Home » Entries posted by KEN RITTER Associated Press

Officials advise wearing masks in Vegas as COVID cases rise

Officials advise wearing masks in Vegas as COVID cases rise

Masks are back in Las Vegas, where a rising number of coronavirus cases has health officials advising everyone — vaccinated or not — to wear facial coverings in crowds and indoor placesBy KEN RITTER Associated PressJuly 16, 2021, 9:14 PM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleLAS VEGAS — Masks are back in Las Vegas, after regional health officials on Friday cited a rising number of coronavirus cases and advised everyone — vaccinated or not — to wear facial coverings in crowds and indoor places.The recommendation from the Southern Nevada Health District isn’t a requirement. But it affects casinos, concerts and clubs where business has boomed since restrictions were lifted and the state fully returned pandemic control measures to counties about seven weeks ago.“Both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals should wear masks when they are in crowded public settings … such as grocery stores, malls, large events and casinos,” Dr. Fermin Leguen, the region’s chief health officer, told reporters.He said the district doesn’t have authority to make masks mandatory, leaving that question to the state, county and cities.Vaccine clinics and testing are continuing at sites around the region, Leguen added.Vaccination rates have stalled in recent weeks in Nevada, a state with libertarian leanings where health officials reported Friday that about 55% of residents 12 years and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Statewide, about 46.3% are fully vaccinated.Nationally, 68% of adults have received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.An official with the union representing 60,000 Nevada casino employees issued a statement noting the risks posed to workers by people who are not vaccinated.Culinary Union official Geoconda Argüello-Kline pointed to CDC data that more than 97% of people who have been hospitalized recently with COVID-19 have not received a vaccine.The mask recommendation in Las Vegas came after Nevada health officials on Thursday reported 938 new cases of COVID-19 statewide — the biggest one-day coronavirus case jump since February — and 15 new deaths.It also followed a call from the public health chief in Los Angeles for Californians to rethink plans to travel to Nevada until COVID-19 case numbers in the Silver State decrease.Weekend visitors from Southern California have in recent months jammed Interstate 15, the main route for the 270-mile (435-kilometer) trip between Los Angeles and Las Vegas.“I do want to recommend, especially if you’re unvaccinated, reconsider traveling to places where the seven-day COVID-19 case rates are increasing or high like Nevada, our neighbor,” Dr. Muntu Davis told Los Angeles County commissioners on Tuesday.Davis also recommended using masks in indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status.Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s chief of staff, Michelle White, responded during a video conference call with reporters on Thursday with a suggestion that people travel to Nevada and get vaccinated.“That’s why we are working to make sure there are vaccination and testing locations located on places like the Las Vegas Strip. That is open any individual, workers … visitors,” White said. “We have all three vaccines offered, including the one shot. If someone is coming from out of state, that can be more convenient and we certainly encourage everyone to do so.”The Department of Health and Human Services said test positivity, a key marker of the percentage of people found to be infected among those tested for the virus, had tripled from 3.4% five weeks ago to 10.9% on Thursday.The positivity figure reported by the state Department of Health and Human Services was 12.3% in the Las Vegas area.The number of new cases reported Friday in Nevada was 866, and six new deaths. That brought to 5,758 the number of lives lost in the state to COVID-19 since March 2020.Most cases and deaths in Nevada during the pandemic have been in the Las Vegas area, home to 2.3 million people and host to tens of millions of visitors per year.On Friday, health officials in Washoe County said they had no plans to implement mask requirements or recommendations because the virus hasn’t surged in the Reno-Sparks area to the extent it has in Las Vegas.Elsewhere, local officials from Lander County and Elko have recently focused on passing pre-emptive resolutions against vaccine passports.————Associated Press writers Scott Sonner in Reno and Sam Metz in Carson City contributed to this report.

Southwest US states bake, wildfire threatens Arizona towns

Southwest US states bake, wildfire threatens Arizona towns

The Southwest U.S. continued to bake, and weather forecasters kept warnings in effect for excessive heat in Arizona and Nevada at least through the weekendBy KEN RITTER Associated PressJune 20, 2021, 4:27 AM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleLAS VEGAS — The Southwest U.S. continued to bake Saturday, and weather forecasters kept warnings in effect for excessive heat in Arizona, Nevada and desert areas, at least through the weekend.High temperature marks didn’t fall Saturday, but Phoenix reached a sweltering high of 115 degrees (46 C) for the day and Las Vegas hit 111 degrees (44 C). Both were 3 degrees shy of records for the date, forecasters said.Predicted highs on Sunday of 116 degrees (46.6 C) in Phoenix and 113 degrees (45 C) in Las Vegas were expected to fall short of high marks for June 20, the National Weather Service said.But Phoenix did set a record Saturday for consecutive 115-degree (46 C) days, meteorologist Isaac Smith said, and Sunday could extend the record to six days.Neither city was expected to reach record highs on Sunday of 118 degrees (48 C) in Phoenix and 117 degrees (47.2 C) in Las Vegas.In Arizona, fire officials blamed extreme heat for the spread of a wildfire that started late Wednesday and grew by Saturday to nearly 27 square miles (70 square kilometers) near Strawberry and Pine, mountain towns east of Interstate 17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff.Evacuations were ordered Friday while aircraft and about 100 firefighters fought flames in rugged pinyon juniper, chaparral, brush and cactus. Officials reported zero containment and scheduled a virtual community meeting late Saturday on Facebook to update residents on efforts to suppress the fire.Smith, in Phoenix, and meteorologist Andy Gorelow in Las Vegas said temperatures should ease through the coming week but could again top 110 degrees (43.3 C) in the region next weekend.Las Vegas tied a record Saturday for the highest low daily temperature, at 88 degrees (31 C), and Phoenix notched 91 degrees (32.7 C) to eclipse its so-called high-minimum mark of 86 degrees (30 C) set in 1959.Excessive heat warnings remained in effect until late Sunday in the region, also including nearby California and Utah desert areas.

OJ Simpson keeps fighting in Vegas against Goldman judgments

OJ Simpson keeps fighting in Vegas against Goldman judgments

LAS VEGAS — O.J. Simpson will keep fighting recent court orders in Nevada that he owes at least $60 million in judgments stemming from the 1994 killings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman, his lawyer said Friday.Attorney Malcolm LaVergne said he intends to ask the Nevada Supreme Court to overturn one judge’s order to pay the slain man’s father, Fred Goldman, and another judge’s order in favor of Paul Dorsey, a Connecticut man holding rights to collect the wrongful death claim of Ron Goldman’s mother, Sharon Rufo.“I will be appealing both of those,” LaVergne said, “and there will be more motions at the trial level.”The flurry of court activity represents another turn in a more than two-decade fight by Ron Goldman’s parents to collect some $33.5 million that a California civil jury ordered Simpson to pay in 1997, two years after he was acquitted of double murder in what came to be known as “The Trial of the Century.”New court filings followed a March 31 settlement of Simpson’s 2019 lawsuit against The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, a hotel-casino where he alleged he was defamed by unnamed employees telling a celebrity news site he had been banned from the property in November 2017 for being drunk and disruptive.LaVergne refuses to say if money changed hands in the settlement.“They can’t prove there are any settlement proceeds,” he said Friday, promising to litigate “to the very end.”In court filings, attorneys for The Cosmopolitan point to a confidentiality clause of the agreement and declare the resort “did not give any money or property to Mr. Simpson pursuant to the settlement.”The Cosmopolitan previously argued that Simpson couldn’t be defamed because his reputation was already tarnished by his criminal and civil trials in the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend, and by his conviction and imprisonment in Nevada in a 2007 armed robbery case.Simpson was convicted in Las Vegas in 2008, but has always maintained he and five men confronting two memorabilia dealers at a casino hotel room were just trying to retrieve personal mementoes stolen from him following his 1995 acquittal in Los Angeles. Two of the men had guns.Attorney Craig Newman, representing Dorsey, pointed Friday to a June 7 court order keeping Simpson on the hook for at least $4.6 million. But Newman acknowledged there can be more court fights — including to determine if Simpson actually received money from The Cosmopolitan.Attorney Larson Welsh, representing Goldman, was out of the office Friday and did not immediately respond to emails about a June 3 ruling favoring Fred Goldman.The slain man’s father has hounded Simpson for years and contends Simpson has never willingly paid any of the judgment. Nevada court records list the amount of Goldman’s claim now at $58 million.Simpson, 74, lives in a gated golf course community in Las Vegas. He remains on parole following his release from prison in July 2017 after serving nine years for armed robbery, kidnapping and assault with a weapon.The NFL Hall-of-Famer, former sports commentator, movie actor and commercial pitchman has declined to discuss his finances other than to say he lives on pensions.