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Virus surge: Testing site, hospital adjust to increase in COVID cases

The COVID-19 testing site at 231 Colfax Ave. in Grass Valley has been in high demand this week as the Omicron variant of the virus surges across the United States. The site is now open Monday through Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Photo: Elias Funez

Expanded hours of operation began Monday at the state-funded COVID-19 testing site in Grass Valley, according to Nevada County Director of Public Health Jill Blake.

As of Monday, the site is open Monday through Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

After county officials saw an increase in demand for COVID-19 testing, they submitted the necessary requests to the state to expand hours of operation at the testing site at 231 Colfax Ave., Blake said last week.



“For the past week, both sites have been working at over 100% capacity and that is true of … the majority of the testing sites in the state,” Blake said in a Q&A Wednesday, referring to both the Grass Valley and Truckee testing sites.

Bruce Thome gets a COVID-19 test last year at Nevada County’s free walk-in testing center set up inside of the former Summer Thyme’s Restaurant off Colfax Avenue in Grass Valley.
Photo: File photo by Elias Funez

On the newly increased hours, Blake said, “And even at that increased capacity, they’re working at over 100% capacity currently.“ She added that the state had been ”very responsive“ to the county’s request for additional resources, providing the additional staffing that was necessary to expand the site’s hours.



Blake said Wednesday that it was still unknown exactly how the new hours had impacted how quickly people were able to access appointments, explaining that state data on the site’s utilization is generally reported one week behind. She also stated that this factor can change quickly, as demand increases dramatically.

SIERRA NEVADA MEMORIAL HOSPITAL

Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital has made some changes to its visitor policy in response to the statewide increase of COVID-19 cases, according to the hospital’s interim president and CEO, Dr. Gregory Eberhart.

Eberhart wrote in a statement Wednesday that the visitor policy now includes a limit of one visitor per patient at a time. It is also required that unvaccinated visitors provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test — within the last 24 hours for an antigen test, or 48 hours for a PCR test — and that fully vaccinated visitors show proof of vaccine.

As of Wednesday, according to the county’s Coronavirus Dashboard, 12 people in Nevada County were hospitalized with COVID-19.

The county’s number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 had spent much of December in the single digits, then rising as high as 15 last week.

Asked about the recent increase, Eberhart wrote in a statement Wednesday that the hospital is mindful of it, and has “been able to safely manage at this point.”

“Our incident command and executive team keep a very close eye on any day-to-day changes in COVID numbers and adjust our strategy accordingly,” wrote Eberhart. “Staffing our hospital to needed levels and the health/wellness of our employees are the biggest concerns that we have been facing during the latest COVID surge.”

He stated that Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital encourages community members to get vaccinated against COVID-19; only seek urgent care in the hospital’s Emergency Department, as opposed to mild or routine checkups; and find testing elsewhere, including through the county’s designated sites.

“This will ensure we can safely and efficiently care for those most in need,” wrote Eberhart.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com

LEARN MORE

Information on getting tested in Nevada County:

http://www.mynevadacounty.com/2979/Get-Tested

 


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