Vaccine efficacy: Officials are positive about how far the county’s come, but more is needed |

Vaccine efficacy: Officials are positive about how far the county’s come, but more is needed

Fully vaccinated masks optional; yet county must up vaccine rate

Nevada County is upbeat about its vaccination rates, but there’s work that must be done.

Reviewing the past six months, Caleb Dardick, a county liaison to the business community, said in a Wednesday meeting of the Business Task Force that case numbers have declined from the peak month of December. Four hundred cases a week have dropped to about 30 cases per week.

“We’ve improved quite bit, but still worse than some segments of the state,” said Ryan Gruver, Health and Human Services Agency director. “COVID appears to have some seasonality, so part of what looks to be reduced cases definitely has to do with vaccines, but we’re also in the off-season for the virus.”

Gruver tempered his assessment, noting the county could see some surges with cooler weather, though they’ll likely be lighter than before widespread vaccine availability.

The Delta variant that caused devastating effect initially in India is substantially more transmissible and was found to exist in both sides of the county, likely arriving at the beginning of June. Officials have said vaccines can protect against variants.

This highlights the need to get more of the hesitant populations vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity, Gruver said. The reason being, every time a person is infected, the virus replicates multiple times and can mutate, giving the virus an advantage.

“Worst case scenario, if enough people remain unvaccinated then we can become a petri dish and a variant can develop which can penetrate the protections of our vaccines,” he said.

The vaccination rate in Nevada county is 63%, of which 9% have had just one dose.

Gruver said there’s a correlation between COVID-19 rates and vaccination rates. The top 10 counties in vaccination rates are one-third lower than the worst counties in their positivity rate. And while vaccines are highly safe and effective, the county has seen a dramatic decrease in demand. The Whispering Pines clinic has scaled back its hours. Appointments can still be made at

The county has reached out to the business community to see if it wants to arrange pop-up clinics. Businesses that want to host a clinic should contact the county’s Health and Human Services Department at 530-265-1627.


One area where state guidelines remain is the issue of face masks. Gruver said masks are effective at mitigating the spread of he virus, and they do not require closure of a business nor do they prevent contact among family and friends.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s emergency order remains in effect and masks for the unvaccinated are still required at indoor settings. Those who are vaccinated can remain unmasked in most settings.

Everybody is required to wear a mask in a health care setting or long-term care facility, on public transit, in correctional or detention facilities, in schools, in childcare centers or around youth activities, homeless shelters, emergency shelters, cooling centers, theaters, malls, places of worship or any indoor mega event. Children between 2 and 11, because they are ineligible for vaccines, must wear masks indoors.

People do not need to wear masks outdoors, and those younger than 2 are not required to wear masks.

Gruver said it’s difficult to say when all mask requirements would be lifted.

“Vaccines are highly effective, but no vaccines are 100% effective,” he said.

William Roller is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at

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