Sisolak urges Nevadans get vaccinated, considers mandate for college students

By: - August 5, 2021 6:33 pm

“This is about more than contracting the virus and getting sick,” said Gov. Steve Sisolak. “It’s about protecting your fellow Nevadans, and protecting these jobs.” (Sisolak screenshot)

Gov. Steve Sisolak on Thursday announced new steps the state is taking to slow the spread of Covid-19, including considering requiring vaccines for college students, but he stopped short of implementing new restrictions or mandates. 

“I don’t want to look at more restrictions,” Sisolak said. “What I want to do is explain to people why the vaccine is effective and why it works.”

The governor continued to urge Nevadans to get vaccinated in light of growing Covid-19 hospitalizations across the state, noting that almost every Covid-19 death in the state since January was of patients who were not fully vaccinated. He emphasized the importance of Nevada’s mask mandate to protect others while they get vaccinated.

“I’m asking as nicely as I can: Please get the vaccine. It keeps our businesses open,” Sisolak said. “This is about more than contracting the virus and getting sick; it’s about protecting your fellow Nevadans, and protecting these jobs.”

Sisolak said he has asked the medical advisory team to review the possibility of requiring vaccination of students attending in-person classes at public colleges and universities under the Nevada System of Higher Education. Public health officials are already exploring how to implement a reasonable vaccine timeline for students, he added.

Earlier this week, Sisolak signed an emergency directive requiring all K-12 school staff wear masks while inside school buildings, regardless of vaccination status. The directive also requires all K-12 students in Clark and Washoe counties to wear a face mask at school, regardless of vaccination status.

“Last year our seniors lost a whole year of high school,” Sisolak said. “I don’t want to lose those memories again.”

The governor has asked the state medical advisory team for recommendations on how to increase vaccination rates in vulnerable populations, including homeless individuals and healthcare workers.

As news of large gatherings of maskless spectators circulates and the Delta variant becomes more widespread, Sisolak is also asking medical advisors to look at how to make large gatherings safer.

Nevada continues to see Covid-19 cases grow. Nevada reported 1,135 new coronavirus cases and 26 deaths on Thursday.

“Our hospitalizations have gone up,” Sisolak said. “Those surgeries are being delayed for folks because we don’t have hospital beds.”

Sisolak said amid the Delta variant surge, however, that the state hit its highest vaccine increase since early June this month.

From July to August “almost 3.5% of eligible unvaccinated Nevadans got their first dose,” Sisolak said.

“Unless we increase our vaccination rates quickly, the virus will have time to mutate, the unvaccinated will continue to fill our hospitals and place unnecessary strain on our ability to treat all patients, and our economic progress will be threatened,” Sisolak said. “That’s why we’re masking – to slow the spread as more Nevadans, as soon as possible, roll up their sleeves and get their shots.”

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Jeniffer Solis
Jeniffer Solis

Reporter | Jeniffer was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada where she attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before graduating in 2017 with a B.A in Journalism and Media Studies. While at UNLV she was a senior staff writer for the student newspaper, the UNLV Scarlet and Gray Free Press, and a news reporter for KUNV 91.5 FM, covering everything from the Route 91 shooting to UNLV housing. She has also contributed to the UNLV News Center and worked as a production engineer for several KUNV broadcasts before joining the Nevada Current. She’s an Aries.