Nevada County not ready for eased restrictions

Nevada County’s COVID-19 risk level data once again stalled following moderate improvements the previous week.

Case rate and positivity statistics increased, going from 20.8 new cases per day to 26.3 and 7% to 7.3% positivity for the week starting Jan. 17.

In order to meet criteria to move into the red/substantial tier, the county needs to have fewer than seven cases per day and less than 8% positivity for two weeks.

In the red tier restaurants, places of worship and movie theaters would open at 25% indoor capacity, while gyms could open with 10% indoor capacity. Personal care services could open indoors with modifications.

On Tuesday, state Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced the state had its fewest daily cases since November at just over 12,000. At the height of the surge the state reached over 50,000 cases per day.

Ghaly said 14-day average positivity rates for the state fell to 7.2%, down from 11% positivity two weeks ago. The 7-day average is at 6.4%.

Acording to Ghaly, hospitalizations have fallen 30% in the last two weeks, with statewide intensive care unit admissions falling almost 20%. In the Greater Sacramento region, which includes Nevada County, ICU availability has increased to just over 18% from just under 10% last week.

Despite promising signs over the last several months, Nevada County has not been able to sustain a dip in COVID-19 risk indicators.

The county has bounced between 20-30 new cases per day and 7%-9% positivity since reaching peaks of 54 new cases per day and 11% positivity following Thanksgiving.


Nevada County case and positivity rates since October. The orange line represents positivity rates and blue bars represent case rates.
Source: California Department of Public Health

Some of the county’s recent dips in COVID-19 risk data came as testing averages have also declined, lagging behind state averages for testing capacity over the last month.

Nevada County was well ahead of state testing averages for some weeks in November and December.
Source: California Department of Public Health

John Orona is a staff writer for The Union, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun. Email him at or call 530-477-4229.

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