Nevada Guardsmen have been at the forefront of operations at Cashman Center since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 pandemic a health emergency over a year ago.
The Cashman Center is a 483,000 square foot complex that sits on 55 acres in the heart of Las Vegas, Nev. It includes an outdoor field and an enclosed 98,100 square foot convention center.
The facility has hosted numerous local and national events to include the 2008 Democratic Presidential Debates.
Cashman has been at the center of multiple response initiatives aimed at assisting federal and local agencies in the fight against the coronavirus. The Nevada Guard’s Joint Task Force 17 personnel have been on the frontlines during this battle for the entire time the site was being utilized.
Isolation and Quarantine (ISO-Q) Complex
In April of 2020, the City of Las Vegas opened up the ISO-Q facility at the Cashman complex to help curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus among the homeless population in the valley.
More than 100 Nevada Guardsmen assisted in the effort and helped serve over 230 displaced people in quarantine to recover from the disease.
“Our mission is to support the civilian personnel who are short staffed here,” 1st Lt. Christopher Banford with the Task Force said. “We help manage logistics and run operational support for displaced people at this facility.”
The ISO-Q operations staff administered over 800 COVID-19 tests, helped twenty test-positive individuals recover, and conducted over 17,000 health screenings before they closed shop on June 30, according to staff reports.
“Our mission is to provide care to our homeless, especially those that have been exposed to COVID-19,” Incident Commander Dr. Lisa Morris Hibbler said. “We are also working with local hospitals so that we can be a relief valve to those individuals who would have otherwise been sent home to recover. This is a 24/7 operation and we are extremely pleased to have the Guard here to help.”
Community-Based Collection Site
Once again, the Task Force spearheaded the effort to convert Cashman center into the largest CBCS in the state of Nevada. The site began to offer free COVID-19 tests in August 2020 for Las Vegans.
The Southern Nevada Health District and several other agencies worked alongside Guardsmen to test over 500,000 residents before Cashman transitioned into the largest vaccination site in the Silver State.
“We want to be able to get a good sample size of our community, not just test those who are symptomatic,” Sgt. Robert Anderson said. “We want to be aware of those who have been exposed so we can know the true rate of spread in our community.”
Clark County saw 97,608 total cases and 1,641 deaths Nov. 17 last year. As of May 5, 2021, the total number of cases hit a record 245,358 with 4,322 deaths, according to the SNHD.
Deputy Incident Commander Noah Wheatley, with the Clark County Fire Department, advised that their goal was to have over 2,000 people tested per day.
“When we have vaccinations available for this volume of people, we will be better prepared for when they’re ready to be distributed,” Wheatley said. “We’ll be able to take what we learned here and transition our roles to apply the vaccines.”
Vaccination ramp up
The mass vaccination site at Cashman fired up its operations in January 2021. It is one of the country’s largest COVID-19 vaccination clinics and just last week saw a record 6,000 plus doses administered in one day. As of May 5, 2021, there have been 1,476,570 COVID-19 vaccines administered in Clark County, according to SNHD reports, with Cashman Center being one of many sites at the epicenter of this accomplishment.
Facebook member, Mark Smith, commented about the great work the Guard and Sgt. John Huss has been doing at Cashman.
“I especially want to call your attention to Sgt. Huss, who is assigned to the Cashman vaccination facility.” Smith wrote. “He has helped provide a community service with a professionalism in his work to ensure that every possible dose is administered. He manages the process and openly communicates in a clear and precise manner, answering every single question of a crowd over 100 people every morning.”
The Silver State hit many milestones during vaccine distribution. One such achievement was that it had the ninth highest utilization rate in the country. It used 91% of its allocated vaccines compared to the national average of 85%, Nevada health officials said in March. Cashman was a large contributor to the effectiveness of vaccine allocations.
“My team is the first set of people you will meet when you come to Cashman,” Sgt. John Huss said. “It’s about customer service. The smaller amount of people I have on the list means we’re getting more people vaccinated. The day we get rid of the list is a good day because it means everyone’s getting in.”
Cashman Center is set to close another chapter in its fight against COVID-19. The district and its partners will begin to shift resources to smaller pop-up clinics in order to facilitate the vaccination effort.
The Task Force began standing up the Texas Station and Casino vaccine site May 10. Large-scale operations will continue at the Las Vegas Convention Center as resources shift, but Cashman will remain in the history books as a pivotal place in the fight against the coronavirus.
For more information please visit: https://covid.southernnevadahealthdistrict.org/vaccine/distribution/