Rising numbers: Nevada County sees increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations since last week

Dr. Brian Evans, president and CEO of Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, said through a spokesperson Wednesday that there has been a substantial increase in COVID-19 patients coming to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, resulting in more admissions and increased strain on the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

According to state data, the county had 30 active COVID-19 hospitalizations Monday and 26 Tuesday — an increase from both the county’s 14-day rolling average of 16 — and, for example, also an increase from last Monday and Tuesday, when the county reported 11 and 13 patients, respectively.

Evans said Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital’s “winter peak” had been 15 hospitalized patients, and the hospital had in recent days seen numbers as high as 29.

While the hospital “is not at risk of being overwhelmed,” according to Evans’ statement, it has had to reallocate staff and shift some elective procedures due to staffing shortages.

“The pandemic has placed immense pressure on our health care heroes,” Evans said. “They are incredibly dedicated people, always willing to serve our community, but they are exhausted.”

He added that the hospital was preparing to comply with the state Department of Public Health’s order, issued last week, requiring that visitors show either proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours, although the hospital is “waiting on additional information before finalizing our process and sharing more broadly with patients, visitors, and our community.”

In a video update July 30, Evans had said that the hospital would be in compliance with the state mandate that health care facilities “are going to have to either show vaccination proof for every employee and physician, or those individuals are going to have to be tested every single week.”

The county has seen elevated numbers of new cases reported so far this week, with 146 new cases reported Monday and 186 Tuesday — both days breaking the previous highest number of new cases this year. That was followed by 62 new cases Wednesday, for a total of 394 cases this week as of Wednesday, according to the county’s Coronavirus Dashboard.

For comparison, 276 new cases were reported from Monday to Wednesday last week, and the previous week’s Monday to Wednesday (July 26-28) saw 118 new cases reported.

One COVID-19 death was reported Wednesday, bringing the county’s total recorded deaths to 77, according to the county dashboard. A death was also recorded Monday, and prior to that, none had been recorded since April 5.

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

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