facebook tracking pixel Nevada County health workers say they currently have sufficient supply of personal protective equipment | TheUnion.com

Nevada County health workers say they currently have sufficient supply of personal protective equipment

Linda Schafer, a member of the Nevada County chapter of the American Sewing Guild, models a personalized cloth mask. Many area organizations and individuals have been sewing and donating thousands of face masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Hospital staff and health workers say they currently have enough personal protective equipment to handle a possible spike in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks and months.
Photo submitted by Allen Schafter

Nevada County hospitals and nursing homes say they have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) should a COVID-19 surge occur.

“We’re feeling good about PPE — we’ve got plenty to take care of patients,” said Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital President and CEO Dr. Brian Evans. “Early projections of the pandemic looked alarming — we worried that the wave we might see here would have been impossible to deal with. So we got busy on all surge planning — it was a very robust effort.

“Then, while we were working on it, our community went into lockdown mode. As a result, the wave statisticians were predicting did not occur.”

Having now tested hundreds of residents, Evans said COVID-19 numbers are currently flat in western Nevada County. Yet this is no time to be complacent, he emphasized. With the phased reopening of businesses, testing, tracing and treating remain a priority.

“If you ask infectious diseases experts, they’d say to stay home for a year and a half. If you talk economists, they’d say no way. We have to take a balanced view on this.” — Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital President/CEO Dr. Brian Evans

“This will be a challenge,” said Evans. “With a new infection like this, we don’t know what’s going to happen as social distancing is relaxed. We need to be very cautious.”

Personal protective equipment is doled out evenly among the six Dignity Health hospitals in the region, of which Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital is one. Evans said hospital staff should be prepared should a disruption in the international supply chain occur. As a result, a greater emphasis has been placed on investing in reusable equipment, conserving existing equipment and exploring more local suppliers.

“We need to be judicious and conservative — we’re finding ways to do the same with less,” said Evans. “For example, we now have a local company making reusable face shields for us. In the past it’s been easier just to grab a disposable. But it’s not environmentally responsible, it’s more expensive and it could be a problem is the supply chain were to be disrupted.”

No shortages

Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee also reports no PPE shortages, and efforts are being made to prepare for possible increases of COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks and months.

“As far as PPE, we have not experienced any shortages — we have carefully monitored our usage very closely from day one, and have been able to continually secure enough PPE to cover our needs so far in this crisis,” said Paige Thomason, director of marketing and communications for the Tahoe Forest Health System. “We didn’t have any PPE shortages, but there were points where we were concerned about it, as every hospital was. Fortunately, we’ve been able to receive an adequate PPE supply through our normal (legitimate) vendors.”

The Truckee hospital is in an ongoing state of preparation should a COVID-19 surge occur, said Thomason, and this includes close daily monitoring of supplies and staffing. Additionally, the hospital is keeping a careful watch on county, state and national statistics regarding testing numbers, those who have tested positive and those who have been “ruled out” as candidates for the virus.

Western Nevada County rehabilitation, convalescent and nursing facilities also report a sense of readiness should COVID-19 cases rise.

“We feel good over here — we’ve got a full plan and ample PPE,” said Beth Lewis, infection preventionist at the Golden Empire Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Grass Valley. “The staff is good — we’re all getting a little tired of wearing masks, but everyone is compliant. We’ve conducted a few tests, but no one tested positive.”

As with other nursing homes, Golden Empire must adhere to a strict set of guidelines, which includes regular communication with the California Department of Public Health, the Nevada County Public Health Department and Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

Local efforts

Local efforts to provide PPE for health workers, first responders and everyday community members appear to be continuing. Examples include hand sanitizer made by South Fork Vodka in Grass Valley and the Old Trestle Distillery in Truckee; medical masks and face shields made by Autometrix, Inc. in Grass Valley; and countless cottage industry cloth mask makers.

For example, at the onset of the pandemic, members of the American Sewing Guild’s Grass Valley chapter made more than 600 masks that went directly to those in Nevada County who expressed a need. The Sacramento chapter of the guild then joined in to make medical masks for frontline medical workers who use the cloth masks to cover and protect their N-95 masks, therefore extending their use of certified masks. Starting at the beginning of March with just 33 volunteers who made 2,275 masks, it then expanded to 69 volunteers who made an additional 1,300 masks by May 1.

Since the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released new recommendations that everyone wear a mask when in public, volunteers say that more requests continue to come in every week.

“This virus will continue to be a challenge,” said Evans. “If you ask infectious diseases experts, they’d say to stay home for a year and a half. If you talk economists, they’d say no way. We have to take a balanced view on this. Lately the debate seems to be more emotional, and I believe it needs to be more analytical.

“But from the perspective of the hospital and me personally, it’s been tremendously inspiring to see that the community has our back.”


Regional housing trust fund in the works for Nevada County

Nevada County looks to emphasize smaller units

No fears of housing density among planning officials

COVID-19 protocols strain Nevada County homeless shelter’s budget

Tenants, landlords arrange payment options during COVID-19 eviction ban

Patchwork of tenant protections intact for now

The high cost of homelessness in Nevada County

Nevada City collaborates with county and nonprofits to move campers off Sugarloaf Mountain

Nevada County housing market sees increased demand, limited inventory

‘I may have now but I might not tomorrow’: No uptick in Nevada County homelessness amid COVID-19, but future concerns linger

Nevada County graduates consider options in wake of COVID-19

Nevada County students receive more than $800,000 in scholarships

Graduating seniors in Nevada county weigh financial, academic concerns for college

Career education program adapts to meet needs of students

‘I just want to play’: Players, coaches, ADs and officials eye safe, speedy return of high school sports

‘Should I jump into a career?’ Many questions remain for students, teachers and administrators as the future draws nearer

Nevada County middle schoolers, high school underclassmen unsure what to expect next year

Support systems for Nevada County teens go virtual during pandemic

Sierra College summer enrollment not slowing

‘The best they could’: Nevada County Superintendent of Schools reflects on the school year, ponders what’s to come this fall

‘I can’t see the bottom now’: Administrators consider where and whether to make layoffs amid revenue shortage

‘These kids want to ball’: Youth sports organizations grapple with tough decisions regarding COVID-19 safety

Hamstrung: Nevada County summer sports scene hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic

Nevada County theaters go dark for the year

Movie theaters struggle to cover rent, utilities in an industry that typically operates with narrow profit margin

‘Planning for all of it’: Nevada City Film Festival moves online for this year’s event

Nevada County’s music festivals look to virtual events to build community, recoup finances

For Nevada County musicians, the show goes online

Nevada County artists adapt, host online galleries, concerts and workshops

Street fair cancellations in Nevada City, Grass Valley a huge economic hit

‘We are the recovery; we are essential’: Nevada County Arts Council survey reveals artists, art organizations are struggling

Who’s zooming whom? Creativity among Nevada County artists in the pandemic era

Nevada County Arts Council receives $112K Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education grant for new project

Nevada County nonprofit funding in jeopardy

Nonprofits struggle to serve clients during pandemic shutdown

Nevada County animal rescue groups see surge in fosters, adoptions

Nevada County’s thrift stores move ahead with reopening

Possible postponement, cancellation of Nevada County Fair would negatively impact several Nevada County nonprofits

Local nonprofits feeling the effect of canceled, postponed fundraising events due to COVID-19

Feeding Nevada County: Effort to help those hungry bolstered by partnerships between nonprofits (VIDEO)

Nevada County youth organizations adjust to public health requirements

Volunteer work faces changes at Nevada County nonprofits amid restrictions

‘Do you have reserves?’ Still much uncertainty over how nonprofits will fare in coming months, years

Government business continues in isolation during COVID-19 pandemic

Nevada County, cities collaborate to reopen safely

Wildfire prep in Nevada County continues virtually during pandemic

‘This is why we signed up’: Librarian, homeless shelter manager continue working during pandemic

Financial aid offers much-needed relief in western Nevada County for those who can get it

Grass Valley trims staff in response to COVID-19 shutdown

Nevada County: Staffing, service reductions not yet needed

Nevada County property tax on par despite pandemic

Nevada County health workers say they currently have sufficient supply of personal protective equipment

Hospice of the Foothills continues providing end-of-life care during COVID-19 crisis

Senior care facilities on lockdown during COVID-19 pandemic

Residents of Nevada County senior living communities staying connected

‘Continue to plan and prepare’: Hospital analyzes finances, anticipates federal funding to ensure financial stability

Nurses in Nevada County and the region talk about why they love their jobs

Nevada County not planning to release more detailed COVID-19 case data

Officials: Testing is key in calls to reopen in Nevada County, across California

Nevada County doctors change approach to providing care due to COVID-19

The trifecta: Public health experts recommend testing, contact tracing and supported isolation to phase into a reopened world

Investigating the impact: Lack of revenue, uncertain return date causes concern for arts and entertainment venues

Impacts of Idaho-Maryland mine to be revealed soon

Nevada County artists discuss how COVID-19 shutdown has affected them

‘The arts are essential’: Center for the Arts launches emergency relief fund

Real estate sales strong in Nevada County despite challenges

No slowdown seen in Nevada County construction industry despite COVID-19 lockdown

Nevada County government, home improvement and real estate representatives talk business during COVID-19

‘I’d like to place an order’: In light of COVID-19, the demand for home delivery services in Nevada County is at an all-time high

Grass Valley, Nevada City first to feel COVID-19 economic hit

See you soon? Small business owners struggle, but are hopeful for a brighter tomorrow in Nevada County

Nevada County businesses struggle navigating economic relief

Nevada County health care providers pivot on financial tight rope

‘A sudden and dramatic downturn’: Nevada County economy will be hurt for longtime following coronavirus slowdown, expert says

‘A recession, let alone a depression’: Western Nevada County businesses apply for federal loans, but most have yet to receive money

Nevada County businesses, governments, nonprofits navigate uncertain times, worry what’s ahead




Coronavirus Guidance for Businesses/Employers

Nevada County Relief Fund for Covid-19

To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at cory@theunion.com or call 530-477-4203.

More Like This, Tap A Topic

See more

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.