‘Have fun and be safe’: Officials discuss COVID-19 cases, precautions ahead of holidays
“The idea is to have fun and be safe,” said Nevada County Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Glennah Trochet in a Q&A Wednesday.
Discussing health precautions for gathering during upcoming holidays, Trochet said that, in addition to the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, the state’s eligibility for booster doses has expanded to anyone 18 or older who received the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least six months ago, or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.
“If you didn’t have a chance to do it before Thanksgiving, you can get it afterward, and then you’ll have that immunity for Christmas,” said Trochet, later adding that this applies to flu shots as well, and that someone can receive both at the same time if they choose to.
Other precautions she encouraged included staying home if sick — regardless of whether it is with COVID-19 — in order to prevent spreading illnesses in general, as well as opting for gatherings which are shorter or outdoors if gathering with people who have not been vaccinated.
Dr. Scott Kellermann, the county’s Public Health Officer, said Wednesday that the spread of COVID-19 in the community is “still at a relatively high level.”
Nevada County Director of Health and Human Services Ryan Gruver said that, although the county’s rate of new COVID-19 cases per week has dropped significantly compared to previous surges — winter of last year, and late August — it has also risen from the low point which it hit over one month ago.
During the week ending in Sept. 3, 488 new cases were recorded in the county. One week last month, the county recorded 117 new cases, according to Gruver, and weekly case counts since rose into the 150s, followed by the last two weeks recording 167 and 170 cases, respectively.
“So, something we’ll have to keep a close eye on,” said Gruver. “Especially given that, last year, COVID was significantly seasonal, and heading into Thanksgiving and Christmas, those gatherings had a significant impact on COVID cases at that time.”
As of Wednesday, according to the state dashboard on COVID-19, Nevada County has a seven-day average daily case count of 15.6 cases per 100,000 residents. Statewide, that figure per 100,000 residents is 10.4, the dashboard states.
Kellermann encouraged “a layered approach” Wednesday, stating that precautions while traveling include vaccination, wearing a mask and keeping distance.
“We encourage everybody, if you’re going to visit folks, particularly if they’re vulnerable, get a test,” said Kellermann, noting that some available rapid tests can give a result in 15 minutes. “If it’s positive and you feel fine, you still have the virus, so then you would have to isolate.”
Kellermann encouraged making sure there is fresh air or good ventilation when gathering in communal spaces, as well as doing whatever activities possible outdoors.
“What we’re encouraging from Public Health is sharing the turkey and the good cheer, but not the virus,” he said.
Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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