‘One step ahead of us’: Officials discuss continued surge in COVID-19 cases
While fewer new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Nevada County last week than in any other week last month, county Director of Public Health Jill Blake said Wednesday in a Q&A that it is uncertain whether this “dip” in cases will continue this week.
Following the week of July 12, during which Nevada County saw 59 cases, Blake said the county experienced a rapid rise in new cases until the week of Aug. 2, during which the county saw 443 new cases. This was followed by weeks in which the county saw 438 and 400 new cases, respectively.
“Last week, it dropped down to 359 (new cases), which sounds better than 443, but just for some perspective, is really high when again, for months we were having between 30 and 60 cases per week,” said Blake.
As of Wednesday, according to the county’s Coronavirus Dashboard, the county had already recorded 328 new cases this week.
When 198 new cases were recorded Tuesday, it was the highest number of new cases recorded on a single day this year. According to the dashboard, it was the second-highest throughout the pandemic, after Dec. 7, on which 209 new cases were recorded.
“We want as many people to get vaccinated as possible and continue to be cautious,” said Ryan Gruver, the county’s director of Health and Human Services, on Wednesday. “I think we’re past the point where we can pretend like it’s just going to go away and we’re somehow going to achieve herd immunity if everybody gets sick, as Delta has proven this virus is changing and it’s one step ahead of us.”
On testing, Blake said there has been “an over-demand and an under-supply“ as various groups in the community, in addition to those who are symptomatic, seek testing for reasons related to school or work. The county has responded by expanding its Grass Valley testing site hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
“We just got data last night on utilization of the testing site in Grass Valley, and … even with the increase in the hours, it was 99%,” said Blake on the testing site located at 231 Colfax Ave., adding that this meant 1,175 tests had been conducted there last week.
VACCINE AVAILABILITY AND ACCESS
“Last we checked, our pharmacies still had adequate access,” said Blake on local availability of COVID-19 vaccines. “So people who are looking to get vaccinated can still do so in Nevada County without too much trouble.”
According to Public Health’s list of providers, western Nevada County pharmacies, including Dokimos Pharmacy and Walgreens Pharmacy, offer vaccines, joining other local entities such as YubaDocs Urgent Care and Western Sierra Medical Clinic.
The county’s REACH Team, said Blake, is also working to reach residents who who would like to be vaccinated but have obstacles to doing so, such as a language barrier or lack of transportation. She said interest from local businesses in having on-site vaccination clinics had also grown recently.
“With the Delta variant being so contagious, and seeing our case numbers go up and seeing the hospitalizations go up and seeing the 10 deaths that we reported in August, I think that is compelling to people to get vaccinated,” said Blake on the recent uptick in interest in vaccines.
“I think also the approval of the Pfizer vaccine by the FDA has probably instilled some confidence in some people who were waiting for that as well,” she added.
Noting that if the state’s now-retired Blueprint for a Safer Economy system were still in place, Nevada County would be “so deeply purple,“ the most restrictive tier. Blake said Public Health’s message of caution and the ways people can protect themselves have not changed.
“And we’re just hoping that people hear that message — to get vaccinated, to take those precautions, to avoid crowded places, especially if you’re somebody who’s more vulnerable,” said Blake.
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at email@example.com
GRASS VALLEY TESTING SITE
231 Colfax Ave., Grass Valley (formerly Summer Thymes)
7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday
TO FIND A VACCINE PROVIDER
Visit MyTurn at: https://myturn.ca.gov
Or, check Nevada County Public Health’s list of providers at:
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