Nevada County’s new COVID-19 cases hold steady last 2 weeks | TheUnion.com
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Nevada County’s new COVID-19 cases hold steady last 2 weeks

For the first time in “quite a while,” Nevada County’s average rate of daily new COVID-19 cases has been similar this week to the statewide rate, said county Director of Public Health Jill Blake.

According to the state’s online dashboard tracking COVID-19, Nevada County’s rate had quickly risen above the state average in July, peaking at over 70 while the statewide average peaked in the low 30s in August, and had remained above the statewide average until earlier this month.

As of Wednesday, both Nevada County and the state had average rates of 13.3 daily new cases per 100,000 residents, the dashboard stated.



Nevada County’s rate of new COVID-19 cases has remained fairly steady over the last two weeks, according to Blake.

“Last week, we reported 157 cases, which is about the same as the prior week at 171,” she said in a Q&A Wednesday.



Blake added that the county’s vaccination rate continues to rise, with 72.7% of eligible county residents having received at least one dose and 65.4% being fully vaccinated, as of Wednesday.

“And that couldn’t be more important as we head into these winter months, where people are gathered in close settings,” she said.

OMICRON VARIANT

On the Omicron variant, county Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Glennah Trochet said in a Q&A Wednesday, “Cases have been reported from Sacramento, Yolo, and El Dorado counties, so there is no reason to think that it’s not in Nevada County.”

She noted that Yolo County has “quick access to genotyping,” and “not surprisingly” has reported more cases than the other two counties. Nevada County, she said, has to wait for a longer time for this kind of testing to be done.

“It takes about a week, in the best scenario, for us to get any kind of reports on the variants circulating in Nevada County,” said Trochet. “So, as of a week ago, Delta was still the main variant in Nevada County causing COVID, but I suspect that we do have Omicron now.”

Trochet said officials were hearing that the Omicron variant is “much more infectious” than the Delta variant, and appears to cause less severe disease. She qualified this evaluation, saying it is “subject to change as we learn more.”

Recent information from studies, she added, indicated that currently available vaccines provide “some immunity against Omicron, although it appears to be less than they’d provide for the older variants.”

Trochet said her recommendation was that those who have received an original vaccine series get a booster if the appropriate period of time — six months since the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two months since the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — has passed.

“If you haven’t been immunized, it’s never too late to start getting immunized and get your first dose now,” she added.

According to Blake, as of Wednesday, over 21,600 boosters had been given to Nevada County residents.

MASK ORDERS

The first case of the Omicron variant in the Unites States was detected in California on Dec. 1, according to the state Department of Public Health.

The state department updated its guidance for the use of face coverings Monday to require that masks be worn in all indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status, from Wednesday until Jan. 15.

“This new measure brings an added layer of mitigation as the Omicron variant, a Variant of Concern as labeled by the World Health Organization, is detected across California, the United States, and the world and is likely to spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and the Delta variant,” stated the new guidance.

It added that, since Thanksgiving, the statewide seven-day average case rate had increased by 47% and hospitalizations had increased by 14%.

Trochet said Wednesday that the state has also said that, if a local health officer order is in place, it supercedes the statewide order.

While the state was not previously requiring that vaccinated individuals wear a mask while in indoor public settings, and only required that unvaccinated individuals did so until its updated guidance went into effect Wednesday, Nevada County has had an order in place requiring this regardless of vaccination status since August.

“The Nevada County health officer order stands until it’s rescinded, and it hasn’t been rescinded,” said Trochet. “So, at this point, if anybody asks, follow the Nevada County health officer order.”

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


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