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LV casinos partner hospital to coordinate Covid-19 testing


Las Vegas casinos have partnered the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada (UMC), the Culinary Health Fund and the Las Vegas Convention Center to test all gaming employees for the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) before they return to work.

MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment and Boyd Gaming are among the casino operators taking part in the scheme

“As we prepare to reopen our southern Nevada properties, the health and safety of our customers, our team members and our communities is our utmost priority,” Keith Smith, president and chief executive of Boyd Gaming, said.

“Through this expansion of our partnership with UMC, we can do our part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and demonstrate our commitment to offering a safe and entertaining environment for everyone.”

UMC and the Culinary Health Fund – which provides healthcare benefits to members of the Culinary Union Local 226, Nevada’s largest union – intend to collect up to 4,000 samples per day to be tested.

“Covid-19 testing ensures that Culinary Union members are safe when they return to work,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Union. “The health and safety of both workers and casino guests is our top priority.”

The testing will be conducted at the Las Vegas Convention Center. It is expected to begin on 21 May and results should be confirmed within 48 hours of the test.

“In response to this unprecedented public health crisis, we have seen an unparalleled level of collaboration between private industry, community leaders and the health care community,” UMC chief executive Mason Van Houweling said.

“As a result of the hard work and dedication of our health care professionals on the front lines of this crisis, UMC now has the capacity to run 10,000 COVID-19 tests per day. 

“With valuable support from our community partners, this increased testing capacity allows UMC to detect new cases of Covid-19 and safeguard the health of our friends, neighbors and family members across Southern Nevada.”

Positive results will be provided to the employee and sent to the Southern Nevada Health District for contact tracing.

“Caesars appreciates the gaming industry and union partnership with UMC to test our employees for Covid-19,” Tony Rodio, chief executive of Caesars Entertainment, said. “All Caesars employees would complete a pre-screening questionnaire and the results would determine the need for a Covid-19 test before returning to work.”

Earlier this month, the Nevada Gaming Control Board issued its health and safety guidelines for casinos to reopen after closing in March.

In order to open, casinos must create and put into place a plan to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other infectious diseases at their facilities.

In addition, occupancy limits will be halved in order to increase the distance between players to prevent transmission of the virus.

The number of places at each gaming table will also be cut to three players per blackjack table; six players per craps table; four players per roulette table; and four players per poker table.

In addition, licensees must “ensure that the floor plan for gaming machines creates proper social distancing between patrons,” with the Gaming Control board suggesting removing chairs at every other slot in order to create spacing.