COVID trends improve for county |

COVID trends improve for county

Nevada County posted its lowest COVID-19 positivity rate since before Thanksgiving, according to state data released Tuesday.

At 7% for the week of Jan. 10, the county’s positivity rate fell within the threshold of the red or “substantial” tier.

While case rates also declined to their lowest since early November, at 20.8 new cases per day the county fell well within the purple or “widespread” tier in that metric.

If the county maintains its positivity rate and case rates recede to fewer than seven new cases per day for two straight weeks, it’ll move into the red tier, allowing many industries to reopen for limited indoor capacity.

Restaurants, places of worship and movie theaters would open at 25% indoor capacity, while gyms could open with 10% indoor capacity. Personal care services could open indoors with modifications

The county’s COVID-19 risk criteria first ballooned in the weeks following Halloween, jumping from the orange to purple tier as case and positivity rates tripled within two weeks.

Both metrics reached highs of 54 new cases per day and 11% positivity following Thanksgiving.

Since then, Nevada County has seen mostly modest changes each week generally trending toward a decline in both criteria.

However, the county’s recent dips in COVID-19 risk data come as testing averages have also declined, lagging behind state averages for testing capacity over the last month.

According to state data, on average counties have tested 447 people per 100,000 residents each day over the last four weeks, compared to about 351 for Nevada County.

For most weeks prior the county had exceeded state testing averages.

The three assessments where the county has performed best in the last several weeks also came when testing rates were at their lowest.

Because the county has fewer than 106,000 residents, the state does not adjust case rates based on testing fluctuations.

All state case rate, positivity and testing data use a seven-day average and seven-day delay.

State data released Tuesday also shows the Greater Sacramento Region, which includes Nevada County, has a current intensive care unit capacity of 9.9%

The region exited the stay-at-home order two weeks ago based on four-week state projections that estimated hospital capacity would improve to 27.3%.

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

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