NEVADA – The public health budget in Nevada is the lowest in the US, according to the Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick. Through that message, he advocated for additional revenue in this legislative session in the form of a tax on government services.
While he was pleased with the team’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, he acknowledged that “proper or even average funding for public health would have made our community and our health district better prepared in many areas.”
The initial pandemic COVID-19 data was tracked using an Excel spreadsheet as an example.
‘Our staffing levels are much below what is required,’ he continued. “Our methods of collecting and reporting data are antiquated. Due to budget constraints and rigorous spending requirements, we are unable to meet all of the community’s public health demands.
Dick has already briefed legislators this week, and he’ll be back tomorrow to continue lobbying in favor of Senate Bill 118. This legislation allows Washoe County to levy a charge on government services. A car would be subject to a tax of 1 cent for every $1 it’s worth.
While the pandemic was happening, “our lack of adequate public health capacity, staffing, and infrastructure were harshly revealed,” Dick stated. By providing health districts and the state with this financing of around $5 per capita, we can better address public health issues in an equitable and transparent manner.
Money is needed, according to Dick, to create data platforms.
Instead of being “mandated” by the categorical funding that they currently receive from federal grants or with very limited funding from the state, he said that with the funding under the public health funds, their staffing could be dedicated to the areas that their community needs those investments in.
The bill will certainly pass with the Democratic-controlled legislature, but it will need the approval of Republican Governor Joe Lombardo.
Dick has also been providing the media with updates on the spread of COVID-19. The coronavirus epidemic has not abated and is once again spreading over the area. There are currently close to 30 infected persons hospitalized. The danger of hospitalization and death is much increased for those who do not obtain COVID vaccinations.
Cases of respiratory viruses and influenza are within the expected ranges.
Credits: This is Reno
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