CEO Matt Maddox of Wynn Resorts announced on October 1 that the casino-hotel company is set to build its very own COVID-19 testing lab at its Las Vegas Strip property, Wynn Las Vegas, as a way for a faster comeback to events.
According to The Nevada Independent, Maddox says studies show many potential visitors to the Southern Nevada choose not to travel to Sin City due to fear of contracting the novel coronavirus from infected individuals. He said, "We must alleviate that fear."
Maddox says that this can be done by conducting an all-scale, quick COVID-19 testing. Along with the help of Georgetown University, leading labs in California and New York, and the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, Wynn Las Vegas is going to build a coronavirus laboratory at the Strip casino resort which would be able to conduct thousands of rapid tests every day, with same-day results. Construction is already in progress.
Maddox says that the Wynn/UMC lab will offer patrons and employees a testing center that is most accurate in America and will use FDA-approved polymerize chain reaction (PCR) technology.
As his mentor Steve Wynn stepped down in early 2018 amid allegations of sexual misconduct, Maddox took over and has since then led Wynn Resorts as CEO.
Las Vegas Recovery
Nevada is one of the places on earth that relies heavily on tourism, and the state's biggest city is still reeling as a result of the viral pandemic.
Visitor counts remain low, with August only getting 1.5 million visitors in Las Vegas - a 57% year-over-year decline. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the Las Vegas strip was $317 million, a 25% drop compared to August last year.
All big gatherings and conventions are not allowed, but this could change in the remaining months of this year. Recently, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has announced that big venues which can hold over 2,500 people are finally allowed to operate at 10% capacity indoors, and smaller venues can operate at 50% capacity or 250 people, whichever is less.
Maddox states that the government alone is not enough to restart Las Vegas to its full former glory, "Many of the city's unique and fun experiences are not operating at all because they are mass gatherings. Our elected officials are rightly focused on keeping people safe. I'm happy to see the progress moving the mass gathering limit to 250 but hoping our government alone will also solve getting Las Vegas back on track is not viable. Hope, as the saying goes, is not a strategy. Instead, community leaders must present science-based options that advance our broader goals to reignite our city."
How the test works
Maddox says anyone who gets tested in the Wynn/UMC lab will have their results in just hours on a free mobile app. The data is kept private.
If the COVID-19 test shows a negative result, then that person will be allowed to enter a convention, show, nightclub, or any other crowded establishment.
If the test is positive, Maddox said, "If by chance, someone is infected after they take the test, science tells us that it takes approximately 48 hours for that person to become communicable."
He continued, "We are not planning on creating a full "Wynn bubble" by testing everyone in every environment, but instead requiring a test for employees to work or guests to attend a show, convention, nightclub or other crowded space that exceeds the "mass gathering" state-mandated limits. Clearly, we will need approval from the state to execute this plan, but having worked closely with leading medical experts around the country, I believe that this approach can accelerate Nevada's recovery, and not just for the Las Vegas Strip, but also to reopen our schools.
Nothing in life is 100 percent safe but establishing these safe zones by testing thousands of people per day with the PCR test, dramatically mitigates the danger of community spread and, with empirical evidence and careful execution, will work. The probability of a contagious COVID carrier entering a "safe zone" is less than one-tenth of 1 percent.
I do hope a vaccine will be available and widely adopted soon, but we can't wait. We want Nevadans back to work and our kids back to school. We owe these efforts to our visitors and to the citizens of Las Vegas whose lives and futures depend on Las Vegas attracting millions of tourists and getting back to the business of fun.
I see recovery on the other side of this turbulent river, but patiently waiting for the waters to subside is not the most effective approach. Rapid tests and safe zones are the stepping stones we can use to continue to cross this river."