Nevada County shatters record with start of Omicron surge

Local schools are adjusting to challenges resulting from Nevada County’s current surge in COVID-19 cases.

The number of active COVID-19 cases nearly tripled in the last week in Nevada County, according to its dashboard.

According to Ryan Gruver, director of Health and Human Services, 702 new cases were reported on Tuesday alone — surpassing not only the highest number of cases recorded in a single day to date, but also the highest number recorded in any week.

“I think you can also infer, from what we’ve seen in other parts of the world, other parts of the nation, and the state, that we’re not done with this yet,” said Gruver. Other places during a surge of the Omicron variant have exceeded previous pandemic peaks “sometimes by four- or five-fold,” he said.

Public Health Director Jill Blake, and Deputy Public Health Officer, Dr. Glennah Trochet, sent a memo earlier this week to the county’s schools regarding adjustments to testing, isolation, and quarantine during the COVID-19 case surge due to the Omicron variant.

The memo stated the current surge in Nevada County is “unprecedented,” adding that the Omicron variant is “highly infectious but may cause less severe disease,” and that it is unknown whether long-term symptoms or disability would come from this variant, as they have from previous variants of the virus.

There have been 1,253 new cases in Nevada County in the last week, the highest since the county peaked at 488 new cases for the week ending Sept. 3.

Since, the county’s weekly case count remained below 200 for 15 weeks — until recording 453 new cases two weeks ago.

“While we’re seeing a lot of cases, I think we could see a lot more in the coming weeks, so (we) still expect that we’re in the beginning of an Omicron surge in cases,” said Gruver.

In response to new guidance from the state Department of Public Health, according to the memo, certain authorizations have been made to schools until Feb. 28, or sooner, “if the current surge recedes to manageable levels, staff attendance improves, and testing supplies become more available.”

Among these are that the schools issue “blanket exposure notifications,” notifying all students participating in in-person instruction that they have likely been exposed, placing them all into a “quarantine” during which they may remain on campus as long as they wear a mask, and are recommended regardless of vaccination status to get tested.

The surge could just be getting started, which is why Public Health Officer Dr. Glennah Trochet said people should do what they can to “blunt the surge.”

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



(As of Thursday morning)

Number of COVID-19 cases: 12,445

Number in western county: 9,258

Number in eastern county: 3,187

Number of active cases: 1,779

Number hospitalized: 25

Number of recoveries: 10,543

Number of deaths: 123 (one in the last week)


Number of COVID-19 cases: 51,622

Number of recoveries: 41,133

Number of deaths: 510 (11 in the last week)

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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