Officials respond to increased cases of COVID-19 in Nevada County
By the numbers
As of June 18
Number of COVID-19 cases: 71
Number tested: 4,286
Number in western county: 20
Number in eastern county: 51
Number of active cases: 19
Number of recoveries: 51
Number of deaths: 1
Learn more at http://www.theunion.com/coronavirus
As COVID-19 cases rise in Nevada County, officials are looking to contact tracing for answers on how the community can prevent further spread.
“If you look at the last two weeks, we have 25 new cases. Before that, we had 41 cases total, so that’s about a 50% increase,” Assistant County Executive Officer Mali Dyck said at a Wednesday Nevada County COVID-19 Business Task Force meeting.
Wednesday saw the greatest single-day increase to total cases yet with 10 new cases, which Dyck said were split about evenly between residents of eastern and western Nevada County. Another four cases were reported Thursday, bringing the county’s total to 71.
“The cause of these new cases, for the most part, has been tied to social gatherings,” said Dyck. “It’s been tied to families thinking it was safe to get together, that they were OK, and then someone tested positive and had exposed other people.”
Dyck said some people are being placed into quarantine after having been exposed, specifying that some of the people who tested positive had recently been at their workplace, including one person who works in close contact with seniors in the community.
“Our businesses are doing such a great job of trying to keep themselves, their employees, and customers safe and yet it’s social gatherings that seem to be the area that our community has lost its discipline around with social distancing,” said Dyck, adding that this is an opportunity for all members of the community to exercise safety precautions and restraint in gathering.
According to Dyck, contact tracing is being conducted and has shown so far that some recent cases are connected to clusters of social gatherings within the county, in Placer County, and out of state.
County Administrative Analyst Taylor Wolfe shared in a Thursday email that two of the new cases are children, the first the county has seen of COVID-19 in children.
“Seeing a significant increase in cases as we did yesterday is alarming and will continue to be monitored, although we are not yet at a place where we would look at additional restrictions,” Wolfe wrote.
With regards to a recommended community response, Wolfe said, “After an initial uptick in early April, Nevada County was able to flatten the curve due to the diligence of the community. That shared community responsibility remains key, as a resurgence puts our loved ones at risk and impacts business, jobs, and our ability to continue to reopen.”
Wolfe emphasized wearing a face covering, washing hands, and practicing physical distances as key safety practices as businesses reopen. She added that mild symptoms should not be dismissed as allergies or otherwise, and encouraged anyone experiencing them to get tested.
Regarding the possibility of increased testing as a factor in increased confirmed cases, Director of Health and Human Services Ryan Gruver pointed out that the county has had increased testing availability for significantly longer than this month’s uptick.
“The increased testing certainly means that we identify more of them, but clearly when we had increased testing and a month of no new cases, that’s different than a continued increase in testing and then new cases,” said Gruver.
“It’s a combination of actually more COVID-19 in the community and additional testing that’s allowing us to identify it and respond with the additional capacities we have, hopefully to be able to continue down the path of safely reopening,” he added.
Victoria Penate is a freelance writer for The Union.
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