by Da Yeon Eom and Tabitha Mueller, The Nevada Independent, May 6, 2022
After more than two years, Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Friday that he would be ending the state of emergency on May 20, joining at least six other states where similar orders are expiring this month.
The decision arrives a little more than two months after the governor lifted Nevada’s mask mandate, one month after the state reduced how often it reports COVID-19 data and amid Nevada’s lowest case incidences in nearly a year.
“The COVID-19 pandemic tried and tested our State on every level. By working together across all levels of government and in every corner of the State, we … prevented our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed and continued to provide services to Nevadans in need,” Sisolak said in a statement. “I am so grateful to all the Nevadans who worked through these trying times in service of the Silver State.”
Across the state, 239 new cases were reported on average each day over the last two weeks, a significant drop from the peak in January when close to 7,000 cases were reported. Though the Omicron variant has driven a recent increase in case volume, the number of deaths has consistently fallen during that period.
Sisolak has faced continual criticism from conservative groups such as the Nevada Policy Research Institute and the Nevada Republican Party for not imposing a time limit on the declared emergency and holding onto the emergency powers after dropping the mask mandate.
“Governor Sisolak should do what is right for Nevadans and cease his abuse of emergency powers, and declare an end to the emergency in Nevada as we re-open and repair the damage he has inflicted the past four years,” party leaders wrote February in a press release following the lifting of the mask mandate.
Moving forward the state will work on phasing out directives tied to the state of emergency, such as a pause on licensing requirements that will allow the state to increase hospital staffing and permit doctors, nurses, EMTs and medical students to care for patients battling COVID-19.
Until the lifting of the emergency declaration, Sisolak’s office said Nevada will “continue to work with partners who are using the flexibility allowed by the Declaration of Emergency to ensure there is no gap in services when the emergency ends.”
Updated: May 6, 2022. The Governor’s office clarified that the state will phase out all programs connected to the state of emergency.