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Nevada County COVID case rate now aligned with state

Nevada County’s average rate of daily new COVID-19 cases has been similar this week to the statewide rate for the first time “in a while,“ said county Director of Public Health Jill Blake in a Q&A Wednesday.

According to the state’s online dashboard tracking COVID-19, Nevada County’s rate rose quickly above the state average in July, peaking at over 70 while the statewide average peaked in the low 30s in August. The discrepancy between the state and county’s case rate remained above the statewide average until earlier this month.

As of Wednesday, both Nevada County and the state had average rates of 13.3 daily new cases per 100,000 residents, the dashboard stated.



Nevada County’s rate of new COVID-19 cases has remained fairly steady over the last two weeks, according to Blake.

“Last week, we reported 157 cases, which is about the same as the prior week at 171,” she said in a Q&A Wednesday.



Blake added that the county’s vaccination rate continues to rise, with 72.7% of eligible county residents having received at least one dose and 65.4% being fully vaccinated, as of Wednesday.

“And that couldn’t be more important as we head into these winter months, where people are gathered in close settings,” she said.

OMICRON VARIANT

On the Omicron variant, county Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Glennah Trochet said in a Q&A Wednesday, “Cases have been reported from Sacramento, Yolo, and El Dorado counties, so there is no reason to think that it’s not in Nevada County.”

She noted that Yolo County has “quick access to genotyping,” and “not surprisingly” has reported more cases than the other two counties. Nevada County, she said, has to wait for a longer time for this kind of testing to be done.

“It takes about a week, in the best scenario, for us to get any kind of reports on the variants circulating in Nevada County,” said Trochet. “So, as of a week ago, Delta was still the main variant in Nevada County causing COVID, but I suspect that we do have Omicron now.”

Trochet said officials were hearing that the Omicron variant is “much more infectious” than the Delta variant, and appears to cause less severe disease. She qualified this evaluation, saying it is “subject to change as we learn more.”

Recent information from studies, she added, indicated that currently available vaccines provide “some immunity against Omicron, although it appears to be less than they’d provide for the older variants.”

Trochet said her recommendation was that those who have received an original vaccine series get a booster if the appropriate period of time — six months since the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two months since the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — has passed.

“If you haven’t been immunized, it’s never too late to start getting immunized and get your first dose now,” she added.

According to Blake, as of Wednesday, over 21,600 boosters had been given to Nevada County residents.

MASK ORDERS

The first case of the Omicron variant in the Unites States was detected in California on Dec. 1, according to the state Department of Public Health.

The state department updated its guidance for the use of face coverings Monday to require that masks be worn in all indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status, from Wednesday until Jan. 15.

“This new measure brings an added layer of mitigation as the Omicron variant, a Variant of Concern as labeled by the World Health Organization, is detected across California, the United States, and the world and is likely to spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and the Delta variant,” stated the new guidance.

It added that, since Thanksgiving, the statewide seven-day average case rate had increased by 47% and hospitalizations had increased by 14%.

Trochet said Wednesday that the state has also said that, if a local health officer order is in place, it supersedes the statewide order.

While the state was not previously requiring that vaccinated individuals wear a mask while in indoor public settings, and only required that unvaccinated individuals did so until its updated guidance went into effect Wednesday, Nevada County has had an order in place requiring this regardless of vaccination status since August.

“The Nevada County health officer order stands until it’s rescinded, and it hasn’t been rescinded,” said Trochet. “So, at this point, if anybody asks, follow the Nevada County health officer order.”

Nevada County reported 91 new COVID-19 cases over the last week — a 1% increase — bringing the total number of cases to 9,942.

According to the COVID-19 dashboard, 9,707 people have been released from isolation and 116 people had active cases. Since the Delta variant surge began in August, 40 people have died — four last week — bringing the total number of deaths in Nevada County since the pandemic began to 119.

PLACER COUNTY

As of Thursday morning, Placer County reported 322 new cases, a 1% increase in cases from the prior week.

There were seven recorded deaths caused by COVID-19 in Placer County last week, bringing the death toll to 486.

Placer County has distributed 595,337 vaccines since their introduction. The number of fully vaccinated Placer County residents is now 248,838 people.

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

The Union and Sun Staff Writer Rebecca O’Neil contributed to this report

BY THE NUMBERS

NEVADA COUNTY

Number of COVID-19 cases: 9,942

Number in western county: 7,757

Number in eastern county: 2,185

Number of active cases: 116

Number hospitalized: 8

Number of recoveries: 9,707

Number of deaths: 119 (four in the last week)

PLACER COUNTY

Number of COVID-19 cases: 39,293

Number of recoveries: 37,847

Number of deaths: 486 (seven in the last week)

Number tested negative: 679,551

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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