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April 6, 2021 – After only two weeks in the Red Tier, Nevada County once again met the metrics for the Purple Tier, meaning COVID-19 is widespread and case rates are increasing.  Nevada County will remain in the Red Tier this week but will likely return to the Purple Tier on Wednesday, April 13th.

“Communities that have strictly adhered to guidelines are opening up, while Nevada County is at risk of moving backward,” said Nevada County Public Health Director Jill Blake. We know how COVID-19 spreads, and we know how to prevent the spread. The science is clear,” Blake said. “When we say that the virus is ‘widespread’ in our community, we mean just that: it’s everywhere. We’re seeing it in schools, workplaces, social settings, and businesses. The virus continues to be transmitted through unmasked gatherings, whether that’s in a restaurant, a bar, a workplace, or a private home.”

With certain restaurants and bars fully open–in defiance of health orders–large gatherings of people from multiple households and mask-burning demonstrations during a global pandemic, cases will increase. County officials attribute the case rise to local, organized opposition to proven public health prevention methods, particularly in Western Nevada County.

Local Public Health officials expressed disappointment and concern about the upward trend in cases. This week, with the State’s update to county metrics under the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, Nevada County jumped from an average daily rate of 6.9 cases to 12.7 cases. “This is an alarming trend,” said Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Kellermann. “And this data is from the week before Spring Break and the Easter holiday. We have yet to see the result of gatherings that may have taken place last week.”

Kellermann urged Nevada County residents to take individual actions to protect the health of the community as a whole. “The good news is that we all know how to protect ourselves and those we love. Wear a mask. Avoid gathering. And, of course, getting vaccinated is the best protection for yourself, your family, your friends, and your neighbors,” added Dr. Kellermann.

“We are seeing fewer cases in people 65 and older,” said Dr. Kellermann. “Although this is good news, we are finding that younger individuals are becoming infected. Although much less likely to die than older folks, a significant number of those infected will have symptoms of long COVID-19, like persistent lethargy, brain fog, and pulmonary conditions.”   

Nevada County Public Health has opened vaccine eligibility to anyone 16 and over for their Whispering Pines Grass Valley clinics, which use the Pfizer vaccine. Appointments can be made on MyTurn.CA.Gov; new appointments are added every Friday at noon. Vaccine appointments through other local vaccine providers can be found at www.MyNevadaCounty.com/GetVaccinated.

“We are in a race against time regarding the variants. If we adhere to the guidelines of masking and distancing and get immunized – we will win.” Kellermann said. “You all are aware that through working together, much has been accomplished by this community. We need to do that now. We all have a part to play. We can do better.”