‘Headed in the right direction’: COVID-19 case rate continues to fall

Nevada County’s COVID-19 case rate is “headed in the right direction,” according to county Director of Health and Human Services Ryan Gruver.

In a Q&A Wednesday, Gruver referred to a chart displaying the weekly case counts in the county stretching back to 2020. The recent surge fueled by spread of the Omicron variant “really has dwarfed everything else,” he said.

Prior to this surge, the county’s previous peak weekly case count had occurred as the Delta variant spread last year, with 488 cases during the week ending Sept. 3.

The recent surge peaked during the week ending Jan. 28, with 1,642 new cases recorded in Nevada County that week, said Gruver, adding that the county has since followed a similar declining trajectory to the state. The following week’s case count had been 707 new cases, and the county recorded 494 new cases last week.

As of Wednesday, according to the county’s Coronavirus Dashboard, it had recorded 150 new cases this week, which Gruver said indicated a continued downward trend.

“The thing I would call out is that, even though that is a decline, it still exceeds the peaks of the previous two surges of the pandemic,” said Gruver. “So, (I) just want to call out that even as we’re on the down slope, we’re still seeing significant COVID cases.”


Nevada County Director of Public Health Jill Blake said Wednesday that 77% of Nevada County residents who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine had at that point received at least one dose.

This represents over 72,400 people, said Blake.

“In terms of the number of people who are fully vaccinated in our community, that number is at 68.7% of our eligible population, so that number continues to inch up as well,” she added.

As of Wednesday, according to state data tracking vaccination status, over 32,000 booster-eligible Nevada County residents had also received a booster dose.


Referring to the county’s still elevated, although declining, rate of new cases, Gruver said, “It speaks to why we are continuing to strongly recommend masking for people of all vaccination status, even as it’s no longer required in most public settings for people who are fully vaccinated.”

Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Sherilynn Cooke clarified Wednesday that the recent change at the statewide level, with which Nevada County is now in alignment, means that only the “universal masking mandate” has been lifted.

The state guidance already in place before that mandate went into effect, which required that people who are not vaccinated wear masks in public settings, remains in effect, said Cooke. She added that certain settings, including K-12 schools and health care settings, also continue to require masking regardless of vaccination status.

“So, it’s a little bit of a misnomer that there is no longer a masking mandate,” said Cooke. “There still is, but it has been relaxed somewhat for individuals who are vaccinated.”

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

Staff Writer Rebecca O’Neil contributed to this report



(As of Thursday morning)

Number of COVID-19 cases: 15,660

West county: 11,699

East county: 3,961

Number of active cases: 4,953

Number hospitalized: 21

Number of recoveries: 10,575 (up 10 from last week)

Number of deaths: 132 (2 in the last week)


Number of COVID-19 cases: 61,374

Number of recoveries: 57,132

Number of deaths: 550 (5 in the last week)

As case investigations are conducted and more information is gathered, case counts may change or even decrease due to residents’ locations being confirmed in nearby counties. The number of laboratory tests reported to the Public Health Department is approximate

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