No new mask rules planned by county
It looks like Nevada County has no intention of making its own mask mandate.
As of May 16, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s mask guidance is that fully vaccinated people “can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”
Asked whether county officials had any plans to set more restrictive guidelines than those dictated by the state, Nevada County Director of Public Health Jill Blake said last week that this was not the case.
Blake explained that, while local health jurisdictions are able to set stricter guidelines than the state, the decision to do so cannot be “arbitrary,” and must instead be based on indicators such as a surge in COVID-19 related hospitalizations or other risk factors — a situation she said Nevada County was not in.
As of Thursday, 84,892 vaccine doses have been administered to Nevada County residents, according to the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard.
This week’s data released by the state for counties’ placement on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy tiers shows Nevada County as having a daily new case rate of 4.8 new cases per 100,000 residents, and a 2.4% positivity rate using a seven day average.
These numbers — which, if maintained another week, will mean Nevada County moves into the less restrictive orange tier on Wednesday — are down from last week’s daily case rate of 6.1 new cases per 100,000 residents and 4.1% positivity rate.
Nevada County Director of Health and Human Services Ryan Gruver said Thursday in YubaNet’s weekly Vaccinate Nevada County webinar that it is much more “comfortable” in advance of June 15 — the date the state has announced the lifting of most COVID-19 related restrictions — to see this decline in cases in Nevada County.
“Instead, there will be recommendations, and then there will be some limited requirements that remain,” said Gruver on the statewide changes set for June 15, explaining that these requirements primarily will apply to “very large events,” defined as over 5,000 people indoors or 10,000 people outdoors.
According to the state’s Beyond the Blueprint guidance, such “mega events” would require vaccine verification or negative testing — requirements the state Department of Public Health said will be in place until Oct. 1, with a reassessment occurring Sept. 1 to determine whether they will remain in place for longer than that.
Outside of these events, however, the guidance says all business sectors currently listed within Blueprint for a Safer Economy restrictions may “return to usual operations” beginning June 15.
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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