Jim Murren, the former CEO of MGM Resorts who expedited his planned resignation from the casino company earlier this month to head the Nevada COVID-19 task force, provided an update on Monday regarding its progress. The ex-gaming executive made his address via a Facebook discussion with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Murren said Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) formed the COVID-19 Response, Relief & Recovery Task Force in order to leverage the power and capabilities of the private sector to support the efforts of the state.
The mission of the task force is to mobilize the private sector to secure much-needed supplies, equipment, and to support funding of the state’s efforts,” Murren explained.
Murren stated that no business has turned down his call to assist in Nevada’s response. Among those Murren has named to the task force is Phil Satre, chairman of the Wynn Resorts board of directors.
Nevada casinos remain closed by the health crisis. President Donald Trump extended the federal government’s social distancing guidelines through April, meaning casinos will likely remain shuttered for at least another month.
Murren says the state “critically needs” both personal protective equipment (PPE) and increased testing capabilities. The shortage of PPE, Murren says, is currently the most pressing need.
On Monday, the number of COVID-19 cases in Nevada surpassed 1,000. The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services said there are 1,008 coronavirus patients, up from 920 late Sunday. Fifteen people have died from the disease.
Clark County has the highest number of cases at 753. The county home to Las Vegas is where all 15 coronavirus deaths have occurred.
Murren’s update included the revelation that Wynn Resorts was able to procure and donate 290,000 CDC-approved respiratory masks, 600,000 surgical masks, 500,000 pairs of surgical gloves, and 2,000 medical gowns. MGM contributed 100,000 surgical masks, thousands of respiratory masks, goggles, and “hundreds of other items to the medical community.”
“I’m proud to announce some really wonderful developments that members of the group and leaders in our community accomplished in just a few days,” the ex-casino boss said. “That’s just two of the many, many examples.”
‘No Time for Resume Building’
Murren explained that when considering who to ask to join the task force, he targeted individuals who have specific skill sets and persons who would “work 24/7.”
“This is not the time for resume building,” Murren declared. “This is an Apollo 13 environment. We have major, major challenges.” Murren’s task force role
Along with Murren and Satre, the other task force members are:
- Doug Cannon – President and CEO, NV Energy
- Alex Dickson – West Region President, PureStar
- Dr. Rob McBeath – CEO, Southwest Medical Associates
- Steve Menzies – President, Focus Companies
- Scott Nielsen – President, Nielsen Consulting
- Nevada State Sen. Yvanna Cancela (D-District 10)
Murren says they all have unique relationships with various industries that will help the task force.
Murren added, “One thing I’ve learned in the many crises that we’ve dealt with in Nevada – 9/11, the Great Recession, an unspeakable evil a couple of Octobers ago – is that we have to buy ourselves some time to understand and handle the crisis in a thoughtful and intelligent way.”
“We need to buy our people time. Time to get tested, time to get treated,” Murren concluded.