Washoe follows Clark County’s lead and keeps self-isolation info secret

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This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. (CDC photo and caption)
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This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. (CDC photo and caption)

Like its counterpart in Southern Nevada, the Washoe County Health District is refusing to say how many people have been asked to self-quarantine to guard against the spread of Covid-19, also known as the coronavirus. 

Spokesman Scott Oxarart originally said the Centers for Disease Control sent the Washoe Health District an advisory that it should not make the information public.  But Oxarart later said he was unable to find that notice. 

“We do not release these numbers as they do not indicate a severity of disease or suspect disease in any manner,” Heather Kerwin, Epidemiology Program Manager, Washoe County Health District, said in a statement. “This can be confusing to the public and is meaningless in terms of quantifying potential risk to the community and these numbers change by the hour. If we do get a confirmed case, we may choose to change this process.”

The first patient diagnosed with Covid-19 in the United States without a known source of infection is a resident of Solano County in Northern California, about 200 miles from Washoe County. 

Americans evacuated from China who have tested positive for the virus are being housed at Travis Air Force Base, which is in Solano County. 

California is among numerous states making public the number of people asked to self-isolate.  That number is currently at about 8,000 according to the state’s health department.

The Nevada Department of Public Health has declined to say whether it supports keeping the information secret.  Gov. Steve Sisolak says he’s deferring to the department. Sisolak is sheduled to hold a press conference on the coronoavirus Friday.

Dana Gentry
Reporter | Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist. She is a graduate of Bishop Gorman High School and holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. She later became a reporter at Channel 8, working with Las Vegas TV news legends Bob Stoldal and the late Ned Day. Gentry left her reporting job in 1985 to focus on motherhood. She returned to TV news in 2001 to launch "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan. Dana is the mother of four adult children, three cats, three dogs and a cockatoo.