‘Cases across our communities’: Officials discuss increase in county’s COVID cases | TheUnion.com

‘Cases across our communities’: Officials discuss increase in county’s COVID cases

Nevada County’s recent increase in COVID-19 cases comes amid an increase in cases across the state, said county Director of Public Health Jill Blake.

Through Thursday, 101 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported this week, according to the county’s Coronavirus Dashboard, starting the week off with 60 new cases reported Monday. According to the dashboard, 59 new cases were reported last week.

While past weeks have seen a spike in reported new cases early in the week due to pauses for weekends and holidays, as well as other logistical aspects involved in recording cases, Monday represented the highest number of new cases reported in a single day since early February.

Asked what the rise in cases could be attributed to, Blake wrote in an email Thursday that there is no overriding theme.

“There are cases across our communities, across all age groups and are as a result of social interactions as well as workplace exposures,” wrote Blake. “We know the highly contagious Delta variant is here in Nevada County and according to the California Department of Public Health, nearly 80% of the samples being tested are the Delta variant.”

County officials said earlier this month that the Delta variant had been identified in Nevada County, after six specimens which had been collected between June 3 and 15 were confirmed to the county Department of Public Health as being this variant of the virus.

“It is of great concern as it is highly contagious,” Blake wrote on the Delta variant’s arrival. “And we still have tens of thousands of unvaccinated, and therefore vulnerable, people in our county.”

On the increase in cases, county Director of Public Health Nursing Cindy Wilson wrote in an email Thursday, “Unfortunately, the arrival of the Delta variant coincides with the dismantling of the tiers, which many people have interpreted as a reduction of risk.”

The state lifted the Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier system June 15, meaning counties have no longer been required to follow certain restrictions on business sectors and gatherings based on weekly updates measuring their test positivity and new cases per day. However, the state Department of Public Health continues to provide this data.

According to state dashboards, as of this week, the county had a seven-day average of 10.3 new cases per day per 100,000 residents, as well as a seven-day test positivity rate of 7.3%.

“If the tiers were still in place, Nevada County, and several other counties, would be in the most restrictive tier,” wrote Wilson. “Yet, precautions have decreased in many sectors where people interact.“

According to the state’s record of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the county as of Thursday, there were seven active hospitalizations, an amount equal to the county’s 14-day rolling average.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com.

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