News from Washoe County

September 3, 2020

At a September 2nd meeting, Washoe County Manager Eric Brown reported on a number of topics of interest to those of us living and working in Incline Village/Crystal Bay. 
Through the efforts of Commissioners Berkbigler and Hartung, the County has launched a grant program to help local small businesses (including Incline Village/Crystal Bay small businesses) deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program has two opportunities or assistance: one for $5,000 to $15,000 based on number of employees and one for up to $5,000 for PPE. Businesses can apply for both amounts of support. Businesses can request confidential assistance at www.nevadasbdc.com or call 800-240-7094. The applications will be accepted starting next week through October 6th and will be awarded on an as-needed and first-come first-served basis. Attached is the announcement which explains the simple process for businesses to follow in order to apply for the assistance.

The County is providing some of its CARES Act funding to small businesses experiencing difficulties.  They can contact the County to request small amounts of PPE (masks, gloves, gowns, and sanitation supplies).  Contact Aaron R. Kenneston, CEM of Washoe County Emergency Management & Homeland Security Program at akenneston@washoecounty.us or call 775-337-5898 to inquire into this assistance.

Fines for businesses, especially bars and restaurants, for violating mask, social distancing and other COVID-19 related rules and regulations, have been increased and are being enforced by Washoe County.  Local businesses should take steps to cause their employees and patrons to follow the COVID-19 rules and regulations in order to avoid the increased fines and enforcement.  The increased fines and enforcement are statewide, and Washoe County is following the Governor’s directions because in Washoe County our number of cases per 100,000 and our positive test rate are above the standard set by the Governor as a threshold.  The Governor is requiring weekly meetings with the County to follow-up on enforcement efforts and is requiring the County to step up enforcement.  The fines are high, so local businesses need to be aware of this change.
The County is using CARES Act funding to increase contact tracing and testing.
The County’s testing capacity has been increased by a new Grant to Renown Hospital to expand its test capabilities.  The turnaround time for test results in the County has been unreasonably long, but is expected to be reduced to as short as 24-48 hours due to this Grant! 
The County has joined with the City of Sparks and Reno to fund a wastewater study with the University of Nevada to sample wastewater to gauge the level of the spread of COVID-19 in the County. 
The County is following the progress of Amgen’s new COVID-19 test which reportedly can be administered by a medical professional instead of a lab, and will provide results in a few hours.  While not yet ready, this could be a further improvement in our testing locally.

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