Amended mask mandate: Nevada County Public Health issues order requiring masks in crowded outdoor settings, limiting event capacity

Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Kellermann has amended the health order issued last week in response to increased COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations to include additional measures, the county Public Health Department announced Wednesday.

The amended order, set to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, requires that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks when “outdoors in crowded settings.”

The order also adds limits to events — prohibiting both indoor and outdoor events with 2,500 or more people in attendance, and requiring events with 500 or more attendees to implement a plan for verifying vaccination status or proof of a negative test.

Discussing the amendment to last week’s health order, Kellermann connected it to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in a Q&A Wednesday, saying, “We’ve never had numbers like this before in our county.”

Ryan Gruver, the county’s Director of Health and Human Services, pointed out during the Wednesday Q&A that the county has seen a rise in weekly cases since June, with the uptick leading to the three-week period (Aug. 2-20) prior to this week having the highest weekly case counts of any three weeks throughout the pandemic — 400 cases last week, 438 the previous week, and 443 the week before that.

“So, that’s obviously a very concerning place to be, and not where we hoped to be with a significant component of our community vaccinated,” said Gruver, noting that the county has surpassed the 60% mark of eligible residents being fully vaccinated.

Kellermann went on to stress the importance of keeping local hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

“The hospitals in Nevada County are at capacity, and all hospitals in the region are reaching their inpatient limit,” said the county Public Health Department in a release Wednesday, adding that capacity for transferring patients within the region was very limited.

“Regional emergency departments have been overwhelmed with patients seeking diagnosis and care for COVID-19 to the point where those with other emergency conditions are finding delayed care or having to go elsewhere for help,” stated the release.

As of Tuesday, according to the state’s COVID-19 Hospitals Dashboard, Nevada County had 30 hospitalized patients — 20% higher than the county’s 14-day rolling average of 25.

“We think these are relatively simple measures to curb the spread of this virus in the community, which is running rampant and is problematic for our health care system and for the way we do business in this community,” said Kellermann on the measures added with the amended health order.

On the amended order, Dr. Glennah Trochet, the county’s deputy public health officer, said Wednesday, “We’re hoping that, if people follow this order, that it will help decrease the spread and that’s what we need in order to protect our health care system.”

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at

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