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Commissioners hear updates on COVID-19 response and expanded testing for Washoe County citizens

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Amy Ventetuolo

Reno, Nev. May 26, 2020The following highlights several important agenda items from the Washoe County Board of County Commissioners meeting: 

1. Washoe County Health District Officer shares update on COVID-19 response.Washoe County Health District (WCHD) Officer, Kevin Dick, shared a COVID-19 emergency response update which included the impact of COVID-19 on Washoe County and local emergency services, including impacts on hospitals and hospital capacity, and the availability and status of COVID-19 testing and antibody testing. 

During the week of June 1, WCHD will make asymptomatic testing available for anyone interested in receiving a test regardless of symptoms. Beginning on May 29, interested individuals can go to the website, www.covid19washoe.com and complete a form available in English and Spanish, or call the Hotline at 775-328-2427, or Washoe311 by dialing 3-1-1 from any phone 

In addition, in a study conducted in partnership with the Health District and University of Nevada, Reno, will work to identify how many people in our community have been exposed to COVID-19. Over 1,000 letters were sent to a random selection of households inviting them to join the study with one adult receiving a free antibody test and the other members of the household receiving free COVID-19 tests. 

Dick also shared we currently have reported 54 COVID-19 deaths in our community just since March, and looking at the past couple years over flu season we had an average of 16 deaths total, stressing the importance of vigilance, mask wearing and social distancing. Currently there are 559 active cases with each individual being assigned a person to monitor symptoms and ensure adequate quarantine accommodations.  

“We need to continue to be responsible, wear face coverings and maintain social distancing,” stated Dick. “We need to work together so that we can reopen”. Click here to see local elected officials share why they choose to wear face covering in this #ShareYourWhy video. 

2. Commissioners heard an updateon Washoe County Business Guidelines. Commissioners heard a presentation by Washoe County Assistant County Manager, David Solaroto update the Board on Washoe County processes for enforcement of the Governor’s COVID-19 Directives concerning businesses and business operating guidelines. The county has created Washoe County Phase 1 Guidelines that outline specifics for Washoe County businesses in alignment with the directives from the Governor. 

Solaro also shared business enforcement practices in unincorporated Washoe County, as well as suspending late penalties and other disciplinary practices. Our businesses have been very responsive to our needsthey all want to be open,” stated Solaro. “We have been working with each of those businesses when they call with questions, I know City of Reno and City of Sparks have been doing the same; it’s a regional approach.” 

3. Waste Management update.Commissioners heard an update from Waste Management sharing their response to support Washoe County residents, as they are an essential service. Greg Martinelli, Area Manager, shared they are protecting employees, communication and solutions for customers and working together with the county.  

Commissioners requested more information from Martinelli regarding the Waste Management rate increase and when suspended Waste Management services will be restored. County Manager, Eric Brown, requested in a letter on April 10, 2020 to delay the annual rate increase for Washoe County residents, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however the rate increase moved forward. 

The rate change at a time like this is very difficult, especially since certain services were reduced, extra bags eliminated, Spring pick up date canceled,” stated Commission Chair, Bob Lucey. “I am hoping these comments will be taken back to your management, and we get some resolution quickly. 

4. Food service contract for Our Place receives approval.County Commissioners approved an expansion of a food service contract to include women staying at Our Place, homeless housing project. The 13-month agreement between the Washoe County Human Services Agency and Elior North America DBA Valley Services Inc., will not exceed $270,000 and takes effect June 1, 2020. 

Our Place homeless housing project is currently under construction and will support hundreds of Washoe County women and families experiencing homelessness, with an anticipated opening later this spring.   


Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »