Reno/Sparks, NV – The Washoe County Health District is not recommending traditional celebrations or gatherings with people outside of your immediate household for Halloween, Día de los Muertos and Nevada Day based on the high level of COVID-19 transmission in the community. Instead, it’s recommended that residents find other lower-risk activities to celebrate those holidays.
“The situation with COVID-19 right now in Washoe County is extremely serious and I cannot in good faith recommend any activity that could lead to increase COVID-19 transmission,” said Kevin Dick, District Health Officer for Washoe County. “The upward trend in COVID-19 cases the past two weeks has been alarming. We know that COVID-19 can be spread with close interaction and can cause serious illness and even death. What we don’t know are the health impacts to individuals later on. Because of this, I cannot recommend trick-or-treating or any holiday celebration with people outside of one’s household where masks and social distancing can’t be enforced.”
COVID-19 cases have been trending upward not only nationally but especially in Washoe County. The 7-day moving average for new cases per day is at 126.8, which is a record since the pandemic began and a 57% increase in new cases over only the past two weeks. Another record that was set yesterday was the number of active cases with 1,526. The White House Task Force and the local COVID Risk Meter both place the County as high risk of COVID-19 transmission and the State County Tracker has Washoe County flagged for elevated disease transmission.
The Health District’s guidance is consistent with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) on holiday celebrations, which includes risk categories for trick-or-treating and other activities. More information on safe trick-or-treating can be seen here.
Some of the alternate ways to celebrate upcoming holidays, per the CDC and concurred by the Health District, are below:
Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household and displaying them
Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends
Decorating your house, apartment, or living space
Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors from house to house admiring Halloween decorations at a distance
Having a virtual Halloween costume contest
Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with
Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house
Día de los Muertos
Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others
Playing music in your home that your deceased loved ones enjoyed
Making and decorating masks or making an altar for the deceased
Setting out pillows and blankets in your home for the deceased
Joining a virtual get-together celebration
The Washoe County Health District is nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board and has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. More info can be found here.