Nevada County officials react to local COVID-19 surge
According to Nevada County’s COVID-19 dashboard, the county has seen more cases in the last week than either of the previous two months.
After just over two weeks, the county has already had more cases in November, 260, than any other previous month.
The recent spike in cases, which officials said were fueled by social gatherings and transmission at work, led Nevada County to move down the state’s reopening tier Tuesday to the “widespread” or most restrictive tier.
Many businesses like restaurants, movie theaters and gyms will have to move outdoors only, while others are forced to shut down completely, just as the holiday season and winter weather approaches.
“Knocking us down two tiers is going to kill our businesses going into the holiday season,” Supervisor Dan Miller said. “The only people this is going to help is Amazon. I don‘t want Amazon to benefit from our pain.”
While Miller said he believes the county should be able to handle the surge locally, without state interference, he urged people to follow state guidelines.
“People need to wear the mask, social distance, and we can get through this if everyone will just take it upon themselves,” he said. “If you think not wearing your mask is making a bold statement of rebellion, no, it hurts everyone here.”
Miller said while he’d like the state to make an exception for Nevada County, it does not fit any of the criteria to make an appeal of its tier assessment.
However, according to Health and Human Services Director Ryan Gruver, the state may be open to easing restrictions sooner than the mandatory three-week period given the sudden nature of its downgrade.
Gruver said in a forum Tuesday the county would need to sustain seven cases or less a day for three weeks in order to move back down a tier. The state’s blueprint only allows counties to move down tiers one at a time.
According to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital CEO Brian Evans, while the hospital has plenty of patient and equipment capacity, staffing levels could be a concern if the trend continues.
“We need doctors, we need techs, we need lab personnel, we need a bottom as we need a whole host of people to take care of patients,” Evans said. “Our ability to do that is somewhat affected by the pandemic as well, because we’re starting to see that nurses are being redistributed nationally. We haven’t been able to get as many traveler nurses this year, as an example, as we normally would.”
Miller said moving forward the county would need to work more closely with the cities to get their cases under control.
“I‘m just angry that our businesses are being punished when it’s just individuals who are causing the problem, because people aren’t taking responsibility for their actions,” he said.
To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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