Nevada County’s weekly cases exceed 1K for first time: Local health officials discuss COVID-19 surge, recommendations |

Nevada County’s weekly cases exceed 1K for first time: Local health officials discuss COVID-19 surge, recommendations

Nevada County is as of this week experiencing the most significant surge in COVID-19 cases to date, said the county’s Director of Health and Human Services Ryan Gruver.

In a Q&A Wednesday, Gruver said that after Nevada County’s previous surge had peaked the week ending Sept. 3 at 488 new cases, the county confirmed 632 new cases last week.

As of Wednesday, he said, this week had only had one “reporting day,” and had reported 702 new cases on Tuesday alone — surpassing not only the highest number of cases recorded in a single day to date, but also the highest number recorded in any week.

Nevada County reported 396 new cases Wednesday, according to the county’s Coronavirus Dashboard, bringing the weekly total as of Wednesday to 1,098.

“I think you can also infer, from what we’ve seen in other parts of the world, other parts of the nation, and the state, that we’re not done with this yet,” said Gruver. Other places have during a surge of the Omicron variant exceeded previous pandemic peaks “sometimes by four- or five-fold,” he said.

“While we’re seeing a lot of cases, I think we could see a lot more in the coming weeks, so still expect that we’re in the beginning of an Omicron surge in cases,” said Gruver.

Dr. Glennah Trochet, the county’s deputy public health officer, said in the Wednesday Q&A that “people are asking, ‘What does Public Health recommend at this point?’”

“And the recommendation from your Public Health Department is that — while we are seeing this increase in cases — our recommendation is that we stay home as much as possible, and postpone or cancel any non-essential, in-person events or non-essential, in-person gatherings until this recedes,” said Trochet.

She stated that, if people are able to “blunt the surge a bit,” this will help to preserve the health care system.

“We are now more than two years into this pandemic,” said Trochet. “Our health care workers are tired just like everybody else is, they can also get sick, and people are getting sick with other illnesses besides COVID-19 — and we need to preserve our health care resources so that anyone who is ill … is able to get medical care, whether it’s due to COVID-19 or it’s due to a stroke, or a heart attack or anything else.”

As of Wednesday, according to state data on hospitalizations, there were 25 COVID-19 positive patients in Nevada County hospitals, after spending much of December in the single digits.


According to Nevada County Director of Public Health Jill Blake, the COVID-19 testing sites operating at 231 Colfax Ave. in Grass Valley, and in Truckee, have recently been operating at over 100% of their respective capacities.

Beginning last week, hours of operation at both sites were expanded to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday in response to increased demand.

“As we see the availability of the rapid tests decline, we see more of a demand for the PCR tests,” Blake said Wednesday. “And I can say that that is true across the state as well, so I don’t think the state has ever experienced demand like it is right now.”

As a result, she explained, larger quantities of tests are being processed at the state level than ever before, meaning delays are also increasing. According to Blake, the state communicated as of last week that the wait time for results was up to four to six days.

“The state really stepped up and tried to get every local health jurisdiction’s requests to increase the capacity of their testing site,” said Blake. “And still, I think we’re unable to meet demand, because it’s just an unprecedented surge.”

On testing, she also stated that the “knowledge gap” in regards to the true number of cases in the county widens when over-the-counter test kits are used more widely, which she expects will occur as their availability increases. The county’s Coronavirus Dashboard reports only lab-confirmed positive tests, officials have said.

“We understand there’s an exchange that happens,” said Blake. “We lose a certain level of awareness, but if people change their behavior as a result of those test results, that’s really what we’re after.”


Blake said Wednesday that 74.6% of Nevada County’s eligible population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

According to state data on vaccination status, as of Wednesday, 71.4% of Nevada County residents 65 or older who are eligible for a booster have received one, as have 55.1% of residents aged 50 to 64 who are eligible for one.

Of the county residents who are 18 to 49 years old and are eligible for a booster, 37.2% had received one, along with 14.8% of those aged 12 to 17 in that group.

Trochet said Wednesday that vaccines for both COVID-19 and the flu remain “widely available.” Vaccine appointments can be found through MyTurn, a statewide system, and information about local providers is available through the county’s website.

“If you haven’t had your booster yet and you’re due, or you haven’t had the original two doses and you’re ready to be vaccinated, now is a good time to do it,” said Trochet, adding that an individual may receive both a dose of COVID-19 vaccine and the flu shot at the same time, if they choose to.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at

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