Amended Health Order Sets New Requirements for Events, Masks

Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Kellermann has amended his August 18th order on face coverings to include further mandates for crowded outdoor settings and large events. The order becomes effective at 12:01 a.m. on August 27, 2021.

In addition to last week’s requirements for face coverings indoors, the amended order:

  • Requires that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear face coverings outdoors in crowded settings.
  • Prohibits indoor and outdoor gatherings or events where 2,500 or more people will be in attendance, until further notice.
  • Requires that events with 500 attendees or more develop and implement a plan to verify vaccination status, or proof of a negative test preferably within the 24 hours of the event but no longer than 72 hours prior to the event.

Nevada County is experiencing an unprecedented number of COVID-19 cases admitted to its two hospitals. As of August 24, 2021, Nevada County’s case rate was 49.1 cases per day per 100,000 and the test positivity rate was 12.0%, one of the highest in California. 

The hospitals in Nevada County are at capacity, and all hospitals in the region are reaching their inpatient limit. There is very limited capacity for transferring patients within the region. Regional emergency departments have been overwhelmed with patients seeking diagnosis and care for COVID-19 to the point where those with other emergency conditions are finding delayed care or having to go elsewhere for help.  

Rising case rates, increasing test positivity, and the high numbers of hospitalizations are largely due to the predominance of the highly infectious Delta variant, which has been labeled as “younger, sicker, quicker.” The Delta variant is highly contagious and may have increased the risk of hospitalization compared to the original virus. 

Large gatherings will lead to further spread of COVID-19, creating an additional burden for the medical system in Nevada County.

“The steps we’re taking today are the limit the spread of the virus in our community,” Kellermann said of the amended order. “The Delta variant is highly transmissible, but there are simple ways to protect ourselves and those we love. Mask up indoors and out, avoid gatherings, and if you can, get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

Read the full order here.

Nevada County Public Health Officer Issues Order on Face Coverings Indoors

Today, Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Kellermann issued an order requiring all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings when indoors in public settings and businesses. The order also strongly recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear face coverings outdoors in crowded settings. The order goes into effect at 12:01 am on Friday, August 20th.

Additionally, the order clarifies that all schools, private or public, and settings where students from more than one household gather for purposes of education, must follow the requirements of the California Department of Public Health for wearing face coverings for students, staff, volunteers, and visitors.

The Health Officer’s order comes on the heels of soaring case rates and hospitalizations connected to the highly infectious Delta variant, which has been labeled “younger, sicker, quicker” in comparison to the original virus. Case rates have risen over elevenfold–from 5.5. to 61.2 per 100,000 residents–since the statewide transition to Beyond the Blueprint on June 15, 2021. Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital has been experiencing the highest volume of patients admitted since the beginning of the pandemic.

Though the three vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. have been shown to be safe and effective, over 30% of Nevada County residents remain unvaccinated.

“With the rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission, we must use the tools we know to be effective in slowing the spread of the virus. Masking is the least disruptive and most immediately impactful additional measure we can take,” Kellermann said.

Kellermann recommended that all individuals, especially those who are unvaccinated or at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19, take personal measures to reduce risk in addition to masking.

See the full text of the Order

COVID-19 Cases Surge in Nevada County as Delta Variant Takes Hold

With 443 cases last week, Nevada County is experiencing the largest surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since the beginning of the pandemic. Cases have increased by 1200% since the week of July 1st.

Similar dramatic increases are being seen across the state. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently reported that California’s statewide case rate more than quadrupled from a low in May. The huge increase in infections is already taxing the healthcare system, with local and regional hospitals heavily impacted.

“There has been a substantial increase in COVID-19 patients coming to the hospital, which have resulted in more admissions,” said Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital President Dr. Brian Evans. “Our winter peak was 15 hospitalized patients, and we have now seen numbers as high as 29 in the last few days. The number of admissions fluctuates on a daily, and even hourly basis. The substantial majority of admissions for COVID are unvaccinated individuals. Nationally, unvaccinated patients make up well over 90 percent of admissions. At Sierra Nevada, we are having a similar experience. If you haven’t received your COVID vaccination, I strongly encourage you to do so.”  

According to the State’s COVID-19 hospitalization data, there are currently 25 COVID patients admitted to local hospitals. Evans said that over 90% of those admitted to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital are unvaccinated.

As cases continue to surge throughout State, local officials are urging Nevada County residents to take precautions. “We would be beyond the Purple Tier if we were not Beyond the Blueprint,” said Health and Human Services Director Ryan Gruver, referring to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which state officials abandoned in mid-June.

 “The dismantling of the tier system happened to correspond with the introduction of the highly contagious Delta variant,” said Nevada County Public Health Director Jill Blake. “Unfortunately, this may have given people a false sense of security in terms of disease transmission risk.”

Surge in COVID Cases is Linked to Delta Variant

According to state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly, the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) is up to 60% more infectious than the Alpha strain, and many more times more infectious than the original COVID-19 strain.

Public Health officials first confirmed the appearance in Nevada County of this highly transmissible variant from samples taken in early June. Over 80% of current COVID-19 cases statewide are confirmed to be from the Delta variant.

 “This variant is so contagious that people who are fully vaccinated can still get the virus,” Trochet said.  “And those who are unvaccinated are at much greater risk.” According to the CDPH, COVID-19 case rates are 600% higher in unvaccinated people than those who are vaccinated.

Breakthrough Cases in Nevada County

Breakthrough cases currently constitute approximately 20% of new weekly COVID-19 cases. Public Health officials consider any infection in a fully vaccinated person to be a ‘breakthrough’ case.

Breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated individuals are not uncommon, given that the vaccines are not 100% effective. Age and underlying health conditions can contribute to a lesser immune protective response to the vaccine. With 28% of Nevada County residents over the age of 65, our community is uniquely vulnerable to breakthrough cases.

While such cases are expected, officials are concerned by recent evidence that those who are vaccinated may be able to spread the virus, even if they have no symptoms.

Vaccines Continue to Be the Best Way to Prevent Serious Illness and Death

All three available vaccines continue to provide a high level of protection against the Delta variant. In fact, the vast majority of new cases are among the unvaccinated. Out of 100,000 Californians, 33 unvaccinated individuals will contract COVID-19 each day, compared to 7 vaccinated individuals, according to the CDPH.

While vaccines have been effective against the Delta variant, the virus continues to mutate as more people get sick. “If we allow people to continue to get infected, we will get a variant that escapes the effectiveness of vaccines,” Dr. Trochet said. “If everybody had gotten the vaccine when it was first available, we would not be here now. But it’s not too late to prevent this from getting worse.”

As families prepare to send kids back to school in the coming weeks, this is particularly important to protect children under 12 who are not currently able to receive a vaccine.

To schedule a vaccination, online at go to MyTurn.ca.gov or call 1-833-422-4255.

Tips to Stay Safe and Limit the Spread

With the recent rise in cases, the Nevada County Public Health Department issued a recommendation on July 29th encouraging vaccinated individuals to wear a mask in indoor public spaces. Both the CDC and the CDPH released similar recommendations the same week.

In California, unvaccinated individuals are required to wear a mask in indoor public places like stores, restaurants, and theaters. Everyone is required to wear a mask in certain public settings, including on public transit and in schools. To learn more about the State of California’s mask requirements, go to https://covid19.ca.gov/masks-and-ppe.

Local health officials are also encouraging residents to rethink attending large gatherings where people may be unvaccinated and unmasked. “I would think long and hard about attending large gatherings,” said Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Glennah Trochet. “There are certain groups who are at higher risk, vaccinated or not. It would be better to not to go than to be exposed,” Trochet added.

Those who do decide to attend crowded events should wear a mask to protect themselves and others.

More Information

To schedule a vaccination, online at go to MyTurn.ca.gov or call 1-833-422-4255. For updates and information on COVID-19, go to MyNevadaCounty.com/Coronavirus

Delta (B.1.617.2) COVID-19 Variant Identified in Nevada County

The significantly more contagious COVID-19 Delta variant has been found in Nevada County. Six cases were reported to Nevada County Public Health on June 30, 2021. The specimens were collected between June 3rd and June 15, indicating that the Delta variant has been circulating in the county for at least 4 weeks. Patients with this variant were located on both the eastern and western sides of our county.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that the Delta variant is now responsible for about one in every four new infections across the country. However, as the Delta variant is spread much more easily from person to person than the original virus, it is anticipated to become the most common variant in the U.S.

Experts are warning that the Delta variant is our greatest threat to the elimination of Covid-19. It is estimated to be the cause of 90% of Covid-19 cases in Britain and India. “The Delta variant is much more transmissible than the original coronavirus. Our best defense is to become immunized,” said Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Kellermann. “If you have previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2, although you do develop antibodies, you are not necessarily protected against this Delta variant”. 

Public Health urges all residents to become immunized as all the COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States continue to provide strong protection against all currently identified variants of the SARS-CoV-2, including the Delta variant. Dr. Kellermann added, “You are only partially protected against the Delta variant after one shot of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine; protection is much higher if you are fully vaccinated. Please complete the two-dose series as soon as possible, even if it is outside the recommended timeframe.”  Full protection against the virus occurs two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Those traveling this holiday weekend are urged to continue following all safety measures, including testing and quarantine guidelines. Do not travel if you are sick, have a recent positive COVID-19 test result, are in quarantine, or are waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test after being exposed to the virus.

 Now, more than ever, people should continue to follow public health guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and all variants. This includes:

  • Wearing a face covering in indoor public settings, public transportation, and businesses if unvaccinated. Vaccinated persons may choose to wear a face-covering to offer additional protection, especially if they will be in crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
  • Practicing good hand hygiene.
  • Getting tested for COVID-19 if you have been exposed, even if you are asymptomatic.
  • Staying home if you feel sick.
  • If unimmunized, please schedule a vaccine appointment through MyTurn.ca.gov. Most vaccine centers gladly welcome walk-in visits.

Vaccinations remain widely available throughout Nevada County. To view a full list of vaccine sites in Nevada County, visit: www.MyNevadaCounty.com/GetVaccinated.

For more information about variants in California, please visit www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/COVID-Variants.aspx

Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Approved for all Californians Ages 12+

As of May 13th, all Californians age 12 and over are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

All Pfizer clinics in MyTurn will show available appointments for patients as young as 12 years old. Any minor arriving for a vaccine appointment must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to attest to their age. Pfizer vaccines are currently offered at the Whispering Pines clinic in Grass Valley, Dokimos Pharmacy in Nevada City, and the Tahoe Forest Hospital clinic at Sierra College in Truckee. Schedule your family’s appointment online at MyTurn.ca.gov or call or 1-833-422-4255.

Make An Appointment

NCPH Opens New Vaccine Clinic at Sierra College Grass Valley Campus

Access to COVID-19 vaccines continues to expand in Nevada County. Nevada County Public Health has launched a new vaccine clinic at the Sierra College campus in Grass Valley. With 210 appointments per day, five days a week, the clinic provides a significant expansion in appointment availability.

The clinic at Sierra College will administer the Moderna vaccine, which is available for anyone 18 years and over. Clinic hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, beginning May 4th. Vaccines will be administered in the Sierra College Gymnasium (Building N13), located at 250 Sierra College Drive. Parking in the Sierra College lot is free, so please do not purchase a parking permit at the campus entry.

Appointments for the clinic are already available at MyTurn.ca.gov.

“We want to make it easy for anyone who is eligible for a vaccine to get one quickly and conveniently,” said Nevada County Public Health Director Jill Blake. “With the addition of this clinic, we now have vaccination appointments available six days a week in Western Nevada County, and our hope is that the addition of a weekend day makes scheduling an appointment easier for those who work or go to school Monday through Friday.”

All Californians age 16 and over are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Nevada County’s Whispering Pines (Pfizer) clinic serves individuals age 16 and over Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

The new site is the result of a Nevada County Public Health department request to the State for additional vaccination capacity. “This is a real win for our community, and it is the result of the hard work and collaboration of Public Health, Sierra College, and the State” said Public Health Officer Scott Kellermann. “Between Whispering Pines, Sierra College, Dokimos, and other local and regional retail pharmacies, anyone should be able to find an appointment to best meet their needs.”

The clinic at Sierra College is operated by OptumServe, which also runs the testing site on Colfax Avenue in Grass Valley. Space for the new clinic was generously donated by Sierra College.

“If you’ve been hesitant, politely waiting to get vaccinated, please don’t delay,” Public Health Officer Scott Kellermann said. “The immunizations are safe. Vaccination will not only protect you, but also prevent your spreading the virus to the ones you love. The sooner we all get vaccinated, the safer we will be.”

To schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment go to MyTurn.ca.gov or call 1-833-422-4255. For information on all vaccine providers serving Nevada County, go to MyNevadaCounty.com/GetVaccinated.

Due to the steep terrain at Sierra College, Public Health officials recommend that individuals with limited mobility schedule their vaccination at the Whispering Pines clinic, where parking is closer to the clinic entrance.

B.1.1.7 Variant of COVID-19 Confirmed in Eastern & Western Nevada County

Nevada County Public Health received notice that two specimens for SARS-CoV-2 taken in mid-March were determined to be the B.1.1.7 variant. One specimen was taken from a COVID-19 patient on the East side of Nevada County and the other was from a patient on the West side.

 “Like the discovery of the B.1.429 variant reported in Nevada County last week from a specimen in February, this is a reminder that every time an individual gets sick with COVID-19 it is an opportunity for the virus to mutate while it replicates within the body,” said Deputy Public Health Officer Dr. Glennah Trochet. “Everyone who receives a positive lab indicating they have COVID-19 should maintain isolation precautions, limiting contact with others in their household and in the community to reduce the spread of the virus.”

The B.1.1.7 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in the United Kingdom. It is designated as a variant of concern because it is approximately 50% more transmissible than the original virus, and may cause more severe disease, based on the number of hospitalizations and deaths associated with this variant. It appears to be susceptible to current monoclonal antibodies. The currently available vaccines continue to be effective against it. For more information about B.1.1.7  and other COVID-19 variants, visit the CDC website.

The best way to prevent infection is to get vaccinated. Until enough people are vaccinated, we should all continue to wear a mask while in public, maintain social distancing, wash our hands frequently. These actions help to protect others as well as ourselves. 

Public Health: B.1.429 Variant of COVID-19 Confirmed in Nevada County

The Nevada County Public Health department announced today that it has confirmed the first identified instance of the B.1.429 Variant of COVID-19 in Nevada County. Public Health officials requested genetic sequencing of a positive test in February, after a person who already had COVID-19 was re-infected. Results from the State lab came back yesterday.

 B.1.429 is one of the West Coast variants and is listed as a Variant of Concern by the CDC. Evidence suggests that these variants are more easily transmissible, can lead to more severe disease, and may be less responsive to treatment. As of April 1, 2021, there were 6,287 known cases of the B.1.429 variant in California.

“This adds urgency to the need to vaccinate as many people as we can, before a variant emerges that is not susceptible to our current vaccines,” said Nevada County Deputy Public Health Officer Glennah Trochet. “And for those who are not yet vaccinated, it is crucial to continue to wear masks, social distance, and avoid gatherings. Every time someone gets infected with this virus, they provide an opportunity for the virus to mutate as it replicates millions of times within their body.”

Last week, the Public Health department expanded vaccine eligibility at their Whispering Pines clinic in Grass Valley to anyone age 16 or over. Appointments are released on MyTurn.ca.gov every Friday at noon.

Though this is the first confirmed case of a variant in Nevada County, health officials caution that it is very likely that variants are already widespread in the county. “Because it is currently so difficult to get whole genomic sequencing, we do not know how widespread this particular variant is and if there are others circulating in Nevada County, but it is safe to assume that there are,” Trochet said.

“This is just another reminder that this pandemic is not over,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Kellermann. “We’re seeing our case rates rise and are concerned about the increasing numbers of infections in younger adults. We must do everything we can to limit the spread. I’m asking every individual to do their part—wear a mask, avoid gatherings, and get vaccinated.”

For more information about B.1.429  and other COVID-19 variants, visit the CDC website.

The Nevada County Public Health department releases vaccine appointments on MyTurn.ca.gov every Friday at noon. Learn about additional vaccine appointment options at MyNevadaCounty.com/Get Vaccinated.

Nevada County Risks Moving Back into the Purple Tier Next Week

After only two weeks in the Red Tier, Nevada County once again met the metrics for the Purple Tier, meaning COVID-19 is widespread and case rates are increasing.  Nevada County will remain in the Red Tier this week but will likely return to the Purple Tier on Wednesday, April 13th.

“Communities that have strictly adhered to guidelines are opening up, while Nevada County is at risk of moving backward,” said Nevada County Public Health Director Jill Blake. We know how COVID-19 spreads, and we know how to prevent the spread. The science is clear,” Blake said. “When we say that the virus is ‘widespread’ in our community, we mean just that: it’s everywhere. We’re seeing it in schools, workplaces, social settings, and businesses. The virus continues to be transmitted through unmasked gatherings, whether that’s in a restaurant, a bar, a workplace, or a private home.”

With certain restaurants and bars fully open–in defiance of health orders–large gatherings of people from multiple households and mask-burning demonstrations during a global pandemic, cases will increase. County officials attribute the case rise to local, organized opposition to proven public health prevention methods, particularly in Western Nevada County.

Local Public Health officials expressed disappointment and concern about the upward trend in cases. This week, with the State’s update to county metrics under the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, Nevada County jumped from an average daily rate of 6.9 cases to 12.7 cases. “This is an alarming trend,” said Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Kellermann. “And this data is from the week before Spring Break and the Easter holiday. We have yet to see the result of gatherings that may have taken place last week.”

Kellermann urged Nevada County residents to take individual actions to protect the health of the community as a whole. “The good news is that we all know how to protect ourselves and those we love. Wear a mask. Avoid gathering. And, of course, getting vaccinated is the best protection for yourself, your family, your friends, and your neighbors,” added Dr. Kellermann.

“We are seeing fewer cases in people 65 and older,” said Dr. Kellermann. “Although this is good news, we are finding that younger individuals are becoming infected. Although much less likely to die than older folks, a significant number of those infected will have symptoms of long COVID-19, like persistent lethargy, brain fog, and pulmonary conditions.”   

Nevada County Public Health has opened vaccine eligibility to anyone 16 and over for their Whispering Pines Grass Valley clinics, which use the Pfizer vaccine. Appointments can be made on MyTurn.CA.Gov; new appointments are added every Friday at noon. Vaccine appointments through other local vaccine providers can be found at www.MyNevadaCounty.com/GetVaccinated.

“We are in a race against time regarding the variants. If we adhere to the guidelines of masking and distancing and get immunized – we will win.” Kellermann said. “You all are aware that through working together, much has been accomplished by this community. We need to do that now. We all have a part to play. We can do better.”

Eligibility Expands to 16 and Older at Nevada County Public Health Clinics

From Nevada County Public Health:
We want to make sure that our rate of community vaccinations stays as fast as possible and that people who are ready to get vaccinated can get an appointment. Public Health has seen the availability in our appointment scheduling system increase in the last few weeks, so we have opened up eligibility for Nevada County Public Health clinics to everyone 16 and older. 

  • Everyone 50+ is eligible at all vaccine providers, including Public Health clinics.
  • Everyone 16+ is eligible at Nevada County Public Health clinics.

How to get an appointment when you are eligible

  • Appointments for 50+ and eligible employment sectors:
    • As of today, everyone 50 and older is eligible statewide, plus people who work in health care, education and childcare, food and agriculture, and emergency services. For a detailed list of eligibility, check our Vaccine Schedule page.
    • See our Vaccine Provider page for info on available appointments at individual providers. 
    • Use MyTurn.ca.gov or 1-833-422-4255 for Public Health clinics. We release appointments Fridays at noon.
  • Appointments for people 16 and older:
    • Public Health appointments are available via MyTurn.ca.gov or 1-833-422-4255 for our clinics in Grass Valley.
    • We post new appointments every Friday around noon for the following week.
    • Vaccine is free and you don’t need insurance to get your dose. However, if you have insurance, have your insurance info ready when you book your appointment via MyTurn.ca.gov.
    • Pfizer is the only vaccine that 16 and 17 year old’s can receive. Everyone 18 or older can receive all vaccine types. If you are 16 or 17, make sure you are signing up for a Pfizer vaccine clinic only. Public Health’s Whispering Pines clinics are Pfizer. 16 and 17 year old’s must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at their appointment.
    • People 16 and older will be eligible statewide starting April 15 statewide.

More than 46,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given in Nevada County

  • CDC guidance on what you can and can’t do once you are fully vaccinated (fully vaccinated means two weeks after your final dose).
  • You are not jumping the line if you are eligible! Every vaccine administered is a win for the whole community. 
  • Please make every effort to keep your second appointment for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Every dose is precious.
  • If applicable, you need to receive your second dose where you received your first dose. Public Health cannot schedule second dose-only appointments.

Please stay informed as this is an evolving situation

  • We are in Red Tier. Please wear a mask, don’t gather, stay socially distance and stay home when you can so we can move to a less restrictive business tier as soon as possible. If you are fully vaccinated, continue to wear your mask in public, don’t attend large gatherings, and social distance when in public.
  • Text VACCINEINFO to 898211 to receive text updates from Public Health straight to your smartphone. Subscribe for those same alerts via email by filling out this online form.
  • Call 211 (1-833-DIAL211) with questions about your tier or other general questions about COVID-19.
  • YubaNet will be hosting weekly, short webinars every Thursday at noon to provide updates on COVID-19 and vaccine distribution in Nevada County. Register here – only one registration for all webinars is required.

Nevada County Will Move into the Red Tier, Wednesday, March 24th

Today, Nevada County met the State’s metrics for the Red Tier for two consecutive weeks and will move into the Red Tier on Wednesday, March 24th. With this Tuesday’s update, Nevada County has a daily case rate of eight, qualifying Nevada County for the Red Tier under the reassessment of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy thresholds. 

In the Red Tier, business sectors such as restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters will have reduced capacity indoors:

  • Restaurants: 25% capacity or 100 people indoors, whichever is fewer
  • Gyms: 10% capacity indoors
  • Movie Theaters: 25% capacity or 100 people indoors, whichever is fewer
  • Retail: 50% capacity indoors

View the guidance for all business sectors at covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy.

Business Task Force Webinar on New Grants and Tier Changes

On Thursday, March 25th, Nevada County is hosting a special, 30-minute Business Task Force meeting from 4:30-5:00 p.m. to review new grants and the changes for sectors between the Purple and Red Tier. Register in advance for this webinar: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_774CYkJVSTilos4hqwLLQQ. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Sierra Business Council will provide an update on the following grants and business resources:

  • The Restaurant Revitalization Fund provides grants of up to $5M per restaurant, food stand, food truck, food cart, caterer, saloon, inn, tavern, bar, lounge, brewpub, tasting room, taproom. Learn more at: restaurantsact.com.
  • The California Relief Grant provides micro-grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 to eligible small businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 and the related health and safety restrictions. Apply or apply for Rounds 4, 5, and 6. Note that Round 4 applications for nonprofit cultural institutions are due March 26, 2021. Learn more at: careliefgrant.com.
  • The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to directly incentivize small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. Borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness. SBA is currently offering PPP loans until March 31, 2021. Learn more at: www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program.
  • The Shuttered Venue Operators Grant provides grants to live venue operators or promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts organization operators, relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria, motion picture theater operators, and talent representatives. Eligible applicants may qualify for grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue. Learn more at: www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/covid-19-relief-options/shuttered-venue-operators-grant.

For updates on grants and business resources, subscribe to the Coronavirus Business Task Force list at www.mynevadacounty.com/BusinessResourcesSubscription.

Stay the Course

Over the past few weeks, many have been frustrated that Nevada County had remained in the Purple Tier, with many wondering why. Masking, distancing, avoiding gathering, and getting vaccinated when it’s your turn are the ways we can continue to lower our community’s COVID transmission. Individual action leads to collective mitigation, and everyone’s efforts to help lower COVID transmission are reflected in our tier data.

Collective Focus and Commitment Will Get Nevada County out of Purple Tier

Nevada County’s COVID case rate has kept our communities countywide in the State’s Purple Tier. We are one county and can only open when, together, we have numbers that align with the State’s blueprint.  The past year has been challenging and frustrating, but the science is very simple and settled–  each one of us must remain vigilant, avoid gatherings, wear our masks, limit indoor activities with others, practice social distancing, and take all precautions to avoid spreading the virus. Individual action leads to collective mitigation that will get us all out of the most restrictive tier.

“We are at the cusp of moving forward towards the Red Tier, but we need everyone in our community to do their part so we can get back to business,” said Vice-Chair and District 4 Supervisor Sue Hoek.

To move into the less restrictive Red Tier, our county must meet specific criteria for two consecutive weeks. Today, Nevada County met the metrics for the Red Tier for the first time since November. If our case rate stays below 10 cases per day and our positivity rate stays below 8%, we will be able to move into the Red Tier as early as March 24th.

“To keep our case rate low, we rely on each individual and business in our community to help slow the spread,” said Truckee Mayor Anna Klovstad. “This means helping all of our communities countywide to understand the importance of following the health mandate, providing support where appropriate, and building a sense of partnership.”

“We are only going to get through this by working together, all our communities, across Nevada County,” added District 5 Supervisor Hardy Bullock.

We all have the same common goals: to reduce the spread of COVID so we can begin to safely reopen our businesses and return to some level of normalcy.

“City, Town, and County staff continue to collaborate to reduce current case rates, improve awareness and speed our safe reopening,” said Nevada City Mayor Erin Minett.

“By reducing the spread of COVID, we support the safe reopening of our businesses and our community’s health,” added Grass Valley Mayor Ben Aguilar.

Just as our businesses and community members each have individual roles in minimizing local transmission, local government continues to partner to gather all resources possible to support our communities through the hardships of a pandemic. The new relief package from the federal government will provide additional and much more substantial relief for our business and non-profit community compared to previous rounds.

Nevada County Public Health continues to partner with vaccine providers throughout the community. Nevada County’s vaccination rate puts us in the top five California counties by the population percentage through these partnerships. Efforts like the Public Health REACH (Resources for Equity and Access in Community Health) Team meet people where they are, bringing vaccines to those who are hardest-to-reach and have some of the highest levels of exposure and risk.

As more vaccines continue to become available, residents are encouraged to make every effort to be vaccinated. “We have three safe, highly effective vaccines available to fight COVID-19. This is one of the best tools we have to protect not only yourself but your friends and loved ones you come into contact with. Being immunized will get our businesses back on track,” said Dr. Scott Kellermann, Nevada County’s Public Health Officer. “If you have been offered a vaccine, take it. Every vaccination gets us closer to the finish line.”

If you are over 65, a frontline worker, or have a chronic health condition, you may be eligible to be vaccinated. Register with MyTurn.CA.Gov to check your eligibility and check the County’s Vaccine Provider webpage for additional vaccine opportunities near you. As your local government representatives, our promise is to continue to bring creative and collaborative solutions to emerge from this pandemic stronger than before. As we have many times throughout the past year, we are facing a pivotal moment when we must stand together. It depends on each of us to do our part to end this pandemic. Together we are Nevada County Strong.

State Announces Changes to Business Tier System

Today, the State announced changes to their Blueprint for a Safer Economy after reaching 2 million California residents vaccinated in some of the hardest-hit communities triggering an update to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier system. Nevada County remains in the Purple Tier with the update and reassessment of the new statewide Blueprint for a Safer Economy thresholds. Our pathway to the Red Tier is to continue social distancing, masking, and refraining from social gatherings.

Update to the Daily Case Rate Threshold Beginning March 14th

The State has updated the thresholds in their Blueprint for a Safer Economy due to increased vaccinations in the hardest-hit communities. When our case rate drops below 10 per day per 100,000 people and our positivity rate stays below 8% for two consecutive weeks we will advance to the Red Tier.

Update to Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries Beginning March 13th

The State has updated its guidance for breweries, wineries and distilleries to open outdoors without food service beginning March 13th. Breweries, wineries, and distilleries that provide food service should continue to follow the restaurant guidance.

  • Purple Tier: Open outdoors with modifications including reservations, 90-minute time limit, and ending onsite consumption by 8 pm. Food service is no longer required. 
  • Red Tier: Open outdoors with modifications including reservations, 90-minute time limit, and ending onsite consumption by 8 pm. Food service is no longer required.
  • Orange Tier: 25% capacity indoors or 100 people, whichever is fewer, with modifications.
  • Yellow Tier: 50% capacity indoors or 200 people, whichever is fewer, with modifications.

Update to Outdoor Events Beginning April 1st 

The State has updated its guidance for outdoor events (including sports events and live performances) with attendees beginning April 1st.

  • Purple Tier: 100 people or few. Limited to regional viewers within 120 miles, advanced registration required, and no concessions or concourse sales.
  • Red Tier: 20% capacity. Limited to in-state attendees, advanced registration, and in-seat concessions.
  • Orange Tier: 33% capacity. Limited to in-state attendees, advanced registration, and in-seat concessions.
  • Yellow Tier: 67% capacity. Limited to in-state attendees, advanced registration, and in-seat concessions.

Nevada County Pilots MyTurn with Limited Appointments

An extremely limited number of appointments will be available as Nevada County Public Health tests the system before expanding access in the coming days and weeks. These first few appointments are a small pilot of MyTurn in Nevada County. Nevada County residents who have signed up for MyTurn and are currently eligible for vaccination will receive notification that appointments are available. NCPH expects that these appointments will fill up very quickly. 

They are releasing these few appointments to test the system and work out any glitches. They expect to release larger number of appointments next week and we want to ensure that the system runs smoothly.

All Nevada County residents are encouraged to sign up for MyTurn to receive notification of vaccine eligibility and open appointments. Go to myturn.ca.gov or call 1-833-422-4255 to register. Those who are not yet eligible can sign up to be notified when it’s their turn to be vaccinated.  As more vaccine becomes available in Nevada County, the community will begin to see more appointments available on MyTurn.

The Public Health Department is grateful for your patience as they test this new system. 

Please stay informed as this is an evolving situation and continue to be patient as NCPH meets this unprecedented challenge

  • Truckee Residents: Updated COVID-19 and vaccination information: https://www.tfhd.com/covid/covid-19-vaccine
  • Sign up for MyTurn.ca.gov for appointment availability
  • Bookmark our COVID-19 vaccination page and check back regularly
  • Text VACCINEINFO to 898211 to receive text updates from Public Health straight to your smartphone
  • Subscribe for those same alerts via email by filling out this on-line form
  • Call 211 (1-833-DIAL211) with questions about your tier or other general questions about COVID-19
  • YubaNet will be hosting weekly, short webinars every Thursday at noon to provide updates on COVID-19 and vaccine distribution in Nevada County. Register here – only one registration for all webinars is required.

Vaccination is an essential tool for ending this pandemic. Even after you are vaccinated, we must all stay vigilant and continue to wear masks, keep our distance, wash our hands, and avoid gatherings so that we can return to a more normal way of life as quickly as possible.

Connecting Point and Community Partners Celebrate National 211 Day

Today, February 11th is 211 Day and, for the first time, it is being celebrated nationwide. 211 Day spreads awareness of how the service supports the community with information and resources.

211 is Nevada County’s free, multilingual and confidential information and referral system. 211 connects residents to community and health resources and various services, including senior care, transportation, housing assistance, suicide prevention and disaster services. 211 is available 24/7, 365 days a year (including holidays) and serves the people of Nevada County, Placer County, and the Tahoe-Truckee region.

Our local 211 call center has been serving the community since September 2013. Ann Guerra, executive director of Connecting Point, which operates the call center, credits the success of 211 to the collaboration with the local nonprofits and County offices. “We are so grateful for community partnerships that have allowed the 211 service to flourish.”  These partnerships include Nevada County Social Services and Office of Emergency Services, First Five Commission and Agency on Aging Area 4.

But most recently, as COVID-19 vaccine information is in high demand in the community, a strong partnership between 211 Connecting Point and Nevada County Public Health has helped meet the need. Together they have launched the Nevada County COVID-19 Vaccine Alert Text Line, in which users can text VACCINEINFO to 898211 to subscribe and be kept up-to-date with all the latest and most accurate information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines.

Nevada County residents can access 211 by:

  • Calling 2-1-1 (or 1-833-DIAL211; for TTY 1-844-521-6697).
  • Texting their zip code to 898211 (your text plan’s rates will apply)
  • Visiting 211ConnectingPoint.org to access the online searchable database and email or chat with specialists.

Text VACCINEINFO to 898211 for Vaccine Updates from Public Health and 211

Nevada County Public Health has partnered with 211 Connecting Point to provide the community text updates when new information about the COVID-19 vaccine in Nevada County becomes available. Residents can subscribe to find out updates like when, where and to what populations the COVID-19 has become available to.

“We are so grateful for the community’s enthusiasm to get the COVID-19 vaccine and excited to be able to work with 211 Connecting Point to let the community know as soon as it becomes available to them,” said Jill Blake, Nevada County Director of Public Health.

Ann Guerra, Executive Director of Connecting Point added that partnering with NCPH “allows us to stay in touch with Nevada County residents and give them the latest, most accurate information as soon as it’s released to the public.”

Text VACCINEINFO to 898211

Subscribe to vaccine text updates by texting VaccineInfo to 898211. Subscribers will receive official, non- emergency information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine(s). All new subscribers must opt-in to the alerts for ongoing updates.

Subscribers will get a confirmation reading: “Thank you for joining 211’s COVID-19 Vaccine News & Information text alerts. You will receive information and updates related to COVID-19 vaccines in Nevada County. Visit www.mynevadacounty.com/Coronavirus/Vaccine to learn more.

 Residents can also get the most up-to-date information by visiting the County’s COVID vaccine webpage www.mynevadacounty.com/coronavirus/vaccine or by calling 211 Connecting Point at 1-833-DIAL211 to speak to a local call center agent, 24/7 in English or Spanish.

For more information, visit Nevada County Public Health’s vaccine information page at www.mynevadacounty.com/Coronavirus/Vaccine. 

Nevada County Exits COVID-19 Stay Home Order into Purple Tier

The State has lifted the Regional Stay Home Order for the Greater Sacramento Region, which includes Nevada County. Due to Nevada County’s current daily average of COVID-19 cases and positivity rate, Nevada County will be exiting the Stay Home Order into the Widespread Purple Tier.  

Although this is welcome news that our ICU capacity is projected to be above 15%, Nevada County remains well into the Widespread Purple Tier with significant business modifications. Nevada County Public Health continues to thank the community for wearing a mask, being mindful of social distancing and refraining from social gatherings. Together, we can stop the surge to save lives and work towards lowering our daily COVID-19 cases and positivity rate which may allow us to move into the less restrictive Red Tier.

Moving into the Widespread Purple Tier

As we move back into the Widespread Purple Tier, some businesses will be able to reopen with modifications. Most notably, these are:

  • Hair Salons/Barbershops/Personal Care: Open with modifications in the Purple Tier
  • Hotels and Lodging: Open with modifications in the Purple Tier
  • Movie Theaters: Outdoor only with modifications in Purple Tier
  • Wineries: Outdoor only with modifications in the Purple Tier
  • Restaurants: Outdoor dining with modifications allowed in Purple Tier

Find a summary of the differences between the State’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” tier system on California Department of Public Health’s website.

COVID Vaccines in Nevada County

Nevada County Public Health is working to vaccinate Nevada County as quickly, safely and equitably as possible. Bookmark www.mynevadacounty.com/coronavirus/vaccine for updates on where we are in our local vaccine rollout. 

More Information

For more information visit www.mynevadacounty.com/coronavirus.

Nevada County Increases COVID-19 Testing at Grass Valley Testing Site

Nevada County’s Grass Valley COVID-19 testing site has increased testing to six days a week to add 165 more tests to its weekly testing capacity, an increase of more that 15% of the testing site’s previous capacity. Placer County’s Truckee COVID-19 testing site also recently increased their daily testing capacity as well.

Testing is available for anyone, whether or not you have insurance. You must pre-register and schedule an appointment at https://www.lhi.care/covidtesting or call 1-888-634-1123. For assistance scheduling a COVID-19 test, contact 211 Connecting Point at 1-833-DIAL211 to speak to a local call specialist.

Appointments are available Monday-Saturday, 7:00am to 7:00pm in Grass Valley and Monday-Friday 7:00am to 7:00pm in Truckee. Return time for results may vary and can be expected within 2-7 days. The Grass Valley testing site is located at 231 Colfax Avenue (formerly Summer Thymes) and the Truckee testing site is located at 10990 Donner Pass Road (across the street from the Tahoe Forest Health System). COVID-19 testing may also be available through your local physician’s office and is becoming more readily available through private companies as well. Visit www.mynevadacounty.com/coronavirus/testing for more information.

If You’ve Tested Positive for COVID-19                                         

Nevada County currently has widespread transmission of COVID-19 and is under a Stay Home Order due to available ICU capacity in the State’s Greater Sacramento Region. If you have tested positive for COVID-19, please follow the Isolation Guidance and share the Quarantine Guidance with your close contacts. 

Nevada County Introduces Dr. Scott Kellermann as Public Health Officer

Beginning January 1, 2021, Dr. Scott Kellermann will be joining the County of Nevada as Public Health Officer. While Dr. Kellermann will begin his role as Public Health Officer on the first, his contract will formally come before the Nevada County Board of Supervisors at their January 12th meeting to officially appoint him to the vital public health role.

Dr. Kellermann received his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine with a Master’s in Public Health and Master’s in Tropical Medicine. He was an intern at USC/LA County Hospital and a Family Practice resident at UCLA. Currently, Dr. Kellermann is an adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco and an assistant clinical professor at California Northstate University College of Medicine in Elk Grove, California. He is a Senior Consultant for the Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID), through the National Institute of Health and UC Davis. CREID research will attempt to identify novel viruses and prevent future pandemics.

“I look forward to engaging in public health in Nevada County, particularly with an immunization campaign to end the current COVID-19 pandemic,” said incoming Public Health Officer Dr. Kellermann. “I look forward to giving back to Nevada County the kindness and generosity that has been shown to me.”

“We are extremely grateful to Dr. Richard Johnson who has served with us as our Interim Health Officer since June. His experience as a local Health Officer and his vast experience in emergency preparedness and response served our community very well,” said Nevada County Public Health Director Jill Blake. “Dr. Kellermann’s deep community roots and breadth of experience as an MD will also serve us well. We look forward to this next chapter bringing Dr. Kellermann on as our Health Officer alongside Deputy Health Officer Dr. Glennah Trochet as we work to provide a safe and equitable COVID vaccination process to Nevada County residents.”

About Dr. Kellermann

After practicing medicine in Nepal for 2 ½ years, Dr. Kellarmann moved with his family to practice medicine in Nevada County. He thoroughly enjoyed his two decades of Family Medicine on Zion Street in Nevada City. He was Chief-of-Staff at Sierra Nevada Hospital and served two terms on the Sierra Nevada Hospital Board. In 1987, he and Drs. Chargin and Dawkins purchased Miners Hospital on Zion Street converting it into an outpatient facility to medically assist those less fortunate. It has subsequently grown into the Western Sierra Clinic, the largest provider of medical care in Nevada County.

In 2001, he and his wife Carol relocated to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest of Uganda to work with the Batwa pygmies. Over the next decade, he founded the 175 bed Bwindi Community Hospital, which is ranked one of the finest hospitals in East Africa. He also founded the Uganda Nursing School-Bwindi, with a current enrolment of 400 nursing students, recognized as one of the leading nursing schools in Uganda. He founded the Batwa Development Program, with a focus on educating Batwa children. The Batwa Development Program is overseen by the Batwa and is helping extricate them from their cycle of poverty. The Kellermann Foundation was initiated by Nevada County residents to support the work at the Bwindi. These projects would not have been possible without the assistance of the citizens of Nevada County.

Dr. Kellermann has written chapters for medical textbooks and has published multiple articles in medical journals regarding diseases of the tropics. He has been honored with: Rotary’s Service above Self Award, New York University’s – Excellence in Public Health Award, American Medical Association’s – Excellence in Medicine, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine- Outstanding Alumni and the Wisdom in Action’s Unsung Hero of Compassion Award presented by the Dali Lama. In 2017-2018 he was a Fulbright Scholar teaching tropical medicine in Africa.

As COVID-19 Vaccines Distributed, Official Information Sources Available

As Nevada County front-line healthcare workers receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the timeline and priority levels for vaccine distribution has been on the mind of the community. People have questions about the new vaccine, its safety, and its effectiveness.

211 is preferred community connection point for information and resources about COVID-19 in Nevada and Placer Counties and the Tahoe Truckee region. We work closely with Public Health to be able to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information, and will continue to do so for the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Following are official sources for COVID-19 vaccine information that you may find helpful.  

In addition, we have recently optimized COVID-19 resource listings on our websites, making them more accessible and searchable by region. By integrating the listings into our back-end resource engine, we have created a more consistent user experience. The public can easily access information about COVID-19 guidance, financial assistance, distance learning, as well as official vaccine information sources. We hope this single reference point will benefit county residents, especially those who live and work across county borders.

You can always call 211 to speak to one of our call agents about your specific questions and needs or visit the 211 website.