COVID-19 Cases Increases to 48 – Testing Available to All Residents

Nevada County received notification of six new COVID-19 cases today; five of the residents are closely connected with a common exposure, and the sixth was a person who had no symptoms. All are adults residing in Eastern Nevada County. All have been notified and are isolating. In addition, household contacts are in quarantine. The case investigation was initiated by Nevada County Public Health Department today and remains open.Case investigation and contact tracing are core public health functions used to connect with people who are COVID-19 positive so that we can help them get medical care and figure out who they might have exposed without knowing it, so those individuals can be contacted, too.

“Although our hospitals are prepared for a surge in COVID-19 cases, we have case investigation and contact tracing process systems in place and more testing available, COVID-19 remains a risk to our community,” said Public Health Director Jill Blake. “Those who are more at risk for serious illness due to COVID-19 such as the elderly or those with underlying health conditions should continue to stay at home as much as they can as well as limit their exposure to others.”

Testing Available to All Nevada County Residents

Two OptumServe testing sites are available in Grass Valley and Kings Beach. Symptomatic or asymptomatic can be tested. People who get tested at these sites will not be charged for the test; for those with insurance, your insurance will be billed, and for those with no insurance, the State will pay for your test. Increased testing allows for a better understanding of COVID-19 in our community. Even without symptoms, testing of all individuals can help identify those who are asymptomatic and may want to take extra precautions to protect others in the community.

You must pre-register and schedule an appointment at https://www.lhi.care/covidtesting or call 888-634-1123. Please have your appointment authorization number when you arrive at the testing site. Tests can also still be conducted by doctors’ offices too, but you do not need your physician’s approval to be tested at the OptumServe site.

Nevada County Revises Reopen Plan to Include Salons and Barber Shops

The Nevada County Health Officer has revised the Reopen Plan again based on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s May 27th announcement with new information regarding barber shops and salons. By revising this plan and posting it, the Health Officer is authorizing hair salons and barber shops in Nevada County to engage in state approved activities, with modifications, effective immediately.

More information here.

Great Plates Delivered Begins Service in Nevada County

The County of Nevada has launched Great Plates Delivered, a new program to ensure no senior goes hungry in Nevada County during the COVID-19 crisis. Three fresh meals a day will be delivered to those who qualify with the help of three local restaurants, Emily’s Catering, Sergio’s Caffè, and Fudenjüce, fulfilling the 2 purposes of the state-wide plan: help seniors and older adults at high risk from COVID-19 to stay home and stay healthy by delivering three nutritious meals a day; and provide essential economic stimulus to local businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.

Qualifying Nevada County residents meeting the following criteria are encouraged to apply:

  • 65 or older, or 60-64 years of age and high-risk (Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or been exposed to COVID-19 or individuals with certain underlying health conditions that place them at high-risk should they contract the virus)
  • Live alone or with one other Great Plates Delivered Program eligible adult
  • Not be currently receiving assistance from any other state or federal nutrition assistance programs (Meals on Wheels, CalFresh)
  • Earn no more that 600% of the federal poverty limit ($74,940 (single) or $101,460 (2-person)) annually.
  • Affirm an inability to prepare or obtain meals for themselves.

Currently the program is scheduled to run until June 10, however it may be extended by FEMA based on demand.  To be screened and placed on an eligibility list, call 211 Connecting Point by dialing 2-1-1 or 1-833-DIAL211 (1-833-342-5211). Eastern County participants will be referred to Sierra Senior services for enrollment. Those who may not qualify but are in need of food assistance are encouraged to call 211 Connecting Point to get connected to additional resources. 

Nevada County Relief Fund Seeks Grant Applications from Nonprofits

The Nevada County Relief Fund seeks grant applications from “safety-net” ​nonprofits in western Nevada County providing a life-line to our neighbors most in need, ​and small businesses throughout the County hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonprofit “Safety-net” Grants Range from $5,000 – $20,000

The Relief Fund seeks applications from nonprofits focused on the rapid deployment of services for seniors, people who are homeless, people with disabilities, youth who are at-risk, families or individuals struggling to find access to food, shelter, childcare, and other critical needs. Together with the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, which serves eastern Nevada County, these efforts boost nonprofit capacity and strengthen the “safety-net” for the region’s most vulnerable citizens.

“Not only will the Relief Fund help address many of the basic needs we’re seeing, but it can also mitigate some of the mental-health impacts of COVID-19 including social isolation, increased depression, and possible increases in family violence,” said Nevada County Behavioral Health Director Phebe Bell, who chairs one of the grants making teams. 

Small Business “Micro-Grants” up to $5,000 Per Applicant Available

The Relief Fund will also award micro-grants for small business owners and nonprofits countywide struggling to survive until they can reopen ​or resume normal operation. These grants will ​be managed by the Sierra Business Council, who will also provide awardees with one-on-one business counseling through its Small Business Development Center. 

“From the hundreds of entrepreneurs our Small Business Development Center has talked with, most of them just need some cash to help restock inventory, hire back employees and catch up on bills. We hope this grant can help take a bit of stress and pressure off an owner’s mind so they can focus on getting back to business,” said Kristin York, Vice President of the Sierra Business Council.

The first $200,000 raised will be split approximately 50/50 between the two funds, with half going to “safety-net” nonprofits in western Nevada County, and half going to small businesses countywide. Additional grant cycles will occur every time the Relief Fund raises another $100,000.

About the Nevada County Relief Fund

The Nevada County Relief Fund was created through a partnership between the County of Nevada, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation (SNMH Foundation), Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF), and the Sierra Business Council (SBC) in consultation with the Center for Nonprofit Leadership (CNL) and the Economic Resource Council (ERC). In conjunction with TTCF’s Emergency Response Fund, the purpose of this effort is to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis by directing vital resources to our most vulnerable neighbors, and support our small, rural businesses.

For more information, please visit, www.nevcorelief.org

Nevada County Readiness Plan Approved, Enters Extended Stage 2

Nevada County’s attestation of readiness, or readiness plan, has been approved by the State. Nevada County is still under the statewide Stay-at-Home order, however this means that Nevada County has met the State’s readiness criteria to move further into Stage 2 reopening and reopen more local businesses.

“We are fortunate that we met the criteria to advance through Stage 2 and can now allow for certain businesses to open sooner than they would if they had to move at the pace of the State as a whole, but this should not be viewed as an indication that we are now risk-free,” said Jill Blake, Public Health Director. “In fact, there is a greater responsibility on businesses and customers to work to reduce the risk of disease transmission as we reopen Stage 2 businesses in Nevada County.”

County staff was out in the community today with our Cities, Town and business associations to work with local businesses to prepare to open as quickly as possible and have COVID-19 Prevention Plans in place. Reopening will not look like business as usual pre-COVID pandemic and businesses will need to follow the guidance from the State and County in order to protect their employees and customers. 

As we move forward through Stage 2, Nevada County needs to continue practicing social distancing, good hygiene, wearing face coverings in public, minimizing going into public spaces, and educating friends, family and favorite businesses on the current recommendations.

Reopening Nevada County

With tonight’s approval of Nevada County’s readiness plan from the State, all Stage 2 businesses may reopen with COVID-19 Prevention Plans in place. These include destination retail, office workspaces where teleworking is not possible, outdoor museums and limited personal services such as car washes, dog-grooming and landscaping with protections to limit the spread of COVID-19 as the State continues to modify its Stay at Home order. Statewide guidance for these sectors is available.

The State posted guidance for dine-in restaurants and shopping centers today, as some counties, like Nevada County, have been approved to move further into Stage 2 reopening. More guidance and checklists for local businesses are available at www.mynevadacounty.com/coronavirus/businesses.

Stage 2 Business Reopening Guidance

In order to reduce the level of risk of spreading COVID-19, each business should implement a COVID-19 Prevention Plan, which will address implementing risk mitigating practices in their business to create safe environments for workers and customers.

Businesses with questions about modifying business practices to keep customers safe and slow the spread of COVID-19 can email COVID19recovery@co.nevada.ca.us. General coronavirus questions can be directed to the Coronavirus Call Center at 1-833-DIAL211 or 211@connectingpoint.org.

State Stay-at-Home Order Still in Effect as County Rescinds local Order

Nevada County Public Health Officer, Dr. Ken Cutler, has rescinded Nevada County’s local Stay-at-Home Order which was originally set to expire on May 15, 2020. Nevada County is now under the statewide Order and looking towards meeting the state’s “readiness criteria” that will allow counties to move more quickly through Stage 2. Progress into Stage 2 will continue to be a thoughtful and phased approach to reopening.

“We thank everyone for following the Stay-at-Home Order closely,” said Dr. Ken Cutler. “We are looking forward to working with our local businesses and employers to move safely with the state into Stage 2, but this is not a return to normal yet.”

For frequently asked questions about Nevada County rescinding Nevada County’s Stay-at-Home Order, visit www.mynevadacounty.com/coronavirus.

State Guidelines on Stage 2

The Resilience Roadmap stages that California is using to guide its gradual reopening process are:

  • Stage 1: Safety and Preparedness
  • Stage 2: Lower-Risk Workplaces
  • Stage 3: Higher-Risk Workplaces
  • Stage 4: End of Stay at Home Order

The state has published guidelines for the initial “soft opening” of Stage 2 and the businesses that includes at covid19.ca.gov/roadmap.  All businesses should review the guidance, prepare a plan, and post the checklist for your business industry in your workplace to show customers and employees that you’ve reduced the risk and are open for business. Before reopening, all facilities should:

  1. Perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan
  2. Train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves for symptoms and stay home if they have them
  3. Implement individual control measures and screenings
  4. Implement disinfecting protocols
  5. Implement physical distancing guidance

The State is all allowing local health jurisdictions that meet the criteria set forth by the California Department of Public Health and follow the process in the Guidance to County governments to move through Stage 2 and reopen more businesses before the State as a whole. The State’s readiness criteria were released yesterday and Nevada County is on track to attest to being prepared to advance through Stage 2 reopenings.

“We are well-positioned and well-prepared to meet the state’s criteria,” said Jill Blake, Public Health Director. “This readiness is due to the hard work and forward thinking of our Public Health team as well as the dedication and preparedness of our local partners including the hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and others who serve vulnerable populations.”

The state is planning to provide additional restaurant industry guidance for this latter part of Stage 2 on Tuesday.

State guidance for Stage 2 businesses

Nevada County Prepared For Stage 2 of Statewide Stay-at-Home Order

Today Governor Newsom announced good news that “the state can begin to move into Stage 2 of modifying the stay at home order this Friday, May 8, with guidelines released Thursday, May 7,” according to a press release on Governor Gavin Newsom’s website.

Stage 2 will focus on reopening lower-risk businesses with modifications to lower the risk of transmission. The State is planning to provide initial guidance on businesses such as “bookstores, clothing stores, florists and sporting goods stores.”

“The Board of Supervisors and County Staff are awaiting details on the criteria of the state’s readiness plan,” said Alison Lehman, County Executive Officer. “We are confident that the good work we have done collaborating with key stakeholders and community partners will make the progress through the state’s next phases clear and steady.”

“Nevada County has the groundwork in place to be able to quickly respond to modifications in the state order with a thoughtful, phased approach,” added Ryan Gruver, Health and Human Services Director. “Our residents have also played a role in our community readiness. We would not be in a position to move safely towards Stage 2 without everyone’s effort to stick to the Stay-at-Home orders.”

Nevada County Report Card: “Readiness Criteria”

The Governor also issued a state “Report Card” indicating that the state is currently meeting all key measures for moving into Stage 2. Although the state’s readiness criteria will be released in the coming days, indicators point towards Nevada County being on track to begin Stage 2 reopening.

“For local businesses Stage 2 may look like meeting state requirements and creating a physical distancing plan before opening,” said Dr. Ken Cutler, Public Health Officer. “Because of our community commitment to following the Stay-at-Home orders health impacts have been limited and we are prepared to move into this next stage.”

The State also announced that counties can move more quickly through Stage 2, which includes offices and dine-in restaurants according to the Governor’s Office press release, if the state’s readiness criteria is met.

Recovery Advisory Committee

Nevada County has convened a Recovery Advisory Committee to provide guidance and resources to local businesses to assist them in preparing to reopen, once allowed, with modified public health and safety measures in place.

“The Recovery Advisory Committee will also provide recommendations to Dr. Cutler on how we move forward in Nevada County,” said Mali Dyck, Assistant County Executive Officer. “Having a Recovery Advisory Committee already in place puts our best foot forward to reopen our local businesses safely.”

The Recovery Advisory Committee has worked to prepare to provide local guidance to businesses owners this week, in alignment with guidance expected from the State on Thursday.

Nevada County Increases COVID-19 Testing With New Test Sites

May 4th UPDATE: Testing locations confirmed and appointment registration now available

Western Nevada County

New COVID-19 testing sites are accepting appointments and will open on TUESDAY, May 5, in Grass Valley. Visit https://lhi.care/covidtesting (or call 1-888-634-1123 during business hours) to see if you are eligible for a test and make an appointment. In Grass Valley, the Grass Valley Veterans Hall will serve as the testing site.

Eastern Nevada County

New COVID-19 testing sites are accepting appointments and will open on MONDAY, May 4, in Kings Beach. Visit https://lhi.care/covidtesting (or call 1-888-634-1123 during business hours) to see if you are eligible for a test and make an appointment. In Kings Beach, the North Tahoe Event Center will serve as the testing site.

Qualifications

Recently, the California Department of Public Health expanded eligibility for COVID-19 testing. Anyone who meets the testing criteria can be tested at an OptumServe community testing site, including uninsured, underinsured, undocumented and homeless individuals. More information about who is eligible for testing can be found on California Department of Public Health’s website. OptumServe will generate a unique identification number for individuals who do not have a driver license.

Payment

If an individual has medical insurance, OptumServe will bill the patient’s medical insurance company. Uninsured individuals may also use the community test site, and their tests will be paid for by the state.

April 30th: Nevada County will increase COVID-19 testing with new community testing sites

Following Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement to add more than 80 community testing sites across the state, Nevada County will soon launch a test site in Grass Valley. Another site in neighboring Placer County in the North Tahoe area will also be able to serve nearby Nevada County residents in the Truckee/Tahoe area. Nevada and Placer Counties collaborated on the testing site locations in an effort to ensure that the sites are strategically placed and that people who have had difficulty accessing testing are able to gain that access with the least amount of required travel.

The new testing sites are scheduled to open next week. The new sites are powered through a partnership with OptumServe, the federal government health services business of Optum, a leading health services innovation company. Testing will be by appointment only. Additional information and location details will be released when appointments become available.

“These new testing sites will help Nevada County and our neighboring counties dramatically increase testing capacity for those who have had limited access to COVID-19 tests up until now,” said Dr. Ken Cutler, Nevada County Health Officer. “Additional testing locally and statewide will help us work towards a thoughtful and phased reopening.”

Nevada County is now encouraging all residents with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to get tested, whether through a provider or through an OptumServe site, as testing capacity has grown countywide.

To determine where to locate new testing sites, the state looked at rural areas where Californians would have to travel 60 minutes to reach an existing testing site or hospital. That information was then evaluated based on underserved populations, to address known disparities, and median income, so residents have access to testing regardless of socioeconomic status.

OptumServe has extensive expertise in rapidly deploying and setting up health care services and has worked closely with the military under the leadership of former Army Surgeon General and retired Lieutenant General Patty Horoho, RN.

“OptumServe is honored to assist California in expanding COVID-19 testing for residents,” said Patty Horoho, CEO of OptumServe. “We are bringing our full commitment and capabilities to serve Californians, including extensive experience conducting large community health events.”

At maximum capacity, OptumServe will be able to support up to 80 testing sites at one time throughout the state, increasing total testing capacity by more than 10,500 tests per day.

“Thanks to Nevada County and to OptumServe for the collaboration to make these testing sites possible,” said Charity Dean, M.D., Assistant Director of the California Department of Public Health. “We’re working together as part of the state’s Testing Task Force to ensure regions with the greatest need have access to tests, and these sites are going to be a major component in reaching our testing goals.”

Nevada County will increase COVID-19 testing with new testing sites

Following Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement to add more than 80 community testing sites across the state, Nevada County will soon launch a test site in Grass Valley. Another site in Kings Beach, in neighboring Placer County, will also be able to serve nearby Nevada County residents in the Truckee/Tahoe area. Nevada and Placer Counties collaborated on the testing site locations in an effort to ensure that the sites are strategically placed and that people who have had difficulty accessing testing are able to gain that access with the least amount of required travel.

The new testing sites are scheduled to open next week. The new sites are powered through a partnership with OptumServe, the federal government health services business of Optum, a leading health services innovation company. Testing will be by appointment only. Additional information and location details will be released when appointments become available.

“These new testing sites will help Nevada County and our neighboring counties dramatically increase testing capacity for those who have had limited access to COVID-19 tests up until now,” said Dr. Ken Cutler, Nevada County Health Officer. “Additional testing locally and statewide will help us work towards a thoughtful and phased reopening.”

Nevada County is now encouraging all residents with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, even if those symptoms are mild, to inquire with their doctor about testing as testing capacity has grown countywide.

To determine where to locate new testing sites, the state looked at rural areas where Californians would have to travel 60 minutes to reach an existing testing site or hospital. That information was then evaluated based on underserved populations, to address known disparities, and median income, so residents have access to testing regardless of socioeconomic status.

Public Health Officer Modifies Local Stay-at-Home Order for Nevada County

Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Ken Cutler has modified Nevada County’s local Stay-at-Home Order to further clarify and allow outdoor recreational activities that can be enjoyed safely and with precautions in place.

“Because of the actions taken by everyone, we have, for now, successfully avoided a crisis-like situation that has occurred in other places like New York and Italy,” said Dr. Ken Cutler. “Recognizing that the Stay-at-Home Order has been challenging and with spring weather upon us, many wish to be outside both for their physical and mental health. With that health and wellness lens, we’ve amended Nevada County’s Stay-at-Home Order to allow for outdoor recreational activities that can be enjoyed in a way that reduces the risk for disease transmission.”
In addition, the amended Order also includes guidance for construction workers that will help them to reduce their risks of disease exposure.
As we move into the gradual reopening phase, Nevada County Public Health continues to ask everyone to consider similar issues: how can you adapt your environment, change your practices, and protect yourself from becoming ill? It is recognized that most people are still susceptible to COVID-19 infection. the virus is still actively circulating, and illness can be severe, so caution and adherence to physical distancing is still very much needed. As a community we’ve made terrific gains against COVID-19, and with your help and continued cooperation, we’ll maintain them.

For additional information on the statewide Stay-at-Home Order, including frequently asked questions on the Stay-at-Home Order, please visit Nevada County’s coronavirus webpage at www.mynevadacounty.com/coronavirus.

NCPH and Connecting Point Unveil Community Data Project

We all want a clearer picture of how COVID-19 is moving through our community, and now Connecting Point, in partnership with the County of Nevada, is empowering residents to do just that. The Nevada County COVID-19 Community Data Project is crowd-sourced, relying on Nevada County residents who have COVID-19-like symptoms to share their experience to benefit the wider community.

Anyone showing COVID-19-like symptoms can report them using a simple form. The data will then be combined and shared on the COVID-19 Community Data Project Dashboard. The Public Health Department will use the data to detect possible outbreaks and ongoing transmission in the absence of widespread testing.

“Because the demand for testing continues to exceed the capacity to test due to a critical shortage of necessary testing supplies, Nevada County Public Health continues to recommend prioritizing testing for high-risk patients until testing supplies becomes more available,” says Jill Blake, the Director of the Public Health Department. “Unfortunately, this will mean that the number of lab-confirmed tests may not reflect the true spread of the COVID-19 virus in our county.”

The COVID-19 Community Data Project Dashboard allows the community to look by their geographic area to get a snap-shot of what their neighbors are reporting. The more people who complete the survey, the more accurate the Dashboard will be.

This project does not take the place of testing. It is meant to compliment testing results and—in the absence of widespread testing—provide community-level data that can be used to better understand the spread of COVID-19 in Nevada County.

The information provided may be shared with the Nevada County Public Health Department. Individuals choose whether or not to share their name and contact information.