Los Angeles Health Official Warns Against Traveling to Las Vegas

Posted on: July 16, 2021, 08:35h. 

Last updated on: July 16, 2021, 08:35h.

A Los Angeles health official is warning residents regarding the dangers of traveling to states experiencing a COVID-19 surge, one being Nevada.

Los Angeles Las Vegas Nevada coronavirus
Los Angeles health officials say residents, especially those unvaccinated, should avoid traveling to Las Vegas. They reason an uptick in new COVID-19 cases renders Sin City dangerous for the time being. (Image: Getty)

The US Centers for Disease and Prevention reports that Nevada, Missouri, Florida, Arkansas, and Louisiana are all experiencing concerning seven-day new case rates. Each of those states are classified as “high” community transmission, the more severe of the CDC’s four-tier scale. 

I do want to recommend — especially if you’re unvaccinated — reconsider traveling to places where the seven-day COVID-19 case rates are increasingly high, like Nevada, our neighbor,” said Los Angeles Health Official Dr. Muntu Davis in his briefing to the LA County Board of Supervisors this week.

Nevada reported 938 new cases yesterday, its highest single-day total in more than five months. Even worse, in Clark County, home to Las Vegas, the area reported 180 new cases per 100,000 people last week. That’s nearly triple the rate in Los Angeles County. 

LA Critical for LV

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) reports that in 2019 Southern California accounted for 18 percent of all visitors to Las Vegas. And Los Angeles tourists gamble more than any other origin demographic.

Visitors from Southern California spend on average (pre-pandemic) $323 on food and beverages, more than $100 shopping, and a staggering $658 gambling. They also book impromptu trips more frequently, more than half planning their Sin City excursion from one week to one month out. 

Naturally, Las Vegas casinos cater heavily to Los Angeles and Southern Nevada visitors. It’s why more than one in four (26 percent) in 2019 received a casino comp for their hotel room.

Vaccinations Increasing

Dr. Davis warning locals to avoid traveling to Nevada and Las Vegas is of course not what casino operators want to hear. But health officials in their home state say the situation is improving.

While Los Angeles has reinstated its mask mandate, including for those vaccinated, Southern Nevada Health District Officer Dr. Fermin Leguen said recently that there have been no talks to reimplement restrictions. 

State health experts say vaccinations are up 32 percent since the launch of the “Vax Nevada Days” program, which enters vaccinated individuals into a raffle for cash and college tuition prizes. 

We continue to encourage visitors and locals alike to get vaccinated,” said LVCVA spokesperson Lori Nelson-Kraft. “Visitors to Las Vegas should feel confident that we are making every effort to ensure their safety in our destination.”

Michelle White, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s (D) chief of staff, added that the administration is doing everything in its power to make Las Vegas and the entire state a safe destination. 

Las Vegas and Nevada, unlike Los Angeles and California, must endure with interstate travel via Interstate 15. Approximately 50,000 vehicles travel through Nevada on I-15 each day. 

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