Nevada County officials give COVID update; No known monkeypox cases
Area public health officials met Wednesday for an update on the COVID pandemic and the monkeypox virus.
Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Sherilynn Cooke said that from last Friday through Tuesday, the county saw 61 new COVID cases, but noted that might not accurately reflect the total number.
“We are still solidly in the purple tier,” Cooke explained. “It’s improved, but it’s not good. The cases we are reporting are under-reported because of at-home tests.”
The purple tier under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy was the most restrictive, dictating what businesses could open and their allowed capacity, based on infections. That system is no longer in place.
“There is no mask mandate,” Cooke said. “People are still getting infected, even with the vaccine.”
Cooke said she highly recommends a high-quality mask, such as a KN-95.
The BA.5 Omicron sub-variant is more contagious than other strains and there have been more outbreaks in more outdoor settings, Cooke added, mostly those containing large crowds.
She added that hospital workers are being hit hard and causing a shortage in medical staff, with facilities facing the possibility of once again going into crisis mode.
An additional concern of Cooke’s is the recent Oak Fire burning near Yosemite. Poor air quality, she said, worsens any type of infection, with the particles from the air having the ability to go deep into one’s lungs.
Cooke’s recommended treatment of COVID-19 is the use of the drug Paxlovid, saying the majority of patients are eligible to take it, and it has proven to reduce symptoms.
Quarantining if someone tests positive or feels sick is also recommended.
Jill Blake, public health director for Nevada County, said there remains a public testing site at 231 Colfax Ave. in Grass Valley, where patients can not only be tested but receive treatment. Insurance isn’t needed to participate, and the site can administer up to 50 tests per day.
Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Glennah Trochet said the recent worry surrounding monkeypox is warranted, but added there have been no known cases in Nevada County.
Trochet said Wednesday there were 3,591 cases nationwide, with California having 646 of them. Twenty-nine cases have been detected in Sacramento and, according to a statement released by Placer County Public Health, one there as well.
Trochet said monkeypox is in the same family as smallpox. Those infected will likely experience flu-like symptoms, then develop a rash or small spots that can be very painful. Additionally, it can be passed through objects that may be contaminated.
The Placer County statement advised that there are a number of ways to help prevent the spread of monkeypox, including talking to sexual partners about their recent activity and overall health, avoiding close contact with those who have sores or rashes, and practicing good hygiene.
Trochet said: “If you have been exposed, the best (thing) is to notify your doctor.”
Jennifer Nobles is a staff writer with The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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