LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Gov. Steve Sisolak said he was putting "lives before dollars" as it relates to the timeline of reopening Nevada. When will that be? Sisolak said he's relying on the guidance of medical experts before even entertaining the idea of lifting the shutdown.
"I will take the action that is most appropriate for the state of Nevada," Sisolak said. "I cannot end the shutdown until we feel like we're in a good position."
Schools were ordered closed March 15. Since then, families and educators have been expected to provide distance learning opportunities for the youth of Nevada. Two days later, nonessential businesses and casinos were shuttered March 17.
Some Las Vegas officials have been critical of the shutdowns, pleading with the governor to reopen the state to save the economy.
In a Thursday interview with FOX5, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said Las Vegans are suffering without jobs to put food on their tables. With a flawed unemployment system, Nevadans have struggled to secure enough funds for basic necessities outside of workplace compensation.
"I'm not going to respond to the attacks or comments made about me," Sisolak said. "I know it's tough to stay home, I know that, but I'm putting lives ahead of dollars."
THE DOCTOR IS IN
Sisolak invited Director of Nevada State Public Health Laboratory Dr. Mark Pandori to explain the progress of testing in the state.
On March 24, Nevada was one of three states given FDA approval to develop and assess COVID-19 testing independent of the federal agency. Pandori outlined the process for the system Nevada has developed since then.
Prior to the state's newfound testing freedom separate from the FDA, Nevada was relying on federal aid for kits. Now, the collection kits are out of supply nationwide. In order to overcome this hurdle, the state lab began constructing their own kits.
"We knew this was something we could build," Pandori said. "A kit is a swab and a transport tube and the fluid inside the transport tube."
WHAT DOES A TEST LOOK LIKE? IT'S 3 STEPS:
- Swab nasal passage to collect specimen, place in collection kit
- Extract viruses chromosomes with kit
- Detect the virus chromosome, if present
During testing, the lab also discovered a shortage of swabs. The lab will also construct these materials, but testing is still a learning process and the system takes time.
"We're not going to put a magic number on the amount of tests needed until the coast is clear," Pandori said. "I don't want to imply that this is enough. We have testing function, but if we want to move forward, we are going to need to do more."
HOW DO I KNOW IF A NEED A TEST?
"COVID-19 has symptoms," Pandori said. "Primarily fever, accompanied by a cough or shortness of breath. Consult your healthcare provider immediately."
If necessary, tests are ordered by health care providers. These tests are conducted at public health labs or equipped hospitals that provide testing.
IF I TEST NEGATIVE WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
When test results for COVID-19 are negative, it only indicates a patient is negative at that moment. It does not determine a person's exposure or ability to become positive in the future.
SISOLAK'S REOPENING TIMELINE
Reopening will be gradual, Sisolak said, possibly by industry.
"It's not going to be flip on the light switch and everything goes back to normal because that's not how we're doing things," Sisolak said. "I do not know when that time is going to be. It would be unfair to you to just guess on a date. I won't do that."