LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak held a news conference Monday afternoon for the first time since the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, to provide updates on the state's COVID-19 mitigation and immunization efforts.
Sisolak opened the conference with a moment of silence for the two U.S. Capitol police officers who died after violent election protests in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6.
"Last week's events, to me, are a culmination of a lack of leadership over the last four years," he said. "The divisiveness and lack of leadership has resulted in the lack of a nationwide strategy to combat the pandemic."
Before addressing the state's COVID-19 response, Sisolak also addressed a letter from the Nye County Republicans Chairman Chris Zimmerman, saying that President Trump would be president for four more years despite certification of election results and the Electoral College vote electing Joe Biden.
"It is an embarrassment to the entire state. Do I condemn it? You bet I condemn it," Sisolak said. "The false allegations against the integrity of the election ... need to end, and end now."
The comment came after Nevada Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen in a letter on Monday urged the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate Zimmerman.
Sisolak said Washoe and Clark Counties were experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, which called for keeping mitigation measures in place from the statewide pause, for 30 more days. Per the state's guidelines, businesses including bars, restaurants, gyms and casinos must operate at 25% capacity.
The governor added that cases, hospitalizations and deaths were expected to increase over the next four weeks, as a result of activities from the holidays and New Year celebrations. As of Monday, the state had 250,249 COVID-19 cases, 1,777 related hospitalizations and 3,500 related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. The statewide test positivity rate 14-day average was 21.1% on Monday.
The governor also provided more information about when Nevadans can expect a full vaccine rollout in the state, saying this likely would not take place until "further into the year."
Recently, the state changed the age of vaccine recipients in the general population from 75 years and older to 70 years and older, meaning all Nevadans 70 years and older would be prioritized to receive the vaccine before the rest of the general population.
"Our team has recognized the importance of prioritizing our senior population and we are developing plans with partners to help with this effort, but one notable change is that the top priority under general population is 70 years and older – previously it was 75 and older," Sisolak said.
The governor emphasized that it is not in Nevada's control when they will receive additional vaccine shipments and second doses, and that the state's vaccine rollout was depending on the federal government.
"Trust me, there's no one who wants to provide that timeline or the vaccine more than me," Sisolak said, adding that the state was working on standing up vaccination clinics in populous parts of the state and recruiting workers to administer them.
Sisolak was joined by Candice McDaniel, Health Bureau Chief, Bureau of Child, Family, and Community Wellness, Division of Public and Behavioral Health; and Shannon Bennett, Immunization Program Manager, Division of Public and Behavioral Health.
Bennett said more than 60,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the state. She emphasized the importance of being strategic in administering the limited supply.
McDaniel said the department's vaccine playbook is moving away from a tiered distribution structure to "parallel lanes," meaning that essential frontline workers and high-risk populations would be vaccinated around the same time, provided that the vaccine supply arrives as expected. In the general population, ages 70 and older would receive the vaccine first, ages 65 to 69 years would be next in line, and those who are 64 to 16 years with pre-existing conditions would follow.
McDaniel said the department was working with county and local governments to prepare to roll out the vaccine under these guidelines.
"Please wait for the communication from your state and local leaders," McDaniel said.
The full news conference is available here: