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Nevada County moves to orange tier

“In terms of COVID cases, we have great news,” said Ryan Gruver, Nevada County director of Health and Human Services.

Cases have dropped significantly in the last few weeks, Gruver said at Wednesday’s COVID-19 Business Task Force meeting. From a peak of almost 400 cases in a week around the winter holidays, the county is down to “just 30 cases in each of the last two weeks.”

In this week’s update to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier assignments, Nevada County moved down from the red, or “substantial,” to the orange, or “moderate,” tier, meaning a number of restrictions were loosened as of Wednesday.



Among these restrictions were those on restaurants, whose permitted dine-in capacity was raised from 25% to 50%; retailers, who went from a 50% permitted indoor capacity to full capacity with modifications such as use of face coverings; and gyms, whose permitted indoor capacity was raised from 10% to 25%.

The state’s data this week for Nevada County shows a case rate of 2.5 new cases per day per 100,000 residents and 2.4% positivity rate using a seven-day average.




VACCINE PROGRESS

As of Wednesday, 86,131 doses have been administered to Nevada County residents, according to the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard.

Gruver said the county’s Public Health staff have been responsible for over 25% of the doses administered thus far.

“So, through their direct work and the work of the resources that they’ve leveraged and coordinated in the community, they’ve undertaken a really heavy lift to help get us to where we are,” said Gruver.

He later said that, while “great progress” has been made since the beginning of the vaccines’ availability late last year, it is important to make even more progress as the county’s vaccination rate is falling behind some others as well as the state.

According to Gruver, 56% of eligible Nevada County residents have received at least one dose, whereas the state average is 64.6%.

“Also, last year clearly demonstrated that there is some seasonality to COVID, and so the low cases that we’re seeing right now are probably a combination of the vaccinations and the warmer weather,” said Gruver. “So it would be great to get a point where we’re closer to herd immunity before we get to the winter months.”

Since February, the county has operated a vaccine clinic Monday through Friday at 1345 Whispering Pines Lane in Grass Valley.

On May 4, the county opened a second vaccine clinic at Sierra College’s Grass Valley campus, setting its schedule to Tuesday through Saturday in an effort toward accessibility, and making it available to walk-ins shortly afterward.

According to Gruver, the Sierra College clinic will be retired as of Saturday due to low use.

The Whispering Pines clinic, which offers the Pfizer vaccine, will remain, said Gruver, and will be adding options for vaccination on weekends and other times outside of standard business hours.

“And then, there’s a number of providers in the community as well, including Dokimos, several other pharmacies, (and) private medical providers,” said Gruver, adding that appointments and information on accessing these providers can be found on MyTurn.

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


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