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Positive plague test results lead to closures in South Tahoe

The Forest Service has closed the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Kiva Beach and their respective parking areas through Friday. (Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune)

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Based on positive plague tests and planned vector control treatments, the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Kiva Beach and their respective parking areas will be closed through Friday, officials announced this weekend.

The positive tests were found in chipmunks with no human contact, said El Dorado County spokesperson Carla Hass on Monday.

The Tallac Site, Kiva picnic parking area will remain open and visitor center staff and volunteers will be at the Tallac Historic Site. The Forest Service said vector control will complete its eradication treatments on Thursday and the areas will likely be reopened prior to the weekend.

According to El Dorado County Public Health, plague is naturally present in many parts of California, including higher elevations, and advises to be cautious around animals that can carry it.

“It’s important that individuals take precautions for themselves and their pets when outdoors, especially while walking, hiking or camping in areas where wild rodents are present,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams in a press release last year when a person was the first in five years in California to contract plague. “Human cases of plague are extremely rare but can be very serious.”

Plague is an infectious bacterial disease that is spread by squirrels, chipmunks and other wild rodents and their fleas. People can become infected through close contact with infected animals or the bite of an infected flea.

Officials say symptoms of plague usually show up within two weeks of exposure to an infected animal or flea and include fever, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes. Plague can be effectively treated with antibiotics if detected early.

Plague can be prevented by avoiding contact with these rodents and their fleas, and by keeping pets away from rodents and their burrows. Human cases of plague are rare.

For more information about plague, visit the CDPH website.

The Tahoe Daily Tribune is a sister publication of the Sierra Sun.

Vaccine clinic hours to be reduced

With vaccine availability more widespread and local demand dwindling, the Nevada County Public Health Department is planning to reduce hours at the Whispering Pines clinic throughout July. Please see the media release on our website: https://mynevadacounty.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=3955.

This week, over 60% of Nevada County adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Public Health’s REACH Team will provide pop-up clinics in hard-to-reach communities and in-home vaccinations for those unable to leave the house for medical reasons.

The REACH Team will also work with local businesses to vaccinate their staff. Business owners interested in scheduling a vaccination event for their employees can submit a request at MyNevadaCounty.com/BizVax.

Vaccine opportunities will still be available at local pharmacies and clinics. Nevada County residents can schedule their free appointment online at MyTurn.ca.gov or by calling 1-833-422-4255. MyTurn automatically shows open appointments within a 50-mile radius.

Source: Nevada County

The COVID-19 Vaccine

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect ourselves, our community and the wisdom of our elders. Over 90% of doctors in the United States have already been vaccinated, including myself.

Over the last several months, California has made amazing progress in our fight against COVID-19. With more than 34 million vaccines administered, we now have among the lowest case and positivity rates in the nation. The sooner we all get vaccinated, the quicker we can get back to living our lives freely.

If you have not received your vaccine, it is normal to have questions. At Chapa-De, our team is here to provide our patients with helpful information and education so that they feel confident in making well-informed decisions about their health.  

Here are some of the most common COVID-19 vaccine questions we are hearing from our patients. Let’s work to combat COVID-19 together!

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

Millions of people throughout the country have now safely received the COVID-19 vaccines. These vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in history. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe, free and effective.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me sick?

You cannot get COVID-19 from any of the vaccines. They do not have a live virus or other infectious material in them. After getting a vaccine, you may have some side effects, such as a slight headache, nausea or tiredness. These are normal signs that your body is building protection and they should go away in a day or two.

How were the vaccines developed so quickly – were corners cut?

The COVID-19 vaccines were thoroughly tested, and no phases of the clinic trials were skipped. Due to the urgent need to save lives and reduce hospitalization rates, the administrative steps were cut, and doctors and scientists were given the resources to complete the rigorous scientific process. There were steps that were done at the same time, but safety measures were scrutinized by multiple regulatory agencies including the FDA, ACIP (physicians who specialize in vaccines), and California’s task force of physicians on vaccination. 

Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me infertile?

No. There is no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems (problems trying to get pregnant).

If I had COVID-19, do I still need a vaccine?

If you tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered, we still recommend you be vaccinated against the virus because your natural immunity declines over time and reinfection is possible.

If I am young and healthy, why do I still need a vaccine?

While you may be young and healthy, the effects of COVID-19 are unpredictable, and symptoms can be severe, long-lasting and potentially life-threatening. We urge all individuals to get vaccinated to ensure that infection and hospitalization rates remain low across the state so that we can all return to the activities that we love. 

How can I get my vaccine today?

COVID-19 vaccines are available at Chapa-De for established patients age 18 and over. If you are not a Chapa-De patient, we encourage you to visit myturn.ca.gov to locate a walk-in clinic or schedule a free vaccination appointment for all individuals age 12 and older.  

If you still have concerns, please contact your medical provider for more information. Chapa-De is currently accepting new patients. For more information, please visit chapa-de.org.

Dr. Alinea Stevens is the Medical Director and a Physician at Chapa-De Indian Health. She provides compassionate, high-quality adult and pediatric primary care to all people, regardless of their financial situation. Her professional interests include Prenatal Care, Pediatrics and Substance Use services.

Dr. Marlowe Dieckmann Empowers Patients at Chapa-De Indian Health

Dr. Marlowe Dieckmann, MD/MPH says she is passionate about working closely with her patients to determine the best care plan for their individual needs.  

“I recognize that every single one of my patients has unique values and preferences. My approach to care is centered around providing a safe space where patients of all ages and identities feel welcome and respected,” said Dr. Dieckmann. “I am a people person and enjoy the rewarding opportunity to educate and empower my patients to be their healthiest self.”

Dr. Dieckmann recently joined the team at Chapa-De Indian Health where she provides adult and pediatric medical care. She says she was immediately drawn to the physical beauty of the Grass Valley health center and the talented community of providers.

“Chapa-De is a vibrant team of supportive, caring people who are committed to helping our patients as much as we possibly can,” Dr. Dieckmann shares. “I feel lucky to have the ability to work for a health center that enables me to care for all people, regardless of their financial situation.”

Dr. Dieckmann was born in the Bay Area and spent much of her childhood traveling internationally for her father’s work. It was during her time abroad that she witnessed extreme poverty and became devoted to finding a way to help those less fortunate.

Dr. Dieckmann earned her Master of Public Health at University of California, Berkeley and attended medical school at University of Louisville School of Medicine. Her residency was completed at Dignity Health Methodist Hospital of Sacramento Family Medicine Residency Program.

In her spare time, Dr. Dieckmann enjoys all outdoor activities, including river rafting, kayaking and snowshoeing in the nearby mountains.

“I feel fortunate to live and work in a region that provides ample opportunities for adventures, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when low-risk outdoor activities are encouraged.”

Dr. Dieckmann wants the community to know that Chapa-De is dedicated to providing a safe environment for both patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. The health center has implemented several precautionary measures and is offering video, phone and in-person appointments to patients.

“The coronavirus pandemic is unlike anything that I have seen in my lifetime,” Dr. Dieckmann said. “I encourage everyone to stay safe. Please continue to wear your masks, social distance and wash your hands frequently. We will get through this together.”

Chapa-De is currently accepting new patients. The COVID-19 vaccine is now being administered to patients in order of priority based on various factors.  For more information, please visit www.chapa-de.org.

Nevada County Partners with Tahoe Forest Hospital to vaccinate Tahoe-Truckee teachers


On Wednesday, Feb. 3, teachers from the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District received their first COVID-19 vaccinations, administered by Tahoe Forest Hospital staff and school nurses from Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. Nevada County is currently in Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations, which includes essential frontline workers.

Vaccinating educators helps children remain in or return to the classroom, where critical social interactions and the best learning takes place, while preventing outbreaks in congregate school settings and supporting parents to remain in the workplace.

“I am so thankful for the amazing collaboration between all parties – Nevada County, Tahoe Forest Hospital, Placer County and the school district,” said Kim Szczurek, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Board president, in a release. “The work of these entities, both by the elected officials and the Superintendent Chief Learning Officer, County Executive Officer, TFH CEO, and their staffs make me so proud. We have done this to protect our TTUSD staff with one goal in mind — focusing on the education and social and emotional wellbeing of our kids.”

The Tahoe Truckee educator clinic is the biggest single-day COVID-19 vaccination clinic hosted in Nevada County so far, with approximately 700 teachers and school support staff vaccinated in one day. Tahoe Forest Hospital took the lead in making this event happen for the Tahoe Truckee community.

“Tahoe Forest Health System is very happy to assist in the vaccination efforts for our educational staff in our region,” said Harry Weis, president and CEO of Tahoe Forest Health System. “Helping the students, teachers, staff and our schools return to a greater sense of normalcy or health security is very important to us!”

“From a public health perspective, we recognize the value of vaccinating school staff,” said Jill Blake, Nevada County’s Public Health director. “National data tells us that families and women in particular have been negatively impacted by schools closing, with many forced to leave the workplace and stay home because there is no school for their children and they cannot afford childcare. These vaccinations help keep teachers safe, children engaged, and parents employed.”

Nevada County has received 10,625 vaccines to date, which includes first and second doses of the vaccine. Nevada County has partnered with local hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and local healthcare providers to vaccinate our community.

“The complexity associated with vaccination programming and the actual scarcity of the vaccine has put the county in a really tough position,” said District 5 Supervisor Hardy Bullock. “Vaccinating educators and getting our schools back toward a more normal operation is a top priority. It allows our families to return to work, our children to begin learning and connect socially, and get our economy back on track. We want every person to get vaccinated. This group of educators is a catalyst, not only for learning but now our entire economy and social connection. County Public Health staff and all the officials from the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, Tahoe Forest Hospital, Placer and Nevada County have been working full time on this. I’m so proud of this decision and our teamwork; this is how government serves and leads.”


While COVID-19 vaccine supply is still limited, California is prioritizing vaccines for specific groups based on exposure risks, health risks, and health equity. My Turn is the state of California’s new tool where you can find out if it’s your turn to get vaccinated and schedule vaccination appointments. If it isn’t your turn yet, you can register to be notified when you become eligible. Although there are currently no appointments available in Nevada County via this system, we expect this to change over the next few weeks.

Find more information and ways to receive updates on COVID-19 vaccines in Nevada County at www.mynevadacounty.com/coronavirus/vaccine. Vaccination is an essential tool for ending this pandemic. Even after you are vaccinated, we must all stay vigilant and continue to wear masks, keep our distance, wash our hands, and avoid gatherings so that we can return to a more normal way of life as quickly as possible.

Source: Nevada County