‘Still highly recommended’: Nevada County health order requiring masks in public to lift Wednesday, become recommendation
Special to the Sierra Sun
Nevada County Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Glennah Trochet said in an email Monday that the availability of vaccinations — “and the fact so many residents of Nevada County have taken advantage of the protection provided by vaccines” — was one of the considerations as local health officials discussed changing the county’s indoor mask requirement to a recommendation.
County Public Health Officer Dr. Sherilynn Cooke had announced in a news release Friday that the county would revert to the state’s mask order going into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, which would no longer require all residents to wear a mask when indoors in public places.
According to the release, it is “still highly recommended” that people wear a high quality mask in public regardless of vaccination status. However, per the statewide order, only individuals who have not been vaccinated are required to do so.
Also in accordance with the statewide order, people regardless of vaccination status must still wear masks in “specific indoor settings,“ including public transportation; K-12 schools and childcare; health care and congregate living settings; homeless and emergency shelters and cooling and heating centers; and local correctional facilities and detention centers, the release stated.
As of Monday, according to state data tracking vaccination, two of Nevada County’s age groups — 50 to 64 years old, and 65 or older — were at least 75% fully vaccinated, and between 6% and 8% of each of these age groups was partially vaccinated.
In those two age groups, the majority of those eligible to receive a booster had done so as of Monday.
In the county’s largest age group, 18 to 49 years old, 58.6% of residents were fully vaccinated and 8.4% were partially vaccinated. Minors aged 12 to 17 had similar rates, with 56.6% fully vaccinated and 6.5% partially vaccinated.
The age group with the lowest percentage vaccinated as of Monday was children aged 5 to 11 years old, who were 27.5% fully vaccinated and 6.5% partially vaccinated.
In the release, Cooke stated the county’s local case rate was lower than the statewide rate, and that the county continued to see a a sharp decrease in cases, although she recommended continued precaution as “we continue to have high transmission.”
As of Monday, according to state data tracking COVID-19, Nevada County’s average daily case rate per 100,000 residents was 56.3, while the statewide average was 57.
For comparison, the county had reached an average case rate of approximately 190 in mid-January and previous peaks last year and in winter 2020 had been approximately 70 and 60, respectively.
The release stated Friday that the local health care system is “better prepared to handle COVID-19 cases with the improved ability to treat COVID-19 patients with therapeutics.”
Trochet said Monday that this improvement was due to tools which had not been available earlier in the pandemic.
“There are effective protocols and medication that can be used at various stages of the illness,” said Trochet. “In addition, many health care workers are vaccinated and protected. There is enough PPE to use in health care settings, and our local hospitals are not working under crisis conditions.”
Victoria Penate is a staff writer with The Union, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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