Stricter COVID-19 safety order not likely in Nevada County
Special to the Sierra Sun
By the numbers
As of April 23
COVID-19 cases: 36
Western county: 12
Eastern county: 24
Number of deaths: 1
COVID-19 cases: 133
East Placer/Tahoe: 9
Mid Placer: 11
South Placer/Valley: 113
Number of deaths: 8
Learn more at http://www.sierrasun.com/coronavirus
Despite public calls for stricter measures on businesses still open, health officials said additional orders are not likely at this time.
“We’ve been getting a lot of citizens calling concerned about lack of mask and glove use,” Nevada County Environmental Health Director Amy Irani said. “That’s been our biggest question.”
Irani said the health department recommends businesses use masks and gloves if the resources are available and noted some, like BriarPatch Co-op, Safeway and SPD in western Nevada County, have voluntarily enacted mask policies. However, with the lack of supplies readily available and weakened supply chain, it wouldn’t make sense to make them a requirement.
“For the most part, our stores are doing a great job. They’ve got areas marked, they’re trying to limit the number of people in the store,” Irani said. “Sometimes we’ll get a call where they’re saying, ‘The person bagging my groceries was too close to me,’ and we’re heading out to the store location and talking to the store manager any time a citizen complaint comes in.”
While many complaints are deemed unfounded, checking in on them has opened a consistent channel of communication with establishments, Irani said.
“It’s a shame that COVID has created that connection, but it’s a great thing to have and being able to reach out,” she said.
Placer County Health Officer Dr. Aimee Sisson announced similar recommendations earlier this month, saying cloth face coverings — such as a bandana, scarf or homemade cloth cover — are recommended when leaving the house for essential activities to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“The new recommendation comes after increasing evidence that transmission of the virus can occur as early as three days before people develop symptoms,” a news release states. “But health officials stress that face coverings should be used in tandem with, not in place of, other strategies.”
According to Nevada County Public Health Officer Ken Cutler, whether people need to wear face covering in public is another frequently asked question. While the county recommends the move, Cutler said last week making it an order could lead to people lowering their guard in other areas, like social distancing and staying at home.
County officials said they don’t have a measure on how well people are complying with the recommendation to wear face coverings while in public.
There are 133 confirmed cases in Placer County, as of Thursday, with the vast majority (113) being in south Placer County and the valley. A total of nine cases have been confirmed in eastern Placer County. Eight deaths have been confirmed, including seven people over the age of 65.
“However, testing is still limited,” Placer County’s coronavirus case dashboard states. “The absence of a confirmed case in any specific geographic area does not mean that specific area does not have virus transmission — it just means a case has not yet been identified.”
Since April 3, 46 cases have been confirmed in Placer County, with nine reported since April 13. Of the total 133 cases, 42% are between the ages of 18-49, with 36% between 50-64 years old. There have been 3,543 negative test results.
Nevada County has begun releasing more demographic data for its 36 confirmed cases. The number is two fewer than the county previously reported, as officials said they determined two cases were confirmed to be in nearby counties.
According to Nevada County, 15 cases are people age 18-49; 14 are age 50-64; and 7 are from people 65 or older. There have been 17 male patients and 19 female, with 30 cases acquired from the community and six travel-related.
Since April 3, the county has accrued seven cases, which Cutler said may be a potential sign of the state’s stay-at-home order’s effectiveness, though the case count does not reflect the extent of transmission.
“We continue to encourage and recommend cloth face coverings when going out in public, particularly if social and physical distancing could be difficult,” Cutler said. “We still recommend that face coverings be used in addition to going out less and only for essential services and activities, keeping distance from others, meticulous hand hygiene, and disinfection of surfaces.”
John Orona is a reporter for The Union, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun based in Grass Valley. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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