Jim Murren

MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren speaks at a keynote panel during the Global Gaming Expo on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Nevada's COVID-19 Task Force was created to help out the state with whatever it needs during the pandemic. Early on, it was a PPE crisis. Then the task force focused on getting students connected digitally. 

Now the two big concerns moving forward are helping schools reopen safely and getting the state more medical back-up.

"We’re not concerned about PPE or testing supplies. We’re concerned about manpower," task force leader Jim Murren said.

He said the state has a healthy supply of both PPE and test kits and it will continue to add to the stockpile. 

"We know it’s going to get worse before it gets better here," Murren said. 

The more pressing issue are the doctors and nurses who administer those tests, treatment and do contact tracing. Murren said, as an example, there needs to be more people within the health department to be able to call and check on a person's health status. 

Murren said the lack of manpower is being felt across the state in both primary-care facilities and hospitals as regular and ICU capacities go up.

He said the task force is now focusing its energy on recruiting, training and volunteering to get more medical personnel.

"We have a finite amount of resources, so we really have to rearrange what people are doing and how they do it," Murren said. 

The task force has raised $14 million since it was created in March. It’s spent $13 million. 

Some of that money went to the program Connecting Kids, which helped hundreds of thousands of CCSD students get devices and internet. Now as CCSD considers a switch to hybrid learning, the task force continues to work with the district. 

"Saying, how do we help you make sure that your elementary school is as safe and as clean and as prepared as Bellagio or Wynn? That’s the goal." 

Murren, who’s the former CEO of MGM Resorts International, is using his background in gaming to help reach that goal.

"The companies on the Strip use software companies that have protocols in place that on a daily basis have basically a scorecard. Was that bathroom cleaned? Was the cafeteria cleaned? What protocols were put into place? ... Basically taking the best practices of the private sector and saying that we’ve got to do better for the kids," Murren said. 

Murren said the same kind of system could be implemented within CCSD so principals and administrators can see in real time if there are any gaps in health safety protocols. 

Even though the task force has $1 million left of its money raised, Murren said they will raise more and get it done. 

"We’re not going to wait for the money," he said. 

Murren said making sure students and teachers have a healthy, safe transition back into schools is pressing, because of the mental health crisis with students. 

Copyright 2020 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

FOX5 Multimedia Journalist

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