Nevada County stays in red tier

Nevada County will remain in the red tier following a change in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Health officials last week warned Nevada County could slip back into the more restrictive purple tier, but due to an update from the state, businesses like restaurants will continue to be allowed to have indoor dining at a limited capacity.

“Unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as low rate of vaccine take up, a county will only move to a more restrictive tier if hospitalizations are increasing significantly among vulnerable individuals, especially among vaccinated individuals, and both test positivity and adjusted case rates show a concerning increase in transmission,” said California Department of Public Health in its update.

Nevada County has been in the red tier since March 22. As of Thursday morning, the county reported five active hospitalizations due to COVID-19, and 83 active cases.

“It’s important to note that this reprieve for businesses is because the state changed the rules, not because our data improved,” said Director of Nevada County Health and Human Services Ryan Gruver in an email. “It’s exceedingly important that people continue to exercise precautions including face coverings, distancing, avoiding gatherings, and getting vaccinated as soon as appointments are available to them.”

Tahoe Forest Health System Chief Operating Officer Judy Newland provided an update on vaccines in the area during Tuesday’s Good Morning Truckee forum, stating that at a minimum eastern Nevada County is providing more than 2,000 vaccines a week, which are open to those 16 and over. Newland added that all vaccine allotments are now coming from the state.

Beginning next week, Newland said Tahoe Forest Health System will transition to the state’s MyTurn online scheduling tool. Individuals looking to get vaccinated will now have to schedule appointments through the state’s site at or by calling 1-833-422-4255.

The state is aiming to fully reopen its economy on June 15, as long as hospitalization rates are stable and low, and there is a sufficient vaccine supply.

“The best way to stay in the red and move towards that June 15 reopening target that the governor has set is to get vaccinated, maintain social distancing, wash your hands, and wear your masks,” said Truckee Town Manager Jennifer Callaway during Tuesday’s Town Council meeting, adding that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has not been widely administered in the community.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccinations have been halted, according to Tuesday’s joint statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Food and Drug Administration, due to concerns about potential blood clots in rare cases. The report states that of 6.8 million doses administered, there have been six reported cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot.

“We’re not concerned about that at this point,” concluded Callaway.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at or 530-550-2643.

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