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Precautions taken to stop virus’s spread

Boulder City’s government and businesses are taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after two cases were recently confirmed in Clark County.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus. It has symptoms similar to the flu, including fever, cough and shortness of breath. According to the World Health Organization, it kills about 3.4 percent of the people it infects. As of Wednesday at noon, more than 124,500 COVID-19 cases had been confirmed worldwide, most of them in China.

Currently, five presumed positive cases have been reported in Clark County. None are in Boulder City, but to help prevent the spread the city has implemented cleaning procedures for its buildings and public areas.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and staying in contact with the Southern Nevada Health District,” said City Manager Al Noyola. “We continue to use cleaning products that kill germs and bacteria in our parks and buildings, and many offices have hand sanitizer.”

Communications Manager Lisa LaPlante said the custodial staff is spraying frequently touched areas with a Protexus Electrostatic Sprayer, which allows areas to be cleaned more effectively.

Because the virus is primarily spread through person-to-person contact, within about 6 feet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes, places where many people live or gather are at risk for greater numbers of exposure.

“The health and well-being of our residents, team members and visitors at the Southern Nevada State Veterans Home are a top priority and a responsibility we take very seriously. We are strictly adhering to all Centers for Disease Control guidelines, including staying up to date on any new information or guidance,” said Terri Hendry, communications director for the Nevada Department of Veterans Services.

She said they are carefully monitoring the situation and taking other precautions including “screening all visitors to limit COVID-19 exposure risk to our residents and team members. Our team members are already aware that if they are showing any symptoms of illness, they are to stay home.”

Schools are also being cautious. The Clark County School District recently canceled all out-of-state and international field trips for all schools until further notice.

Boulder City High School Principal Amy Wagner said field trips and tournaments for the band, robotics team, cheer team, baseball team, softball team and golf team were canceled.

According to CCSD, all out-of-state and international work-related travel for employees also has been canceled until further notice.

For local restaurants, though, no major changes have been seen yet.

“We haven’t changed or implemented anything new, per se,” said Todd Cook, owner of Boulder City Brewing Co. “Southern Nevada Health District has comprehensive health codes that we’ve followed for … 13 years. We have had some large parties cancel. For example, one was a 100-guest lunch from overseas.”

Grant Turner, co-owner of The Tap, The Dillinger Food and Drinkery and The Forge, said his restaurants haven’t been affected.

“We have rigorous hand-washing procedures and we clean the restaurants every day. … We take this pretty seriously anyway, so we’re staying on our toes,” he said.

Turner said he takes his cues from the health department, and it hasn’t announced any new procedures yet.

COVID-19 was first identified in people in Wuhan, a city in China’s Hubei province, about two months ago. Authorities say it was transmitted from an animal species to humans at a Wuhan market that sold meat and live animals.

It has spread to more than 90 countries, with Italy, Iran and South Korea reporting the most cases outside China.

Even with those cases, health officials say the current risk for Nevada’s general public is low. State officials are tracking people who have had close contact with the patient in recent weeks to determine if any of them have been infected.

Las Vegas Review Journal reporter Mary Hynes contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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