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County Working to Ensure Public Health Safety

Susan Hoek
Supervisor District IV

As many of you are hearing from every which way, the coronavirus is having a big impact on almost every aspect of our daily lives. The County is working to ensure that the public has the most up-to-date information on what is happening, both locally, regionally, state-wide and nationally.

Please visit the County’s website mynevadacounty.com/coronavirus for an abundance of information that includes regional coronavirus news; links to resources from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and California Department of Public Health (CDPH); a live interactive map showing the total confirmed number of cases worldwide made available by the John Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering; and information on preparedness, and response.

The County’s website also includes resources for businesses/employers, guidance for elderly and vulnerable individuals, guidance on community gatherings, and guidance for schools, amongst others.

Additionally, Nevada County Public Health Department is working closely with the Office of Emergency Services (OES) and Environmental Health (EH), CDC and CDPH to closely monitor the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 (the illness caused by the virus). The coronavirus is actually called “novel” because it is a new strain of coronavirus that has not been previously identified. This specific virus is what we call an envelope virus, meaning that it has an outer layer or envelop that protects it. Think of a pea shoved inside of a marshmallow. The pea is the virus and the marshmallow is the envelope that protects the virus.

This is why the CDC and Nevada County Public Health are telling the public to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol because these solutions will break down and dissolve the marshmallow or outer layer and kill the virus.

Nevada County Environmental Health has provided a terrific resource on our website with guidance on what type of cleaning supplies folks should use.

Here is a quick guide one what to do to help slow the spread of sickness:

— Stay home when you are sick.

— Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

— Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then toss the tissue in the trash.

— Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth especially with unwashed hands.

— Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

— Get a flu vaccine to prevent influenza if you haven’t already done so this flu season.

— Keep your distance from people who are sick, especially if they have a respiratory virus.

For people who are well, wearing a face mask is not on the list of recommended practices to prevent infection. While they can be effective in preventing the spread of disease if worn by someone who is infected with a virus, they are not currently recommended to protect oneself from becoming sick.

On Tuesday, March 10, the Board adopted Resolution 20-062 and 20-063 proclaiming and ratifying the Declaration of a Local Health Emergency in Nevada County.

While no COVID-19 cases have been confirmed as of March 13th, the date of writing this article, the Emergency Declarations will enable Nevada County to more effectively respond to the potential introduction of COVID-19, seek and utilize mutual aid, obtain state and federal funds, and ensure that the County’s resources and public health professionals, as well as the community at large, have all the necessary tools at their disposal to promote the health and well-being of our community.

Remember – this is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and Nevada County Public Health will provide local, updated information as it becomes available at mynevadacounty.com/coronavirus.

Nevada County offices remain open, although there may be changes in delivery of services. We are encouraging residents to access services online, over the phone and via email when possible. Find our online eServices directory on our website at http://www.mynevadacounty.com/eservices.

In other buzzing news as many of you may have heard, on Feb. 21, Gov. Newsom made an announcement that 286 state-owned properties would be made available for use for homeless solutions.

The Department of General Services launched an interactive map of the available properties, which identified three locations in District IV area. I have received many inquiries on these parcels as to whether the County will be using these for development.

Two of the properties are on the border of the County line on Highway 20 near Smartsville and the other is the Park N Ride off Highway 20. Now while the County has identified homelessness as a continued top Priority Objective for 2020, the County will not be pursuing any of these properties as they have serious obstacles to being viable locations for homelessness services.

In speaking with Mike Dent our Director of Housing and Homeless Services, the properties are not close enough to other services, do not have access to adequate infrastructure (i.e. water, sewer, etc.) and are so close to the highway, they would simply be a public safety hazard.

So, to be clear, we are not pursuing these properties for development for homelessness.

However, I am excited to report that the County is moving forward on the Penn Valley Loan Oak Senior Apartment Project by approving two loan agreements.

The project will create 31 new units of affordable senior housing, including 24 one-bedroom, and 7 two-bedroom units.

The project will house low income seniors earning between 30-60% of the area median income. We expect to break ground on the project in late spring.

This is very exciting, and I want to give a shout out to former supervisor, Hank Weston for coming up with the name – thanks, Hank!


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