News from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Hospital Foundation |

News from Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Hospital Foundation


It is interesting how history repeats itself. During the summer of 1918, a devastating second wave of the Spanish flu arrived on U.S. shores. Carried by World War I doughboys returning home, the virulent virus traveled from Boston to San Francisco.

Killing a staggering 20 to 50 million worldwide, historians share that certain U.S. cities fared far worse than others with evidence pointing to the earliest and most well-organized responses slowing the progression of the disease.

While it is hard to miss coverage about recent upticks of COVID-19 cases across the nation, it is important that we keep our focus on the rapid surge of cases in Nevada County. Now is the time for all of us to be diligent and ensure we are doing our part to reduce the spread in our community.

We are learning more about the Delta variant, a mutation of the original virus. Mutations are the result of subtle changes in the genetic make-up. While many mutations are often inconsequential, some variants are more infectious and deadly.

Today, the Delta variant accounts for over 80% of new infections. While it is possible for fully vaccinated people to become infected by the Delta variant, those cases are rare and illness is generally mild or without symptoms. Unvaccinated people are at higher risk for illness, hospitalization, and death.

According to CommonSpirit Health (CSH) Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bob Weibe (the nonprofit health system under which Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital (SNMH) is affiliated), inpatient census has more than doubled in the last two weeks across at CSH hospitals.

Vaccinations and masking continue to be the most effective way for people to protect themselves and others. For more than a year, SNMH has required all individuals working and entering the hospital to wear a well-fitting mask.

“We are extremely fortunate in our country that there are exceptionally effective and safe vaccines to prevent serious disease and death from COVID-19. Close to 350 million doses have been safely administered and serious side effects have been extremely rare,” commented Wiebe.

The State of California is taking decisive action to combat the spread of COVID-19 by implementing a standard to require state workers and workers in health care and high risk congregate settings to either show proof of a full vaccination, or to be tested at least once a week. This executive order goes into effect on August 23.

Back to 1918, there was a lot of debate during the second wave as to whether the Liberty Loan parade should go on as it was expected to attract several hundred thousand Philadelphians. Within 72 hours after the parade, all 31 hospitals in the region were full and 2,600 people tragically lost their lives.

Vaccination is clearly the best protection against COVID-19, although some continue to hold fast to their conviction of not getting vaccinated. With the recent increase in cases, it is important that we all act responsibly to do whatever we can including masking up to protect not only ourselves, but others as well.

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