- Associated Press - Friday, April 30, 2021

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Gov. Steve Sisolak said Friday the panel he appointed to oversee Nevada’s coronavirus pandemic response won’t meet regularly after June 1, the date he has set for lifting coronavirus mitigation restrictions except mask mandates.

Caleb Cage also will step down as COVID-19 response director and return to the Nevada System of Higher Education with a promotion to vice chancellor of workforce development and chief innovation officer, the governor and the university system announced.

Sisolak praised Cage for “a year of selfless public service” and called Cage’s emergency management leadership and expertise invaluable to the state.

“While the pandemic is not yet over, our state response efforts will naturally transition as the situation evolves and we focus on mass vaccination of Nevadans,” the governor said.

Cage has served in various state administrative capacities for 20 years and was an associate vice chancellor at the university system when Sisolak tapped him in March 2020 to head the COVID-19 Mitigation and Management Task Force. He’s a United States Military Academy graduate who served five years in the U.S. Army in Germany and Iraq.

The task force began regular meetings last August. Sisolak said it will continue to meet through May, while the state’s 17 counties assume full local control of COVID-19 restrictions.

In Clark County and Las Vegas, capacity limits increase Saturday to 80% occupancy while social distancing will be reduced to 3 feet (0.9 meters).

Clark County plans to allow 100% casino and business occupancy once 60% of eligible residents get at least a first COVID-19 vaccine dose. As of Friday, the rate was 45%.

In Washoe County and Reno, businesses could be allowed to operate at full capacity next week if they have enough space and still comply with a 6-foot (1.8-meter) person-to-person distance requirement.

Weekly COVID-19 Task Force calls with the media will end in June, Sisolak said.

State health officials on Friday reported 510 new cases of COVID-19 and five more deaths. The Department of Health and Human Services has reported 315,438 cases and 5,464 deaths since the pandemic began.

Nevada’s 14-day test positivity rate, a measure of the number of people whose coronavirus tests come back positive, remained unchanged at 5.7%. The World Health Organization goal is 5% or below to relax restrictions.

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