County continues slight case decrease as vaccine rolls out |

County continues slight case decrease as vaccine rolls out

For the second straight week Nevada County modestly improved its COVID-19 risk level assessment.

State public health data released Tuesday showed Nevada County’s case rate dropped to 30.5 new cases per day from 35 last week, and its positivity rate decreased 0.6% from the previous week to 8.2%.

The state data uses a seven-day average and two-week delay, meaning the latest figures are for the week starting Dec. 13.

Nevada County’s coronavirus risk level indicators had been on the rise since October, with notable spikes in the weeks after Halloween and Thanksgiving.

The county’s risk assessment hit a high the week following Thanksgiving, starting Nov. 29 when its case rate reached 54 new cases per day and positivity rate grew to 11%.

Two weeks following that peak, the county saw the most deaths it’s had in a single week, with 18 in the week beginning Dec. 13.

Since then the county’s total cases have slowed to 218 total cases for the latest full week for which there’s data, starting Dec. 20, down from 396 cases in the week of the peak.

As of Tuesday, regional capacity was at 17.4%. Of the 244 beds being made available for use at the ARCO/Sleep Train Arena alternative care site, 20 were active with 13 in use.


While cases and capacity may be trending positively, state and local health experts warn health care facility staffing remains a concern.

Wolf Creek Care Center, Crystal Ridge Care Center and Golden Empire skilled nursing facilities have been granted staffing waivers, according to state records.

Newsom on Wednesday said since October, 80% of COVID-19 deaths statewide have been from those 61 years old or older.

In Nevada County, outbreaks at skilled nursing facilities have largely been responsible for driving the county’s death total to 50. According to state records, there have been resident deaths at each of the county’ skilled nursing facilities.

At Golden Empire there have been 21 deaths among residents. The facility has had 92 total cases among residents, 16 of which are active, and 36 total cases among health care worker, less than 11 of which are active.

There have been 11 resident deaths at Spring Hill Manor. There have been 44 total cases among residents and 29 among health care workers at the facility, none of which are active.

Crystal Ridge Care Center, Tahoe Forest Hospital SNF, and Wolf Creek Care Center have each had less than 11 deaths among residents.

At Crystal Ridge, there have been 28 total cases among health care workers, 13 of which are active, and 17 cases among residents, less than 11 of which are active.

Wolf Creek Care Center has had 18 total cases among health care workers, less than 11 of which are active, and 24 total cases among residents, less than 11 of which are active.

Tahoe Forest Hospital SNF had less than 11 total cases among health care workers and residents, and less than 11 cases among health care workers are active.

Three of the county’s residential care facilities for the elderly — Atria Grass Valley, Brunswick Village, and Eskaton Village Grass Valley — each reported less than 11 deaths among residents.


The county continued its vaccine distribution to front line health care workers at hospitals this week, bringing total administered doses to 1,875. The county has been allocated 2,850 total doses of both vaccine variants, according to state records.

The county has submitted a vaccine prioritization schedule based on state guidelines that it expects to be approved and posted by the state in mid-January.

State guidelines place their priority — Phase 1A, Tier 1 — on health care workers, workers and residents at skilled nursing facilities, and workers and residents at other congregate living facilities.

While the county’s first doses have gone to hospitals, other priority facilities will be served through the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care (LTC) Program, which allows CVS and Walgreens pharmacy staff to directly administer the vaccine to skilled nursing facilities free of charge.

The priorities for the state’s next phase are yet to be finalized, and could be decided by the state Community Vaccine Advisory Committee next Wednesday.

As it stands, recommendations for Phase 1B, Tier 1, include people 75 years old and older, workers in education, childcare, emergency services, food and agriculture. Phase 1B, Tier 2, recommendations include people 65 years old or over with an underlying condition or disability; and workers in transportation, logistics, critical manufacturing workers, incarcerated individuals and people experiencing homelessness.

Phase 1C recommendations are still being discussed, but early recommendations include people between 16 and 64 years old with an underlying condition or disability, workers in water, waste management, defense, energy, communications, IT, financial services, government operations, and community service groups.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email or call 530-477-4229.

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