Nevada County listed as substantial, Placer deemed widespread under Newsom’s new COVID-19 blueprint | SierraSun.com
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Nevada County listed as substantial, Placer deemed widespread under Newsom’s new COVID-19 blueprint

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recently released revised criteria regarding restrictions on activities and businesses across the state takes a new approach to reopening.

The new criteria for counties has four tiers based on test positivity and adjusted case rate. The tiers are broken down into categories of widespread, substantial, moderate, and minimal.

Nevada County, as of Thursday, is in the substantial category; while Placer County is listed as widespread.

“This Blueprint is statewide, stringent and slow,” Newsom said in a news release. “We have made notable progress over recent weeks, but the disease is still too widespread across the state. COVID-19 will be with us for a long time and we all need to adapt. We need to live differently. And we need to minimize exposure for our health, for our families and for our communities.”

“While we were disappointed to have to begin the school year in distance learning, it is our hope that we will be able to safely transition to a hybrid model of instruction by early October.”— Carmen GhyselsSuperintendent Chief Learning Officer

The new plan includes a 21-day mandatory wait time to move between tiers and will be updated by the state every Tuesday. A county must meet the metrics of the next tier for two straight weeks before being deemed eligible to move to a more unrestricted tier. Similarly, if a county fails to meet its current criteria for two straight weeks, it will move to a more restricted tier.

As part of being placed in the substantial category, Nevada County restaurants can now open indoor dining at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less, with safety modifications in place. Local bars and breweries that don’t serve food, however, must remain closed.

In Placer County, which is under the tightest restriction tier, restaurants are limited to outdoor dining and take-out. Local salons and barbershops are allowed to reopen with safety modifications in place.

Placer County officials said they expect to have an update on moving to the substantial tier by next week, if trends continue in a positive direction. The move to new criteria, according to county officials, has created further delay in school reopenings — a matter the county is taking up with California Department of Public Health.

Due to the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District being based in Placer County, all local schools in the area — including those in Truckee within Nevada County — are starting the year with distance learning.

“While we were disappointed to have to begin the school year in distance learning, it is our hope that we will be able to safely transition to a hybrid model of instruction by early October,” said Superintendent Chief Learning Officer Carmen Ghysels, in Thursday’s announcement from the district. “Prior to (Newsom’s) Friday announcement, Placer County was on track to be off the county monitoring watch list on (Sept. 1).

“Since this is only a day after the new tiered system went into effect, we got confirmation that we are now officially off the watch list and, as of (Sept. 8), if our number of cases of COVID-19 remain under control, we will be able to move down to ‘Red’ in the tiered system. This would allow for some in-person instruction by the end of September.”

The school district said securing licensed vocational nurses to administer COVID-19 testing for staff and students is the biggest hurdle it faces in moving toward reopening with live learning.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.


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