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March 24, 2021 – Nevada County has surpassed a milestone with 40,422 vaccine doses administered. According to Health and Human Services Director Ryan Gruver, that’s more doses administered in a little over three months than all flu vaccinations during a full year. “We basically administered more doses with the help of ten providers in three and a half months than all providers combined give flu shots during a whole year.”
Nevada County’s Public Health officer Dr. Scott Kellermann credits the community partners and Public Health’s REACH (Resources for Equity & Access in Community Health) team for achieving this result. As of today, 60.3% of the doses administered in Nevada County have gone to residents age 65 and over. [edited for clarification]
The goal of the REACH Team is to vaccinate Nevada County residents who are less likely to have access through more traditional means. This includes older adults who don’t use the internet, people who are unable to leave their home due to lack of mobility or transportation, or those who haven’t received vaccine information due to language or communication barriers. “We are tasked with finding and immunizing those groups that may not otherwise have the information, time, or transportation to get a shot. This has always been Public Health’s mission. We are the safety net” said Cindy Wilson, Nevada County’s Director of Public Health Nursing in a recently published news release.
The REACH Team began doing pop-up clinics in January, with a focus on older adults who live in congregate settings. In coordination with local independent living facilities, the team meets people where they are, providing onsite vaccinations. So far, the REACH Team has vaccinated residents of Hilltop Commons, the Bret Harte Retirement Inn, and some smaller care homes. They have recently started focusing on senior mobile home parks, including Sierra Pines, Ponderosa Pines, and Forest Springs.
Nevada County has signed on with the Third Party Administrator (TPA) designated by the State. Starting in April, the TPA will be in charge of distributing vaccine allocations to all providers in California. Any provider not signed up won’t be eligible to receive vaccine doses. Public Health and local providers are working with the TPA to minimize any disruption in the vaccine doses delivery.
Dr. Kellermann welcomed Nevada County’s progression into the Red Tier, noting it’ll allow for more business to resume activities. Restaurants are now able to serve indoors at 25% maximum capacity in addition to outdoors and take out. Gruver stated once California reaches 4 million of doses administered in the lowest Healthy Places Index (HPI) quartile, the metrics for reaching the next Tier will be changing. To progress to the Orange Tier, 2.0 –5.9 daily new cases (per 100k) will be the threshold, as opposed to 1.0 – 3.9 daily new cases (per 100k) currently. California is expected to reach the 4 million HPI quartile 1 within the next two weeks.