Nevada County prepares for orange tier

As of Thursday morning, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nevada County had reached 4,803. There are 32 new cases since Thursday, May 20, indicating a 1% increase.

Of the 4,803 total cases, 4,598 have been released from isolation and 130 are presently active. Nevada County has had 75 deaths due to the coronavirus, with no deaths in the last seven weeks.

Nevada County’s COVID-19 current case rate meets the requirements for the orange tier listed in a Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

If the county’s numbers stay this low, a level not locally recorded since September, the county would move into the orange tier this coming Wednesday — just two weeks before June 15, the day the state plans to abolish the tiered system.

Restaurants will increase from 25% to 50% capacity indoors, gyms to 25% capacity indoors, and movie theaters to 50% capacity indoors.

Health and Human Services Director Ryan Gruver said if the county “stays on track” for the next two weeks, indoor facilities dedicated to eating, exercising or entertaining should be able to open back up to 100% capacity.

“This is a more comfortable transition to the orange tier,” Gruver said, adding he prefers that public and private entities open slowly.

Placer County is now in the orange tier.

As of Thursday morning, Placer County reported 22,956 COVID-19 cases, indicating a 1% rise in cases over the last seven days. The county’s COVID-19 dashboard indicates there were 155 new cases this week.

One Placer County resident died this week, bringing the death toll to 296.

Placer County has distributed 350,555 vaccines since their introduction to the region. The county’s total of fully vaccinated people is 163,682 — just over 40% of the county.


Nevada County’s Public Health Director Dr. Jill Blake said that comparing counties, their case rates and immunization data is not necessarily useful for her job’s intent and purpose.

“If you see one community, you see one community,” Blake said. “Ours is unique and we will continue to do everything we can to get the vaccine out there.”

Blake said that includes offering people rides to the clinic.

“Transportation services can be arranged through MyTurn,” Blake said.

Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Kellermann said over 85,000 doses of the available vaccines have been distributed throughout the county of approximately 100,000 people.

Blake said the county anticipated that there would be certain people who would jump on the opportunity to be vaccinated as soon as it became available, and those who would resist or reject the idea altogether.

According to California’s Health and Human Services’ website, Nevada County’s total number of fully vaccinated people is 38,258.

Blake said over 60% of Northern Californian residents surveyed support the vaccine and 15% remain undecided. Blake said her department is conducting targeted outreach to those in Nevada County who are still have not made up their minds.

Kellermann and Blake said they anticipated the interest in available vaccines to diminish over time, and are concentrating on those 18 to 40 — the local demographic that data indicates is lagging in their vaccination progress.

The state announced it will align with the CDC’s current mask guidance — meaning vaccinated individuals will be able to be unmasked in most settings and unvaccinated individuals will be required to continue wearing masks in most settings — when California moves “Beyond the Blueprint.“ Almost all restrictions on physical distancing and capacity will be lifted as immunizations progress and the mid-June date nears.

According to a county press release, “mega” events with over 5,000 attendees indoors and 10,000 attendees outdoors will still have some COVID-19-related requirements.

Gruver said there was some confusion when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that people need not mask while they are outside, because neither the region nor the state was ever under a CDC-imposed mask requirement. Gruver expressed concern that the majority of people who claim to not need the mask are likely still unvaccinated.

Gruver said the mask requirement was imposed and can be enforced by the state.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun and The Union, a sister publication of the Sun


(As of Thursday morning)


Number of COVID-19 cases: 4,803

Number in western county: 3,471

Number in eastern county: 1,332

Number of active cases: 130

Number hospitalized: 2

Number of recoveries: 4,598

Number of deaths: 75 (zero in the last seven weeks)

Number tested: 106,614


Number of COVID-19 cases: 22,956

Number in East Placer: 909

Number in Mid-Placer: 3,328

Number in South Placer: 18,419

Number of recoveries: 22,312

Number of deaths: 296 (1 this week)

Number tested negative: 394,908


The COVID-19 vaccine is widely available in Nevada County to all residents age 12 and over. Vaccine pop-up and walk-in clinics, transportation support and in-home vaccination options are available at or by calling 1-833-422-4255 toll free

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