November 24, 2020 – Nevada County has seen a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, with over 120 new cases over the weekend representing 10% of our total COVID-19 cases since March. Today, the State announced that Nevada County’s COVID-19 data continues to meet criteria for the most restrictive Purple “Widespread” Tier, keeping a reduced capacity and increased restrictions for local businesses until we begin seeing a significant decrease in new daily cases and positivity rate. The State’s tiered framework connects the level of openness of business sectors to COVID-19 conditions on the ground.

Especially before the upcoming holiday, Nevada County Public Health reminds residents to continue practicing social distancing, masking, hand washing, and minimizing social mixing between households. Even if you are mildly symptomatic, please stay home and don’t assume it is allergies or a cold. California has also issued a travel advisory alongside Oregon and Washington to discourage non-essential travel over the holidays, encourage staying local and ask that those that choose to travel self-quarantine for 14-days after returning.

“We are currently seeing the most community transmission since the pandemic began. We are beginning to see the impacts of this surge in our contract tracing and more residents being treated for COVID-19 in our ICUs,” said Nevada County’s Public Health Officer Dr. Richard Johnson. “With the holidays coming up, we are asking people to consider a virtual Thanksgiving. If you do choose to gather with family, please do so safely by wearing your mask and visiting outdoors. We’ve seen a significant spike in infections after every holiday. Recently, however, Nevada County residents have been bringing COVID-19 from social gatherings back into their workplaces as well. Now is the time to protect ourselves, our family, our coworkers and our businesses.”

Contract Tracing and Limiting the Spread

If you’ve tested positive or are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, there are important steps you can take to help limit the spread further into our community. Because of the large number of positive COVID-19 cases in our community currently, those with a positive COVID test may not hear from the Public Health department. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, please follow the Isolation Guidance and share the Quarantine Guidance with your close contacts:

  1. Isolate immediately. “Isolation” is described in the Isolation Guidance document. Please follow those directions carefully to help protect your household and our community.  
  2. Continue to isolate while you are infectious.
  3. Share the Quarantine Guidance with everyone in your household. 
  4. Identify all “close contacts” you had while you were infectious. A close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset. As close contacts, they should also follow the Quarantine Guidance.
  5. Let your employer know if you were infectious while at work. If you are an employer, follow the Workplace Exposure Guidance.

211 Connecting Point is available to help answer questions and talk through the Isolation or Quarantine Guidance with Nevada County residents. Connect with a local call center agent at 1-833-DIAL211. 

Get Tested for COVID-19

Testing is highly recommended for those who are symptomatic. While we are experiencing this surge in new COVID-19 cases and working on increasing our testing capacity, Nevada County Public Health would like to encourage those who are not symptomatic and have not knowingly been exposed to COVID to consider temporarily delaying getting tested to allow for testing of those who are symptomatic or have a known exposure to another diagnosed with COVID-19. 

During this recent surge in COVID-19 cases, appointments at local OptumServe testing sites have been booked up to a week in advance. Residents may schedule an appointment at other nearby OptumServe sites in other counties or may contact their primary care physician about other options. If you are getting tested due to being symptomatic or a possible exposure to COVID-19, please remember to stay home and limit your interactions in public places until you receive your results. Schedule a cost-free COVID-19 test at or call 1-888-634-1123.

Business guidance in the Purple “Widespread” Tier

Purple Tier modifications for Nevada County businesses began Tuesday, November 17th. Nevada County businesses should modify their business operations according to the guidance published on the State’s website. 

To support our business community and lessen business restrictions, we need to be even more diligent about limiting the behaviors that we know contribute to COVID-19’s spread. All members of the community are encouraged to consider how personal behavior can help move Nevada County back towards less restrictive tiers for our business sectors.  Individual action will lead to collective mitigation that will affect the county’s tier status and our collective behavior matters. Wearing a mask, staying with those within your household, maintaining physical distance and washing your hands can help reduce COVID-19 exposures.

Business Resources

Find more information about COVID-19 in Nevada County at Email questions about the State’s COVID-19 business sector guidance to Small businesses may also access no-cost personal protective equipment (PPE) and Environmental Health permit fee waivers at

To submit a business compliance complaint, visit or submit via the Ask Nevada County app. Residents can also call 211 Connecting Point at 1-833-DIAL211 to speak with a local call center representative with COVID-19 questions or to connect with resources.