:Additional cases reported in Placer County

Three additional cases have reported in neighboring Placer County. Each of them was passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship.

Nate Chute is a producer with the USA Today Network. Follow him on Twitter at @nchute.

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