Below, Moonshine Ink will keep a continuous list of coronavirus-related updates affecting the Tahoe/Truckee region. Our staff will continue to add the latest information in a timely fashion.
The pandemic defined 2020, and led to our reporting on one local resident’s harrowing battle with the disease that became the most-read online article of the year.
List of key local and national resources:
- Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 page
- Nevada County COVID-19 updates
- Placer County COVID-19 information
- Tahoe Forest Health Systems COVID-19 protection and prevention updates
- Washoe County COVID-19 page
- El Dorado County COVID-19 page
If you are interested in specific story angles or have coverage ideas or photos of interest to share under the coronavirus umbrella, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 17, 2021
CDPH Says Fully State Mask Mandate to Remain in Place Until June 15
On the heels of last week’s announcement from the CDC declaring that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks indoors in most situations, the California Department of Public Health today stated that the state mandate will remain in place until June 15.
As of May 3, according to the state mandate, face coverings were no longer required outdoors except at crowded events, and for unvaccinated people when physical distancing cannot be maintained. In indoor settings outside of the home, including public transportation and schools, face coverings continue to be required regardless of vaccination status. After June 15, California plans to implement the CDC’s guidelines around masking to allow fully vaccinated Californians to go without a mask in most indoor settings.
May 13, 2021
Vaccine Appointments Now Available for Children Ages 12-15
Just days after gaining both FDA and CDC emergency use authorization, the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine is now available for those ages 12 to 15. Vaccination appointment slots today opened to everyone 12 and up. Previously, the vaccine was approved for anyone aged 16 and older.
“The FDA’s expansion of the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents 12 through 15 years of age is a significant step in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. when the announcement was made on Monday. “Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic. Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine emergency use authorizations.”
The CDC’s recommendation followed on Wednesday, and by today, parents were able to start scheduling their children to receive the vaccine.
May 3, 2021
TTUSD Covid Cases hit 32, All Traced to Non-School Activity
In an email this evening, Tahoe Truckee Unified School District superintendent, Carmen Diaz Ghysels, updated district parents on the Covid-19 outbreak at Truckee High School.
There are currently 32 active cases at the high school, with an additional 166 students in quarantine due to direct contact with an individual who has tested positive for Covid-19. Ghysels commended Truckee High School nurse Zan Larkins who, in conjunction with Nevada County Health, has done “an exemplary job with contact tracing.”
“There has been no transmission of the virus at school, Ghysels wrote. “We have confirmation that 100% of the Covid cases have been traced to off-campus activities.”
Unconfirmed reports indicate the source of the outbreak has been traced to indoor house parties attended by some of the infected students last weekend. Should the number of infected students reach 39, the entire school would pivot to distance learning and all extracurricular activities would immediately be halted.
Ghysels noted that although the CDC has stated that the quarantine period can be shortened from 14 to 10 days, the guidance for schools is different and a 14-day period still applies. “The incubation period for the Covid-19 virus is up to 14 days, therefore they must remain in quarantine,” Ghysels noted. “A negative test result will not shorten their quarantine period.”
If a student has been directed to quarantine, he or she must remain away from school and other activities for 14 calendar days. There are no exceptions to this rule. If your child is required to quarantine, that student should not socialize with friends or participate in sports or other extracurricular activities, even if they are outdoor activities.
TTUSD has an online dashboard for districtwide Covid-19 statistics at ttusd.org.
Washoe Commissioners Approve Plan for Local Covid-19 Mitigation Measures Management
(Editor’s note: The following was updated for clarity on May 5.)
The Washoe County Board of County Commissioners today approved a plan for local management of Covid-19 mitigation measures. On May 1, the state of Nevada transferred authority over Covid mitigation to county jurisdictions that have met certain approval requirements. Washoe County’s latest iteration of the plan was not endorsed previously by the city of Reno, Washoe County School District, or Washoe County Health District, as directed by the governor, and Washoe County was therefore not authorized to assume authority on May 1.
“We get all sides of this — and it’s very difficult — the best we can do for you today is move forward with a Washoe County plan for local authority for 29 days, until June 1,” commission chair Bob Lucey said. “We can only strive to move forward for the benefit of our children, our families, our community.”
In today’s special meeting, a plan was presented to the Board of County Commissioners with the full support and endorsement of the required entities and was approved by the board. The next step is to inform the Nevada State Covid Task Force of the approval and receive authorization to assume local authority, which is expected today. On June 1, all state-mandated measures will be removed except the statewide mask mandate.
If the Covid Risk Meter (covidriskmeter.org) reaches red, on the Thursday night at 11:59 p.m. of the week the meter reaches red, the community will be required to revert to tighter restrictions. If new case counts reach 625 per 100,000 over a 30-day period, then additional restrictions on businesses resume with an initial focus on restaurants, bars, casinos, gyms, and large gatherings/events. (This means about 100 new cases a day for a few weeks, or a larger spike over less time.)
April 30, 2021
Covid-19 Outbreak Hits Truckee High School After Off-Campus Activity
Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District officials, in an email to parents today, addressed the current sudden increase in confirmed Covid-19 cases at Truckee High School. As of today, 24 students were confirmed to have tested positive.
“The majority, if not all of the positive cases, are a result from exposure during non-school related activities — outside of the Truckee High School campus or any district facilities,” reads the joint email statement from Superintendent Carmen Ghysels, Truckee High School Principal Logan Mallonee and Executive Director of Student Services Jeff Santos. “We are closely monitoring this situation and are in constant contact with the Nevada County Department of Public Health.”
School officials were unable to confirm the incident at which students may have been exposed due to confidentiality restrictions, TTUSD Coordinator of District Communications Kelli Twomey told Moonshine Ink.
At this time, Truckee High School has officially been deemed a school with a Covid-19 outbreak. The California Department of Public Health defines an outbreak as, “At least three probable or confirmed Covid-19 cases within a 14-day period.” Contact tracing has identified all direct student contacts and those individuals identified are quarantining at home. If a student is required to quarantine, he or she must remain at home for 14 days. There are no exceptions to this rule.
The CDPH and TTUSD metric used for school closure is based on a total of 5% positive cases of the staff/student population within a 14-day period. This equates to a total of 39 active cases. Should THS reach this number, the entire school would immediately transition to distance learning and all extracurricular activities would be temporarily suspended. The school would reopen after receiving clearance from Nevada County Public Health.
“This is a serious issue and we need to remind everyone the importance of adhering to Covid-19 mitigation measures,” the statement notes. “… By not following the rules and taking health risks, it puts other students and staff at risk. It’s important that we finish the year on a positive note by minimizing the exposure risks and following the Covid-19 mitigation rules.
TTUSD has an active Covid-19 Dashboard on its website (ttusd.org/virus) that is updated daily. Parents can expect another update in the weekly Sunday night email to all THS parents from principal Mallonee and there will be another district-wide update released via email by Monday afternoon.
April 14, 2021
Placer’s Covid-19 Infection Rate is Likely Triple the Number of Confirmed Cases
According to a press release from the county, the actual number of Covid-19 cases in Placer County is likely three times as high as the number of confirmed cases, yet “Placer’s best path to reducing coronavirus infections is vaccination.”
The county is making this claim following the release yesterday of a report to the county Board of Supervisors following a five-month Covid-19 antibodies study.
Placer County launched the Stanford University School of Medicine-led study in October 2020 to examine the Covid-19 infection rate among county residents, and the methodology involved investigators testing blood samples from 2,035 residents between October 2020 and March 2021 for Covid-19 antibodies, “using rigorous methods,” the press release states.
The county’s analysis is that some of those infected with the coronavirus may not have experienced symptoms or sought testing, so from the start the actual infection rate was suspected to be higher than the number of confirmed cases.
As of March 1, Placer had reported 19,861 total cases of Covid-19. Per the new study, “preliminary study data suggest a 15.6% seroprevalence rate among participants by that date, indicating 62,139 cases had occurred; more than triple the number of confirmed cases.”
The county also reports that national data collected through January suggest the infection rate across the country may be as high as four times the number of confirmed cases.
“The good news is that Placer County has done a great job protecting its most vulnerable people with masking and social distancing,” said Dr. Julie Parsonnet, who is a medicine professor of infectious diseases and of epidemiology and population health at Stanford and the study’s principal investigator..
“The bad news is there is a long way to go before people can let their guards down.”
Vaccination Offers Stronger Antibody Response than Natural Infection, Study Suggests
The same five-month study released yesterday also revealed that vaccination has surpassed infection as the main source of Covid-19 antibodies in study participants beginning in January.
The press release states: “People who were vaccinated, on average, had much higher antibody levels than people who acquired the virus naturally, in line with other studies indicating vaccination offers stronger protection than natural infection against future Covid-19 infection.”
Almost a quarter of Placer County residents have been fully vaccinated as of April 12, and appointments are still available at the county-run vaccination clinic at the Grounds in Roseville.
As of April 11, Placer County opened eligibility at the clinic to those aged 16 and older starting April 12, ahead of the state target date of April 15. Vaccination access is increasing due to more pharmacy providers coming online, the county reports, as Placer is also “working with a variety of organizations throughout the community to promote vaccination and educate residents about the importance and effectiveness of vaccines.”
The findings presented today will be adjusted to account for differences in Placer’s overall demographics and the study participants’, though researchers said they don’t believe the findings will change markedly. Stanford Medicine will provide the county with a full report in May and will publish their results in the scientific literature when the analysis is complete.
B.1.1.7 Variant of COVID-19 Confirmed in Eastern and Western Nevada County
Nevada County Public Health has been notified that two specimens of SARS-CoV-2 taken in mid-March were determined to be the B.1.1.7 variant. First detected in the United Kingdom, B.1.1.7 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.
Of the two specimens evaluated, one was taken from a Covid-19 patient in Western Nevada County and one from Eastern.
“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 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.
April 13, 2021
Sisolak Sets June 1 Goal for Full Reopening of Nevada
Gov. Steve Sisolak announced during a press conference today the goal of the state’s economy reopening at 100% capacity on June 1.
“The introduction of Covid vaccines have changed the game,” he stated. “I have visited some of our vaccine sites across the state, and when you see people who are vaccinated and you hear the sigh of relief that they have, you know that people are feeling safer and more optimistic about the future.”
Sisolak credited decreasing confirmed Covid-19 case numbers to on-the-ground efforts to get the state’s most vulnerable populations vaccinated. He noted that 83% of Nevada’s Covid-19-related deaths were among those aged 60 and older. In November and December 2020, 61% of hospitalizations were among those aged 60 and above. As of today, 65% of Nevadans aged 60 and older, and 75% of Nevadans 70 and older, have initiated or completed vaccination.
“Nevada, we’re closer to the end than we are to the beginning,” Sisolak declared. “We are on our path to recovery, one shot in the arm at a time.”
The governor also announced that as of May 1, authority over mitigation matters will transition to local control at the county level and authority over mitigation measures in schools, including social distancing, will revert back to county school districts. A statewide mask mandate will remain in effect.
“A safe and responsible reopening like what I have laid out, is the path forward to bringing back our state economy, helping our small businesses, bringing back conventions, getting Nevadans back to work. It’s how we ensure Nevada doesn’t spend the next decade crawling forward but instead sprinting forward to create a better, healthier, more prosperous state for all of us. In order to reach this goal, everyone must play their part.”
Sisolak emphasized that every individual Nevadan plays a part in the state’s reopening. He encouraged residents to continue to follow the mask mandate, stay home when sick, get tested, and get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“Nevada, we can do this,” he said. “Let’s meet the goal. Let’s come back stronger, together.”
April 7, 2021
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 reinfected. Results arrived from California state laboratories on April 6.
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, there were 6,287 known cases of the B.1.429 variant in California.
For more information about B.1.429 and other Covid-19 variants, visit the CDC’s overview.
“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’s 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 county’s 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 12 p.m. Additional vaccine appointment options are available at mynevadacounty.com/getvaccinated.
Though this is the first confirmed case of this variant in Nevada County, health officials caution that it is very likely that other 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 Dr. Scott Kellermann, public health officer for Nevada County. “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.”
April 6, 2021
Nevada County Risks Moving Backwards into the Purple Tier Next Week
After only two weeks in California’s red tier, Nevada County once again met the metrics to return to 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 April 13.
“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. 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.”
County officials attribute the case rise to local, organized opposition to proven public health prevention methods, particularly in Western Nevada County. 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.
According to the state’s latest update to county metrics, 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.
He said that the number of cases in younger people is increasing, while those among people 65 and older are decreasing. Kellermann noted that although Covid is less likely to be fatal in those under 65, a significant number of infected younger individuals have been documented as experiencing long-term symptoms, such as persistent lethargy, brain fog, and pulmonary conditions.
“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.”
State aims to fully reopen on June 15, will continue to require masking
Gov. Gavin Newsom today outlined the state’s next step in the Covid-19 pandemic recovery, moving beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. On June 15, California will fully open its economy if two criteria are met: 1) If vaccine supply is sufficient for Californians 16 years and older who wish to be inoculated, and 2) if hospitalization rates are stable and low.
Everyday activities will be allowed and businesses can open with common-sense risk reduction measures, including encouraging all Californians to get vaccinated and mandating masking, to prevent illness and promote health. California will continue statewide contact tracing and testing to detect cases early and contain spread of the virus. The entire state will move into this new phase as a whole. The state will monitor hospitalization rates, vaccine access, and vaccine efficacy against variants, with the option to revisit the June 15 date if needed.
“With more than 20 million vaccines administered across the state, it is time to turn the page on our tier system and begin looking to fully reopen California’s economy,” Newsom said. “We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic. We will need to remain vigilant, and continue the practices that got us here — wearing masks and getting vaccinated — but the light at the end of this tunnel has never been brighter.”
When California fully reopens the economy, the Blueprint for a Safer Economy will end. However, common-sense health measures such as masking will remain across the state. Testing or vaccination verification requirements will remain in relevant settings, such as large-scale indoor events like conventions.
Today’s announcement was made as the state reached a total of 4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine administered to Californians in some of the state’s hardest-hit communities, less than a month after delivering 2 million doses to these communities. The state, in partnership with local government, health care providers and community-based organizations, will continue its extensive efforts to get eligible Californians vaccinated.
California continues to plan for the vaccination of Californians under 16 years of age, protection against new variants and continued tracking and containment of spread. The state stands ready to mobilize additional resources if there is an increase in cases.
April 2, 2021
Washoe Opens Vaccine Appointments to All Residents 16 or Older
The Washoe County Covid-19 response team announced that all residents 16 years and older are eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine starting Monday, April 5. Appointments will be available at the drive-through vaccine clinic at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center and area pharmacies and medical providers (info here). You must have an appointment to receive the vaccine; in fact, those without an appointment will be asked to exit the premises.
The county’s press release states that “there is not enough vaccine to administer to every resident at this time; however, keep checking the website as we will add more appointments upon receiving more Covid-19 vaccine shipments. Appointments are first come, first served.”
Area pharmacies and medical providers will also be providing the vaccine to newly eligible residents aged 16 years and older starting April 5 with their own scheduling platforms.
“The road to ending this pandemic is clearer than it’s ever been,” said Kevin Dick, district health officer for Washoe County. “Monday is a huge milestone compared to where we’ve been since the Covid-19 pandemic started. With more than 44,000 Covid-19 cases and 660 Covid-19-related deaths, the vaccine is the surest way to get us back to normal and reopen our economy.”
Beginning April 12, the scheduling system will identify the type of vaccine that will be administered on each day. Residents will be able to select dates they want to be vaccinated based on the type of vaccine that will be administered (Pfizer, Moderna & Janssen (Johnson & Johnson); appointments prior to April 12 will receive the vaccine that is available that day. The vaccine type on any day is subject to change based on COVID-19 vaccine allotments received from the state of Nevada. Residents are encouraged to schedule to be vaccinated as quickly as slots are available rather than waiting for a specific vaccine.
The Washoe County Covid-19 Response Team, which consists of staff from Washoe County Health District, Nevada National Guard, FEMA and volunteers, can administer over 300 vaccines per hour with the capability to administer over 3,000 per day based on available vaccine. According to the county, “side effects from the Covid-19 vaccine have been reported to include soreness at the injection site, fatigue and body aches. This means that the vaccine is working, and your body is building natural immunity to the virus without actually being infected with Covid-19.”
Those who receive the Covid-19 vaccine at the Livestock Events Center will receive an email the day before your appointment to fill out the Covid-19 Questionnaire (for Spanish version, click here). Bring any type of photo ID to your appointment. The Covid-19 vaccine is free and insurance is not required.
Only the Pfizer vaccine is available to those who are 16-17 years old and you must call to make an appointment for a person under 18 at (775) 328-2427. The Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine is available for those 18 years and older.
Washoe County residents who want more information on the vaccine should go to the county’s website.
April 1, 2021
Nevada County Vaccine Eligibility Expands to 16 and Older at Public Health Clinics
Starting today, Nevada County Public Health opened up vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older at Public Health clinic locations.
“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,” wrote Taylor Wolfe, the county’s public information officer, in an email associated with their press release. “Statewide, everyone 50-plus is eligible at all vaccine providers as of today.”
Find more information on their website at mynevadacounty.com.
Nevada County’s Whispering Pines clinic uses the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only one with Emergency Use Approval for people ages 16 and 17 (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen are for people 18+). Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to their vaccine appointment. Use myturn.ca.gov or (833) 422-4255 for Public Health clinics. We release appointments Fridays at noon.
Wolfe also noted that the county has recently been seeing more transmission of Covid-19 in younger adults. Visit the county’s Vaccine Provider page for info on available appointments at individual providers.
March 25, 2021
CA to Expand Vaccine Eligibility to 50-Plus Starting April 1, April 15 for 16 and Older
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today that with the supply of vaccines expected to significantly increase in the coming weeks, so will vaccine eligibility for Californians.
“With vaccine supply increasing and by expanding eligibility to more Californians, the light at the end of the tunnel continues to get brighter,” Newsom said in a press briefing earlier today. “We remain focused on equity as we extend vaccine eligibility to those 50 and over starting April 1, and those 16 and older starting April 15. This is possible thanks to the leadership of the Biden-Harris administration and the countless public health officials across the state who have stepped up to get shots into arms.”
Based on the current estimates, California expects to be allocated approximately 2.5 million first and second doses per week in the first half of April, and more than 3 million doses in the second half of April. The state has the capacity to administer more than 3 million vaccines per week and is building the capacity to administer 4 million vaccines weekly by the end of April. Those wishing to schedule vaccination appointments may begin doing so on their date of eligibility.
“We are even closer to putting this pandemic behind us with today’s announcement and with vaccine supplies expected to increase dramatically in the months ahead,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. “However, we are not there yet. It will take time to vaccinate all eligible Californians. During this time, we must not let our guard down. It is important that we remain vigilant, continue to wear masks and follow public health guidance.”
Even with expanded vaccine supplies, it is expected to take several months for willing Californians to be vaccinated. Every Californian can sign up at myturn.ca.gov or call (833) 422-4255 to see if it’s their turn to get the Covid-19 vaccine. If it’s not your turn yet or appointments are not available, you can register to be notified when you’re eligible or when appointments open up.
Additional Cases of B.1.1.7 Variant Reported in Washoe
The Washoe County Health District announced that 31 additional cases of the Covid-19 variant B.1.1.7 have been reported in Washoe County since the last update on March 17. There are 45 total cases of the variant now confirmed in Washoe County, which originated in the United Kingdom.
The majority of cases with this variant are due to spread occurring through youth sporting events and private gatherings, as well as domestic air travel and travel to neighboring states. According to the CDC, this UK variant is “associated with increased transmissibility (i.e., more efficient and rapid transmission, including an increased risk of death compared to other variants).”
Detection of the B.1.1.7 variant is done by the Nevada State Public Health Lab and can only be sequenced through testing conducted by the Washoe County Health District and Renown Health. To schedule a test, visit the Washoe County Covid-19 assessment website or call (775) 328-2427. For more information about Covid-19 in Washoe County, visit covid19washoe.com.
March 23, 2021
Vaccination Totals Update
As of today, California’s vaccination dashboard reveals that 15,142,845 doses have been administered so far in the state. California also reports that 16.6% of the state’s residents have been fully vaccinated and another 15% of the population is partially vaccinated.
El Dorado County reports having given 72,747 total doses, Placer County reports 175,764, and Nevada County reports 39,210; the current total in Moonshine’s three California coverage counties is 287,721, or about 1.9% of California’s total vaccinations.
Nevada County Announces its Moving To Red
Today, Nevada County met California’s metrics for the red tier for two consecutive weeks and will move up to this regulatory category (signifying ‘substantial’ risk rather than ‘widespread’ under the purple tier) tomorrow, Wed., March 24. This means the listed establishments will move to the following restrictions:
o Restaurants: 25% capacity or 100 people indoors, whichever is fewer
o Gyms: 10% capacity indoors
o Movie theaters: 25% capacity or 100 people indoors, whichever is fewer
o Retail: 50% capacity indoors
On Thurs., March 25, Nevada County is hosting a business task force meeting from 4:30-5 p.m. to review new grants and the changes for sectors between the purple and red tier. Register in advance for this webinar at: zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_774CYkJVSTilos4hqwLLQQ.
March 22, 2021
Washoe Begins Vaccinating Minors
Starting today, Washoe County residents who are 16 years and older with an underlying health condition can start receiving Covid-19 vaccines by area pharmacies. The Washoe County Health District will continue to vaccinate eligible Nevadans within the Frontline/Essential Workforce Lane and individuals 65 years and older at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center.
Washoe County pharmacies in the Retail Pharmacy Program include CVS Pharmacy, Smith’s, Walgreens, and Walmart.
Contact and scheduling information for can be found on the county website.
The underlying health conditions that make an individual 16 years and older eligible, per the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, include cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Down Syndrome, heart conditions (heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies), those who are immunocompromised (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2), severe obesity (BMI > 40 kg/m2), pregnancy, Sickle Cell Disease, smoking, and Type 2 Diabetes mellitus.
March 19, 2021
Placer County Announces Detection of ‘U.K. Variant’ on Lockdown Anniversary, Remains in Red Tier
The first known case of the B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in Placer County. Early data suggests that the B.1.1.7 variant, dubbed the “U.K. variant” because of its spread in the United Kingdom, has potential for increased transmissibility. The CDC website has additional information about this variant of the coronavirus.
The individual had no known travel history identified through contact tracing, and their isolation period has passed, according to the county, which added in its press release that “additional information regarding the case will be provided.” There have been more than 250 cases of B.1.1.7 identified across California; see this page on the state’s website that is tracking its spread.
“The detection of this variant is not a surprise, but is a reminder that the pandemic has not ended,” said Dr. Rob Oldham, Placer County’s health and human services director and interim health officer. “Even as we continue an aggressive vaccination campaign, it is important to continue to take steps to limit the spread of Covid-19 — and therefore limit the spread of variants — in our community, such as masking and distancing.”
Initial studies suggest that the three vaccines currently in use in the United States — Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) — provide protection against the B.1.1.7 variant.
Those currently eligible for vaccination in Placer County include those involved in the below industries:
- Long-term care
- People aged 65 and over
- Education and childcare
- Food and agriculture
- Emergency services
- Public transit
- Those ages 16-64 with certain underlying health conditions
Visit placer.ca.gov/vaccineclinics to view appointment availability. Sign up for text updates by texting PLACERVACCINE to the number 898211. Additional guidance and information about Covid-19 from Placer County Public Health is available at placer.ca.gov/coronavirus/.
County REACH Team Works to Increase Access to Vaccine
Nevada County’s Resources for Equity & Access in Community Health Team, REACH, is the Public Health Department’s crew of nurses dedicated to vaccinating those with the most risk and the least access to Covid-19 vaccinations. The team has vaccinated 150 such individuals so far, with plans for more vaccinations in the coming weeks.
REACH Team’s goal is to vaccinate Nevada County residents who are less likely to have access through more traditional means, including older adults who don’t use the internet, people who are unable to leave their home due to lack of mobility or transportation, or those who haven’t received vaccine information due to language or communication barriers.
“We are tasked with finding and immunizing those groups that may not otherwise have the information, time, or transportation to get a shot. This has always been public health’s mission. We are the safety net,” said Cindy Wilson, Nevada County’s director of public health nursing in a statement put out by the county.
The REACH Team began doing pop-up clinics in January, with a focus on older adults who live in congregate settings. The team provides onsite vaccinations to independent living communities and so far has vaccinated residents of Hilltop Commons, the Bret Harte Retirement Inn, and some smaller care homes. The current focus is on senior mobile home parks, including Sierra Pines, Ponderosa Pines, and Forest Springs.
“It was a great experience having the team here,” said Hilltop Commons Marketing Director Sue Hudson. “Very few of our residents drive and most are unable to walk to the closest bus stop. Many do not have family nearby who can help them get to a clinic. By coming to us, the REACH Team made getting the vaccine easy.”
Jill Blake, the public health director for Nevada County, says she plans to expand the REACH Team’s efforts to other hard-to-reach populations, including residents of geographically isolated areas like North San Juan and the Little Town of Washington, and to residents who speak limited or no English.
“It’s our responsibility to ensure that anyone who wants to be vaccinated has access to the vaccine no matter their age, race, ability, primary language, or socioeconomic status,” Blake said. “This is our mandate and it is critical we fulfill it if we want to return to normalcy.”
To learn more about vaccinations in Nevada County, visit mynevadacounty.com/coronavirus/vaccine, and to inquire about vaccine appointments in the county, call 211 or 1-833-DIAL211.
As of today, Placer County is in the red tier, indicating “substantial” risk. (El Dorado County is in the red tier as well; Nevada County remains in the purple, or “widespread” risk, tier.)
March 17, 2021
Unlucky UK Number 13
Thirteen additional cases of B.1.1.7, or the “UK variant” of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Washoe County, bringing the total number of known cases of the variant to 14.
“Two of the additional B.1.1.7 cases reported today attended a large gathering linked to the first confirmed B.1.1.7 case reported on March 12,” the county wrote in a release. “That large gathering had more than 70 people attend from multiple states. One of the additional cases had traveled to Florida recently where they had close contact with a confirmed case and flew back to Reno while infectious.”
Additionally, four of the B.1.1.7 cases are linked to a youth sports club, and two cases attended practices and games while infectious. Another in this cluster attended school while infectious. All contacts are being notified and asked to quarantine the full 14 day incubation period.
The remaining cases are under investigation.
March 13, 2021
Moving On Up (to the Red Tier)
Placer and El Dorado counties have moved to the red ‘substantial’ risk tier, meaning “some non-essential indoor business operations” are still required to be closed and safety guidelines and restrictions apply to businesses that are open. The counties still reserve the right to restrict further than the state mandated regulations.
March 12, 2021
Washoe County Announces First Known Case of ‘UK Variant’
Today, the Washoe County Health District announced the first case of the Covid-19 variant B.1.1.7 in Washoe County. The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory (NSPHL) confirmed the new variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom and is hence sometimes referred to as the ‘UK variant.’
The confirmed case is a female in her 30s whose infection is linked to attendance at a large gathering in Washoe County with more than 60 people from multiple states. So far there have been reports of 17 additional Covid-19 infections linked to this event, with not all of the reported cases being Washoe County residents. Additional genomic sequencing is underway to determine if more B.1.1.7 cases are confirmed; however, many specimens are not available for genomic sequencing.
The county says extensive contact tracing has been conducted on all confirmed cases linked to this gathering who are Washoe County residents.
“This is a stark reminder that we are not out of the woods with Covid-19,” said Kevin Dick, district health officer for the county. “We suspected that this variant which originated in the UK was present in Washoe County weeks ago but it’s now confirmed. We are recommending that people not attend large gatherings, and follow our guidance and the governor’s directives because we have seen how quickly the virus can spread. It’s important for people to remain vigilant against Covid-19 and always cooperate with disease investigators so we can conduct adequate contact tracing to ensure that we help limit the spread of the virus.”
This is the second variant of concern reported in Washoe County. The first was the variant that originated in South Africa, B.1.351. According to the CDC, this variant that originated in the UK is “associated with increased transmissibility (i.e., more efficient and rapid transmission, including an increased risk of death compared to other variants).”
Regarding whether the currently approved COVID-19 vaccines are effective against this variant, the CDC says: “So far, studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination with currently authorized vaccines recognize these variants. This is being closely investigated and more studies are underway.”
California Meets Vaccination Thresholds to Reduce Tier Criteria
The state’s initial goal of delivering a minimum of 2 million doses to the hardest-hit quarter of the state, as measured by the Healthy Places Index, was met. California’s Covid response plan, the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, is being updated to allow higher case rates in each tier, meaning that the case rate metric has changed from 7 or less per 100k to 10 or less per 100k to move up to the Red (‘substantial’ risk) tier (from purple, ‘widespread’ risk).
Placer County Set To Move to Red Tier (‘Substantial’ Rather than ‘Widespread Risk’)
The county announced that by Sunday, March 14 it will have hit its vaccination threshold and be able to move to a higher tier (lessening restriction), from the purple ‘widespread’ risk tier to the red ‘substantial’ risk tier.
Truckee, Nevada County Remain in the Purple
While some counties have reduced their Covid-19 numbers and are moving into less restrictive state tiers, Nevada County remains in the purple ‘widespread’ tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework. This means, Truckee and the rest of Nevada County still do not have indoor dining and retail capacity remains at 25%. Visit this website for specific industry guidance.
Breweries, Wineries, and Distilleries Will Open in Purple Tier
Under the new guidelines, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that don’t serve food will be allowed to reopen outdoors in counties in the purple and red tiers effective March 13. Previously those establishments would have to wait for future tiers to reopen.
Outdoor Events in April
California has updated its guidance for outdoor events (including sports events and live performances) with attendees beginning April 1:
Purple Tier: 100 people or fewer. 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.
March 4, 2021
California Introduces Vaccine Equity Metric to Update Covid Response
Using data to inform vaccine allocations, California set aside 40% of vaccine doses to strategically increase the proportion of vaccines distributed to regions hardest hit by Covid-19, with the goal of lowering the rate of community infection, hospitalizations, and deaths; reducing potential new variants that might emerge with each additional case; and ensuring equitable distribution of the state’s still-limited vaccine supply.
Consistent with the disproportionate impact of the virus, the state is modifying the Blueprint for a Safer Economy to lead with opening activities when vaccines have been deployed to the hardest-hit communities. This modification will shift Blueprint tier thresholds to allow slightly higher case rates per 100,000 population once more vaccinations have occurred in the communities suffering the most, allowing counties to move to less restrictive tiers.
California Department of Public Health Updates Masking Recommendations
Today, CDPH issued updated guidance on the use of face coverings, which broadly requires the use of face coverings for both members of the public and workers in all public and workplace settings where there is a high risk of exposure. The updates include advice on when double masking is recommended, and provide guidance on an effective mask, which has both good fit and good filtration, emphasizing that it is only effective if it is worn over your mouth and nose.
Read the recommendations, including examples of least and most effective face coverings, here.
Rent Relief Rollout in Califonia
California announced its Covid-19 Rent Relief program will be online accepting applications the week starting March 15. Income eligible households who need financial assistance for unpaid or future rent and utilities will be able to apply for help soon. Information is available at HousingIsKey.com or call California’s Rent Relief Call Center at (833) 430-2122.
Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) Vaccine Arrives in Washoe County
The first shipment of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine has arrived in Washoe County.
Approximately 3,600 doses were delivered to the Washoe County Health District on March 2. The county’s Regional Information Center refers to the vaccine as the “Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine” on first reference or “Janssen” moving forward. Janssen is the pharmaceutical company manufacturing the vaccine and is owned by Johnson & Johnson. If a resident receives this specific vaccine, the information on the vaccine card will read “Janssen” and not “Johnson & Johnson.”
Feb. 26, 2021
Editors’ note: As of today, the Ink staff decided to stop yelling: We updated our style guide and we will now refer to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus as Covid-19.
California Reports Over 8 Million Vaccine Administrations
As of today, according to California’s Covid-19 vaccination dashboard, 8,243,711 doses of vaccines have been administered in total in the state. Importantly, the site notes that “the sum of county-level vaccinations does not equal statewide total vaccinations because some out-of-state residents are vaccinated in California.”
With that caveat in mind, the current total reported vaccinations to the state from El Dorado County is 39,912; Placer County, 105,511; and Nevada County, 21,964.
That makes for a current total of 167,397 reported vaccinations in the Ink’s California coverage counties.
According to the New York Times world vaccination tracker, over 227.5 million vaccine doses have been administered worldwide, or three doses for every 100 people.
TTUSD Takes Day of Distance for Staff Vaccinations
The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District is conducting all classes through distance learning today because its staff is receiving their second doses of Covid-19 vaccinations. TTUSD staff are being vaccinated due to a partnership with the Tahoe Forest Health System, Nevada County, and Placer County.
“Getting our second dose of the vaccine on Friday is a huge celebration and another positive step toward getting our students back on campus five days per week,” read a letter sent Feb. 25 by superintendent chief learning officer Carmen Ghysels.
“The planning,” she continued, for a return to full in-person learning, “includes new school schedules, bus route schedules, and negotiating new MOUS with our employee unions due to the pandemic.”
Last month, the California Department of Public Health issued updated guidance for school districts to reopen our schools full-time. Gysels wrote, “while our district has done an outstanding job providing extensive safety mitigation measures, the changes in the guidance have created additional issues for us to address based on our current tier. We are actively working on addressing these items.”
CDPH also issued updated guidelines for youth sports that go into effect today.
TTUSD’s next board meeting will be held at the district office on March 3, at which the district announced it will “share an update on our planning.”
Feb. 25, 2021
Placer Vaccinates 100K
Placer County surpassed 100,000 vaccinations, “the highest rate per capita in the region,” according to a release by the county, which continues to specify that today it also surpassed 30,000 doses administered directly by the county at its clinic at the Grounds.
Washoe Covid-19 Response Team Provides Update
According to the county, providers have administered 107,425 Covid-19 vaccines overall (38,006 second doses), with 16,559 happening between Feb. 18 and 24. Nevada’s state dashboard provides more detail, and Washoe County has begun providing a breakdown of vaccines by zip code. Other regional information for the county can be found here.
Washoe Seniors Are Up
“Seniors 65 years and older in Washoe County are now eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine,” according to a release by the county. “When more vaccine doses arrive, the Washoe County Health District will start randomly selecting seniors 65+ who are on the senior Covid-19 vaccine waiting list to receive the vaccine at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center.”
The county’s health district utilized email phone calls to invite over 25,000 seniors 70 years and older who signed up for the senior Covid-19 wait list. “Because all seniors on the list were invited,” the release explains, “the Covid-19 Response Team was permitted to open eligibility to the next group under the general population lane of the state’s Covid-19 playbook, which is Nevadans aged 65-69 years.”
Seniors 70 years and older who were on the waiting list but didn’t receive a call or email are asked to re-submit the form to be on the waiting list by emailing email@example.com, or call (775) 328-2427.
The following partners are also scheduling appointments for Seniors 65 and older:
- Smith’s – Sign up online or call 1-800-576-4377
- Walgreens – Sign up online or call 1–800–925–4733
- Walmart – Sign up online
- Sam’s Club – Sign up online
- Washoe County Health District – Sign up for the senior wait list or call 775-328-2427
- Renown Health – Sign up for MyChart or call 775-982-2781
- Saint Mary’s – Call 775-770-3000
- Community Health Alliance – Sign up online or call 775-336-3035
- VA Hospital – Sign up online or call 775-786-7200
- Sparks Fire Department – Sign up online
Feb. 18, 2021
South African Variant of Covid-19 Confirmed in Washoe County
The Washoe County Health District announced today that a new variant of Covid-19 originated in South Africa has been confirmed by the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory.
According to the county’s release, “the confirmed case of the B.1.351 South African variant is a male in his 40s with recent travel from South Africa.” The health department says it conducted an investigation and determined the case was not infectious during travel. This is the first confirmed case of the B.1.351 variant in Washoe County and the state of Nevada. More about the genomic sequencing information from NSPHL is available here.
“As new variants of Covid-19 emerge in Washoe County, we cannot overstate the importance of wearing a mask, social distancing and limiting contact with those outside your household,” said Kevin Dick, district health officer for Washoe County. “We’re still learning a lot about these mutations of Covid-19 and it’s imperative that residents be aware of these new strains. As we see our Covid-19 positivity rate and cases per day trend downward, it’s important to not lower our guard. Past experiences in October-November have shown that this disease can wreak havoc on our community very quickly and we certainly don’t want to take a step backward.”
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention reports just 19 confirmed cases of the B.1.351 variant in 10 states currently, and states that there is no evidence to suggest this variant has any impact on disease severity. However, there is some evidence the variant could affect how Covid-19 vaccine neutralizing antibodies perform, meaning current Covid-19 vaccines might not be as effective in protecting those from contracting the virus.
Feb. 15, 2021
Nevada Governor’s Regulations in Effect
Washoe County’s Regional Information Center is providing guidance to Washoe County residents and businesses regarding Gov. Steve Sisolak’s Feb. 11, 2021 update on Nevada’s COVID-19 response efforts.
The following updates and timeline are based on the state’s current mitigation measures and are outlined in detail in the latest edition of Nevada’s Roadmap to Recovery. As of today, public gatherings and events are limited to 100 individuals or 35% of fire code capacity, whichever is less, under strict social distancing requirements.
Large Gathering Plans allowed for submission but cannot resume until March 1 and only if granted approval by applicable local health and state authorities.
35% capacity limit will include:
Food and beverage establishments (restaurants, bars, pubs, wineries, distilleries and breweries (those that serve food and those that do not; Places of worship; gyms, fitness studios, yoga studios, dance studios, martial arts studios and similar establishments; gaming floors, arcades, racetracks, bowling alleys, mini-golf, pool halls/billiards rooms, amusement and theme parks and similar activities
50% capacity limit will include:
Libraries, museums, art galleries, aquariums and zoos, retail stores and indoor malls, medicinal and recreational cannabis establishments, community/recreational centers (including public pools)
The following may operate under strict social distancing requirements and protocols established by existing directives and/or guidance issued by the applicable regulatory body: spas, massage therapy and massage establishments, hair salons, barbershops, nail salons and businesses that provide aesthetic skin services, body art and piercing establishments.
To calculate the occupant loads for your business, please see the Occupant Load Calculator. If you need further assistance and would like a Fire Inspector to visit your occupancy please call (775) 334-2300.
Starting March 15, 2021, public gatherings and events will be limited to 250 individuals or 50% of fire code capacity, whichever is less, under strict social distancing requirements and large gathering plans will be allowed for submission for approval.
Refer to the Roadmap for Recovery for the full timeline and plan. Statewide directives that will remain in place to mitigate the spread will include, but not be limited to: face covering mandate and social distancing safety protocols.
For more information on Nevada COVID-19 mitigation measures, visit the Nevada Health Response website.
Feb. 12, 2021
Tahoe/Truckee Fights to Stay Employed
The employee and employer experiences during the pandemic have compounded issues in an already stretched-thin workforce. See the Ink’s reporting here.
Washoe County Vaccination Update
Providers in Washoe County have administered 75,432 COVID-19 vaccines overall (21,917 second doses), with 16,559 happening between Feb. 2-9. Visit the State of Nevada’s vaccine dashboard to see more. The Washoe County Health District has administered more than 30,000 vaccines.
Nevada County Opens New Vaccine Clinic in Grass Valley
This week, the County of Nevada will launch a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the Whispering Pines business park in Grass Valley. Vaccinations at the Whispering Pines clinic are by appointment only.
Space for the clinic is being provided by Dignity Health’s Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital with support from the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation. Internet service for the site was donated by Smarter Broadband and local artist Kathy Wronski has livened up the space with her vibrant paintings.
The new Whispering Pines clinic is designed for ease of access. It’s all on one level, there is plenty of parking, and we have volunteers to assist. There is a comfortable waiting area where patients will spend fifteen minutes under observation after getting their shot. Public health staff will manage the clinic and provide nurses to administer vaccinations. The state of California is also assigning four additional nurses and five administrative support staff to the effort.
Feb. 9, 2021
Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive
Several local businesses have been pushing back against state and county regulations. Moonshine conducted a two-month-long investigation into the reasons why, available here.
Feb. 3, 2021
One By One: Vaccinating the Locals
As of today, nearly 100,000 residents and workers in El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, and Washoe counties have received vaccination against the novel coronavirus. Read our full investigation into the state of vaccinations in each of our coverage counties, here.
Feb. 1, 2021
Public Health Information from the Source
Moonshine Ink interviewed Nevada County public health officer, Dr. Scott Kellermann, on the state of vaccinations in that county. He shared his thoughts on the latest COVID-19 vaccine efforts on a local level, what our future looks like with the coronavirus, and how his experiences may apply to the journey. Full interview available here.
Jan. 27, 2021
NTPUD Extends COVID Relief Program
The North Tahoe Public Utility District Board of Directors has voted unanimously to approve an extension to the Temporary Rate Relief Credit Program to businesses and residents through June 1, 2021. Applications are still being accepted.
The Rate Relief Credit Program offers a one-time account credit to NTPUD customers who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Approved qualifying eligible customers, on a first come first served basis, will receive a one-time credit applied to their account equal to one month of the fixed portion of their monthly water and/or sewer utility bill (base charges, system replacement, and state and federal mandate fees). Learn more at ntpud.org.
Is the Nation Moving Toward Herd Immunity?
The New York Times today reported that new COVID-19 cases in the United Stated have fallen 35% over the past three weeks. This is the sharpest decline since the start of the pandemic. The report by David Leonhardt also stated that we may be in the early stages of herd immunity.
“Roughly 100 million Americans seem to have had the virus. (For every person who tests positive, three more have had it without being diagnosed, studies suggest.) Another 24 million people have received a vaccine shot,” wrote Leonhardt.
“Put those two groups together, and you realize that about one-third of all Americans have at least some degree of immunity from the virus. That may be enough to begin — begin — slowing the spread, as my colleague Donald G. McNeil Jr. explained on The Daily.”
Jan. 26, 2021
California to Move to Age-Based Vaccine Eligibility System
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today that the state will shift to an age-based system of vaccine eligibility. Details were not yet immediately available as they are still being worked out. For now, California will continue to prioritize healthcare workers, first responders, teachers and school staff, and food service and agricultural workers. Individuals aged 65 and older also remain prioritized at this time.
A pilot website, myturn.ca.gov, has been set up to provide individuals alerts notifying them when they are eligible to be vaccinated. The site is anticipated to be ready to launch statewide in early February. Sign up at myturn.ca.gov.
Jan. 25, 2021
Newsom Lifts Statewide Stay Home Order
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today that the Regional Stay at Home Order has been lifted for the entire state of California. All counties will return to their appropriately designated tier under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. This action comes as projected ICU availability rose above 15%.
At this time, El Dorado, Nevada, and Placer counties all remain in the purple, or widespread, tier. Many nonessential business operations remain closed, while some are permitted to reopen with certain restrictions in place. Residents are urged to continue safe practices, avoiding crowds and wearing a mask when leaving home.
Jan. 20, 2021
TTUSD to Return to Hybrid Learning Feb. 1
The Tahoe Truckee Unified District announced at today’s board of education meeting that students will pivot back to the hybrid learning model following the decision last fall to go into full distance learning.
“We will welcome our Cohort A students to campus on Monday, February 1, and our Cohort B students to campus on Thursday, February 4, 2021,” Superintendent Chief Learning Officer Carmen Ghysels wrote in an email sent to parents following the meeting. “We realize that parents have different comfort levels regarding having their child on campus for in-person instruction, and we continue to offer our year-long distance learning option. Last week our principals sent out a cohort change request form for any parent who wants to change their child’s cohort, from hybrid to year-long distance learning or vice versa.”
You can read the full email here, with details on the continuing free meal program, the state of high school sports, and details on how the situation will be handled should COVID cases occur in the schools.
Jan. 15, 2020
Get Vaccine Updates by Text
Nevada County Public Health has partnered with 211 Connecting Point to provide 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. Subscribe to receive vaccine text updates by texting VaccineInfo to 898211. You can also get the most up-to-date information by visiting the county’s COVID vaccine webpage at mynevadacounty.com/coronavirus/vaccine or by calling 211 Connecting Point at (833) DIAL211 to speak to a local call center agent, 24/7 in English or Spanish.
Jan. 14, 2021
Limited Supply of Vaccines Now Available to Older Adults in Phase 1B
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available for Placer County residents over the age of 65. The vaccine is available in limited quantities through a public health clinic in South Placer; large hospital systems including Kaiser and Sutter; and pharmacy partner Safeway, whose locations span the county. Appointments are limited based on the availability of vaccine supply.
Vaccinations are by appointment only and proof of Placer County residency and age are required. Vaccinations open to the public include:
- Kaiser Permanente: Members age 65+ can call 866-454-8855 or visit the Kaiser Permanente website for more information. Information will be updated as it becomes available.
- Sutter Health: Sutter patients who are healthcare workers or aged 75+ can now schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments.
- Other regional health systems: Check with your provider.
- Public Health clinic and eight Safeway locations: Visit placer.ca.gov/vaccineclinics to view locations, appointment slots and make an appointment.
Additional vaccine sites will come online as the supply chain grows to meet demand. Currently there are 17 access points (including mobile efforts by CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate long-term care facility residents) offering the vaccine to individuals in Phases 1A and those over 65 in 1B, with future groups in 1B tier 1 still to come. Phases and tiers of administration are determined by the state.
“We do not have enough vaccine for everyone at this time, so we appreciate everyone’s patience as we advocate for more doses,” said interim health officer Dr. Rob Oldham. “Surprisingly, we have had some appointments left open at our clinic during 1A, so we do think it’s important to move forward and offer those slots up to those in the next phase per the state’s expanded definitions. But, supply will not yet meet demand and so we want to set appropriate expectations that this will not be an overnight process.”
Sign up for the county’s newsletter and find regular updates on COVID-19 and the vaccine online at placercounty.gov. You can also text PLACERVACCINE to the number 898211 to receive alerts from 211.
Seniors 65 and older Asked to Sign Up for Vaccine Wait List
The Regional Information Center is asking Washoe County residents 65 years and older to sign up and be placed on a waiting list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine in Washoe County makes it impossible to vaccinate every Washoe County resident 65 years and older right away, however, plans are in place to randomly select those on the waiting list to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available. Vaccine appointments for seniors will start next week.
Residents are encouraged to sign up for the waiting list online but may also do so by calling (775) 328-2427. There is no timeline available as vaccines typically become available with just a few days’ notice.
Based on supply of the vaccine from the state and federal government, the Regional COVID-19 team will randomly select individuals on the list who are 70 years and older (first priority under the General Population Lane of the State’s COVID-19 Vaccine Playbook) and contact them to schedule an appointment. The Health District is working with Washoe County Human Services Agency – Senior Services to identify low-income, underserved seniors to vaccinate as well.
“As we continue to vaccinate our essential workforce, we are working to administer vaccines to our seniors because we know the risk of complication from COVID-19 that can occur to that population,” said Kevin Dick, district health officer for Washoe County. “We simply don’t have enough vaccine for every senior right now, but our goal is to compile a waiting list to vaccinate seniors quickly and fairly as we have vaccine and capacity to administer it through the Health District.”
This waiting list is one of several options for seniors to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Washoe County and is not associated with other vaccine events such as Renown Health and Saint Mary’s. Since the Health District is also responsible for vaccinating essential workers under the State’s prioritization, it may not be able to dispense vaccinations to the 65 or 70 and older population as quickly as other providers. Those eligible for vaccinations based on their age group are urged to sign up with healthcare, pharmacy, or other providers to ensure the best opportunity to receive the vaccination as soon as possible.
Once a person receives confirmation that he or she is on the list, there is no need to do anything further. The Washoe County Health District will contact you to schedule an appointment as the vaccine becomes available and further instructions will be communicated. You must have an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine and verify your name and date of birth at the check-in station; those who show up without an appointment will be turned away.
TTUSD Plans for Return to In-Person Learning
The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District is expected to announce at the Jan. 20 board meeting a date for students to return to in-person learning. The district made the switch to distance learning in November when high case numbers, staffing shortages, and testing inadequacies among other issues posed challenges to keep schools open at that time.
“Our goal is to reopen our schools soon, without compromising the safety of our students and staff,” Superintendent Chief Learning Officer Carmen Ghysels wrote in an email that went out to parents today. “Safety is one of our guiding principles, and it will continue to guide all we do as we continue to navigate this pandemic.”
She said that the district has been working to address the challenges that led to the return to distance learning in the fall, which includes ensuring that timely testing is available for any symptomatic students and staff, that child care is provided to district staff for their children in grades TK to 5, and that there are enough substitute teachers.
By the time of next week’s meeting, public health officials will know the extent of the post-holiday season surge. There is hope that the number of active COVID cases in the area will flatten, if not lower. If the active case rates in the area continue to go down, a date will be announced at the 5:30 p.m. board meeting for students to return to the hybrid model of learning. The email noted that parents should be prepared for an announcement with a quick turnaround time in regard to reopening.
When schools reopen, students will be automatically enrolled in the cohort that they were in when the district reopened in hybrid this fall, unless a change is requested.
You can find TTUSD’s latest reopening update, with complete details on measures taken to return to hybrid instruction, as well as a link to livestream the Jan. 20 board meeting, at ttusd.org.
Jan. 12, 2021
Greater Sacramento Region Exits Regional Stay Home Order
Gov. Gavin Newsom has announced that, effective immediately, the Greater Sacramento region meets the criteria to exit the Regional Stay Home Order. Counties in this region will go back to their appropriate tiers based on cases and test positivity rate.
“So California remains in its most intense surge today but there are some good things to report,” Newsom said in a statement this afternoon. “We’re starting to see some stabilization both in our ICUs as well as stabilization in our positivity rate. We’re also starting to see the rate of growth for hospitalizations beginning to decline, so much so that today, effective immediately, we’re pulling the Sacramento Region out of the stay-at-home order. They’ll now be into the old blueprint in the purple tier.”
There are currently 54 counties in the most restricted purple tier, which means that the disease is widespread. In the purple tier, many nonessential indoor businesses are closed. Restaurants are restricted to outdoor dining with modifications while personal services like hair and nail salons are to remain closed.
The Greater Sacramento Region went under the stay-at-home order on Dec. 10, 2020, when ICU capacity at hospitals in the region fell below the 15% threshold. While the Greater Sacramento Region remained at 9.4% today, it was permitted to come out of the order based projections for ICU capacity over the next four weeks. The Northern California Region is also above the 15% threshold, while the Bay Area (4.7%), San Joaquin Valley (0.0%), and Southern California (0.0%) regions all remain under regional stay-at-home orders. The entire state of California continues to remain under a limited stay-at-home order.
California has 2,747,288 confirmed cases to date, with 36,487 newly recorded confirmed cases yesterday, Jan. 11. As of January 11, 816,673 vaccine doses have been administered statewide. A total of 2,466,125 vaccine doses, which includes the first and second dose, have been shipped to local health departments and health care systems that have facilities in multiple counties.
“There is light at the end of this tunnel,” said Newsom in his statement, posted to social media, noting also that additional information regarding vaccine administration “up and down the state” would be forthcoming tomorrow.
Washoe County Vaccine Update; Governor Alters Guidelines
The Regional Information Center is providing a COVID-19 vaccine update in Washoe County to help educate residents on the mass vaccination effort by the COVID-19 Response Team. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers from the Washoe County Health District:
- COVID-19 vaccines received in Washoe County total: 22,760
- Vaccines administered by the Health District total: 8,708
- Vaccines received by the Health District this week: 2,870
- Vaccines on hand with Health District: 2,970
- Vaccines given to community partners: 11,030
- Vaccines administered by City of Reno (Reno Fire Department): 450
- Vaccines administered by REMSA: 277
- Vaccines administered by the City of Sparks (Police Department and Fire Department): 130
Gov. Steve Sisolak on Monday outlined new direction for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The state is moving away from the tier-based structure and moving to lane-based structure. The two lanes are Frontline/Essential Workforce and the General Population. A breakdown of those groups can be found at washoecounty.us. The governor also extended the state-wide pause for another 30 days.
Sisolak bumped up the priority for those 70 years and older to receive the COVID-19 Vaccine. The Washoe County COVID-19 Response Team has been tasked to vaccinate groups under Frontline/Essential Workforce, and the process to administer vaccines for 70 and up is being worked on by the state of Nevada and medical partners in Washoe County. The 70 and older population is at a much higher risk of complications due to COVID-19 and it’s urgent that this population be vaccinated as soon as possible.
Recent Census data indicates that 16.8% of the total population in Washoe County is 65 and older (over 79,000 people). The logistical effort to ensure everyone is vaccinated in that group is enormous and it will take some time for it to be organized.
The Regional Information Center will soon launch a new COVID-19 vaccine website in the coming days that will include a dashboard with updated statistics. In the meantime, Washoe County vaccine information can be found at washoecounty.us.
Jan. 8, 2021.
Washoe County Health District Transitions to Tier 2 COVID-19 Vaccine Administration
The Washoe County Health District is administering COVID-19 vaccines to educators in Tier 2 starting Jan. 9, per the State’s COVID-19 Vaccine Playbook.
The Health District is working with the Washoe County School District and other private and charter K-12 schools to administer the vaccine to educators while continuing to vaccinate remaining members of Tier 1.
The State and the Health District are working on plans to vaccinate other groups in Tier 2, including seniors 75 years and older. The Health District will release follow-up information on when other groups in Tier 2 will be vaccinated. Seniors 75 and older will be added to Tier 2 upon release of the updated State COVID-19 Vaccine Playbook, which is expected soon.
“The Health District is working tirelessly to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible,” said Kevin Dick, district health officer for Washoe County. “Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine are safe and effective ways to prevent getting COVID-19, so we understand the urgency to roll out this vaccine quickly. We ask for patience as we move to different groups within Tier 2 and for residents to continue to wear a mask, social distance and refrain from hosting or attending small gatherings to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, go to washoecounty.us.
Jan. 7, 2021
TTUSD to Remain in Distance Learning
Carmen Ghysels, superintendent chief learning officer for the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, announced at last night’s Board of Education meeting that students will not yet be returning to in-person instruction. We held a board meeting last night and discussed the feasibility of safely reopening our schools in a few weeks.
“I was hoping to announce today the reopening of our schools in hybrid on January 19,” Ghysels wrote in an email to district parents today. “Unfortunately, there was a huge surge of COVID cases in December, with another one expected this coming week, following the New Year’s holiday.” Aside from holidays, she noted the spike is partially to blame for a “huge influx of visitors in Tahoe the past few weeks, [which] gives me concern that the numbers of active cases of COVID could spike again. The last thing any of us want is to open and have to close schools again.”
Ghysels said the district will wait a few more weeks to evaluate the impacts of expected post-holiday surges. She acknowledged that pivoting back and forth between in-person and distance learning is not what is best for students. The next two weeks will provide sufficient data to see the effects of the past few weeks and to adequately assess the safety and feasibility of reopening.”
She concluded by emphasizing safety as the priority. “We’ve always said that safety is not negotiable, and we need to continue to do what we think is best for our kids and our staff’s safety.. Once the surge is behind us and we can reopen, we will do everything we can to stay open. If we have to, due to exposure to COVID, we will close a classroom by classroom, or a school if needed. Closing the entire district will be the last resort.”
TTUSD will share an update on the latest information on COVID cases within the community, on Jan. 14. The timeline for reopening will be revisited at the Jan. 20 board meeting.
Testing Capacity Increases in Nevada County
Testing at the Grass Valley site has increased to six days a week, now available Monday through Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., which increases that site’s weekly capacity by 165 tests, or just over 15%.
As previously reported, the Truckee testing site located on Donner Pass Road also expanded its capacity last month, yet had been experiencing long lines going into and through the holiday season regardless. Pre-register for either site and schedule an appointment at lhi.care/covidtesting or call (888) 634-1123.
Placer Update Quantifies Surge
Cases in Placer County have surged significantly, according to a Jan. 1 yearly pandemic overview released by the county today. Roughly half — 48.6% — of the county’s total cases all year were reported in December. These 6,452 recent cases numbered 5.5 times as many cases received in July, during the last coronavirus surge.
Placer County’s update on vaccine distribution within the report notes that the county “is still in the first tier of Phase 1a, focused on health care workers and long-term care facilities, according to [California Department of Public Health]’s vaccine allocation guidance for this phase.”
As of Dec. 31, Placer County had received 11,525 doses of vaccine. Vaccine allocations to the county included 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Dec. 10; 1,950 additional Pfizer doses on Dec. 17 plus 2,900 Moderna doses; and ultimately on Dec. 24 a shipment arrived of 975 Pfizer doses and 1,800 Moderna ones.
The annual report also reveals some of the findings of the county’s contact tracing efforts at the end of December, summarized in the chart below courtesy of Placer County:
Jan. 5, 2021
Let The Right One In
While SARS-CoV-2 has hung over our heads and flooded our news feeds for months upon months now, his younger British brother is here, looming at the edges of America’s battle with the coronavirus pandemic: 24 new cases of a mutated SARS-CoV-2 strain discovered in the United Kingdom in December and known as “B117,” were diagnosed in San Diego County on Tuesday, bringing California’s total up to 32 known cases of the new strain.
Jan. 1, 2021
We’re Not Out of the Woods Yet …
California’s state department communicated via its COVID-19 fact sheet that while the Greater Sacramento region was eligible to exit the stay-at-home order as early as Jan. 2, it will likely be extended based on early ICU projections.
“The ICU capacity projections are based on four factors,” explains a press release from Nevada County, which are: “current estimated regional ICU capacity available, measure of current community transmission, current regional case rates, and the proportion of ICU cases being admitted.”
The Greater Sacramento region’s official ICU projections and status under the Stay Home Order will be known and posted tomorrow, Jan. 2.
New Resources for Businesses
Nevada County is hosting a COVID-19 Business Task Force meeting at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 6. Register on Zoom here.
The California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant opened Dec. 30 and will close on Jan. 8 at 11:59 p.m. The Small Business Development Center will provide a daily webinar at 11 a.m. until Jan. 4, with topics including updates to the program like eligibility requirements, application process, required documents, and who to contact for assistance. Register for an upcoming Small Business Grant Webinar on SBDC’s website.
Public Health Officer Announced for Nevada County
Beginning Jan. 1, Dr. Scott Kellermann will be joining the County of Nevada as public health officer, to be formally appointed at a Jan. 12 meeting of the board of supervisors.
Dec. 22, 2020
Town of Truckee Supports Micro-Grants for Businesses from County
Truckee’s town council unanimously approved an allocation of $75,000 to support small, locally-owned businesses most impacted by the state’s Regional Stay Home Order and Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework to slow the spread of COVID-19. The funding will be used for micro-grants to small businesses through the Nevada County Relief Fund program.
Earlier this month, the Nevada County Relief Fund launched its Small Business Winter Survival Campaign to fundraise for micro-grants to businesses that’ve been hit hard. The Nevada County board of supervisors approved a $100,000 challenge grant to support this program. The town’s $75,000 contribution will expand its reach to Truckee businesses. Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation is serving as the Relief Fund’s fiscal sponsor, so donations are tax deductible. The grant application process will be administered by the Sierra Business Council, with oversight provided by the Relief Fund’s Community Advisory Council.
This is the fourth round of fundraising and grant making for the Relief Fund, which has raised nearly $800,000 for small businesses and nonprofits. This round will be dedicated to for-profit businesses, which may apply for micro-grants up to $5,000 that can be used for rent relief or other critical business expenses needed to stay open this winter. The application period is open now through Jan. 6.
Dec. 21, 2020
RNO Prepares for Highest Flight Volume of Pandemic
Between the week of Christmas and New Year’s, Reno-Tahoe International Airport “will see the highest passenger numbers since COVID significantly impacted air travel in March,” the airport wrote in a press release today, noting that “the airport will be working diligently to provide the safest, most sanitary travel experience possible” and reporting that Dec. 23 is the busiest travel day at RNO, with over 5,000 travelers scheduled to depart.
RNO has maintained a mandatory mask requirement, and for this surge the airport has added 1,000 social distancing stickers and plexiglass shielding at every counter. In-depth cleaning is conducted in the terminal throughout the day, and airport officials are also encouraging employees and passengers to wash their hands frequently and use hand sanitizer.
Dec. 17, 2020
Nevada County Receives First Vaccine Shipments, to be Distributed to TFH and Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital
In a joint media release between the county and the two hospitals, it was announced that the first vaccine shipment was received this morning and includes 975 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
These first doses are being distributed to our two hospitals, Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee and Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital in Grass Valley and will be used to begin vaccinating our front line health care workers.
Congregate care settings such as skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities are also prioritized in Tier 1 of Phase 1A. As availability increases, the vaccine will eventually be available via local health care providers and Nevada County Public Health.
“While this is a tremendous milestone in the fight against this pandemic, it will be some time until the vaccine is widely available,” the release continues. “Until our community is widely vaccinated, stay home as much as possible, wear a mask when out of the house, and maintain social distance from non-household members.”
TTUSD announces target in-person learning dates, provides meals for all Tahoe/Truckee kids
In a Dec. 16 board meeting, the district discussed plans to reopen schools in January, coming up with a target date of Jan. 19, if safe, for elementary and middle school students. High school students are expected to transition to hybrid on Jan. 25 following their finals.
A letter today from superintendent chief learning officer Carmen Ghysels gave more detail on the timeline: “The plan right now is to remain in distance learning through January 15, 2021,” Ghysels wrote. “We will continue to actively monitor the daily cases. It is our hope that the number of active cases of COVID-19 will lower within our community, and that we can start to [reopen] our school facilities that following week.”
The letter goes on to provide resources and tips for TTUSD families to spend time outdoors and stay safe concerning COVID-19 over the winter break from instruction. If a student tests positive for COVID, the protocol is for families to notify their principal, and contact tracing will be the responsibility of school nurses. Information on open dates for the district testing center can be found here.
In light of food insecurity during the pandemic, the school district has also extended free “grab and go” meals one day per week for any youth aged 18 and under (not just TTUSD students). Wednesday pick up times are from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.; Thursday afternoon pick ups are from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Winter break will mean a hiatus for this program, though on Monday, Jan. 4 from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. the district will have curbside pick up for two days of meals, and on Wednesday, Jan. 6, regular week-long grab and go meals and home deliveries resume.
Dec. 16, 2020
Vaccinations are on their way to North Tahoe and testing capacity is improving, but positive COVID-19 cases are higher than ever before. Read our full in-depth report, published today, here.
Dec. 15, 2020
Washoe County Receives First Vaccine Shipment
The Washoe County Health District received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine and is “working to help the regional hospitals administer the vaccine to frontline healthcare workers as soon as possible,” the county wrote in a release.
The county’s shipment included 3,655 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, all stored currently at -70°C as required. An additional 245 additional doses were included in the same shipment that will be distributed by the state of Nevada to hospitals outside of Washoe County.
In Nevada, the COVID-19 vaccine is currently available only for healthcare workers and others in the Tier 1 Critical Infrastructure Workforce by Priority Order, per the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program Nevada’s Playbook for Statewide Operations, which outlines which people get the vaccine first. The county “expect[s] that members of the general public will receive the vaccine later this spring.”
Dec. 14, 2020
A Grim Day in the Nation
The U.S. surpassed 300,000 deaths known to be caused by the novel coronavirus.
Dec. 11, 2020
Nevada County in Full Stay-at-Home Mode Once More
The county is considered part of the Greater Sacramento Region and is under the Regional Stay Home Order beginning as of today at 11:59 p.m. The order will remain in effect for a minimum of three weeks. The state’s Regional Stay at Home Order is triggered when a region’s ICU capacity drops below 15%. The Greater Sacramento Region’s ICU capacity has dropped to 14.3%.
This means that gatherings of any size are prohibited. Bars, wineries, personal services, and hair salons must close temporarily. Retail can stay open with a cap of 20% capacity indoors and restaurants must stop all on-site dining and only provide takeout or delivery services. While critical infrastructure and schools are allowed to stay open, nonessential travel is not permitted across the state of California, and the travel advisory to quarantine after any out-of-state travel is still in place. Masking and physical distancing are mandatory.
Dec. 7 – 10, 2020
Under California’s “tier” system of COVID regulations, all the counties in that state within Moonshine’s coverage area (El Dorado, Placer, and Nevada) are currently considered in the purple tier, or “widespread” risk of contracting the coronavirus.
That means that as part of the statewide mandate, “many nonessential indoor business operations are closed.” This public, state-collected data shows how most California counties are currently in the same tier.
Catching Up on Case Counts
The fourTruckee/North Tahoe region counties within the Ink’s coverage area continue to battle the novel coronavirus throughout the hiatus in these updates, with case count, hospital capacity, and death counts enumerated below:
Nevada County: The Town of Truckee’s county is currently reporting 1,895 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date, with 513 known to be active and 19 total deaths.
Placer County: Placer is reporting 8,544 total cases currently, with 6,505 of those “likely recovered” with the county’s highest singled-day spike to date on Dec. 2 with 273 reported COVID cases in one day. Two hundred and twenty seven cases were reported Dec. 1 and 213 on Nov. 30, all record days.
Eighty five Placer County residents have been reported to have died from the coronavirus.
El Dorado County: Tahoe’s most populous county enveloping its eastern shores currently reports 3,529 positive confirmed cases with 2,093 “likely recovered,” representing a jump of over 1,000 in less than a week. Eight deaths from COVID-19 have been reported by the county to date. As of Dec. 4, the county was reporting a testing positivity rate of 12.1%, up from 9.7% last week.
Washoe County: The sole county we cover in the state of Nevada has experienced 28,643 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date, and is reporting that 12,245 of them are currently known to be active, and 16,070 of them have recovered.
Washoe County has reported 328 deaths due to COVID-19 to date.
Dec. 5, 2020
Nevada County Update
Nevada County is reporting five new deaths today and is experiencing a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, with active COVID-19 cases jumping from 307 to nearly 400 over the past week.
“These are extremely challenging times, but our county has come together to address challenges before, and we know we can do it again,” read the county’s update today. “We can slow the spread and limit the impacts that COVID is having on everyone who lives here by continuing to practice social distancing, masking, hand washing and minimizing social mixing between households. Even if you are mildly symptomatic, please stay home and don’t assume it is allergies or a cold.”
Nov. 23, 2020
TTUSD Goes Distance Once More
The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District announced that effective immediately, all instruction will switch to distance learning due to the spike in cases. “COVID-19 is spreading across California at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic,” the district wrote in an email to parents. “Unfortunately, the number of COVID-19 cases in our counties (Placer, Nevada, and El Dorado) is also spiking.”
On Friday, Nov. 20, TTUSD had a total of 12 active cases including both students and staff, and by Monday, Nov. 23, “we now have a total of 27 active cases of COVID-19 within our school community -17 are students in hybrid, and 7 are staff members,” the email explained to parents who’ve been divided on the topic of distance learning as the school year has progressed. “We are concerned about students and staff coming to school for in-person instruction — we do not want to put anyone at risk!”
TTUSD reports over 185 students and staff who are currently quarantined, with their internal COVID-19 testing locations at capacity and staffing shortages of both primary and substitute teachers. Additionally, the Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe has reduced staff due to positive cases at their Kings Beach location, forcing its closure, which impacts both parent and TTUSD staff child care.
Nov. 16, 2020
Placer Moves to Purple Tier
As COVID-19 cases sharply increase across the country and California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and state public health officials announced today that the state is pulling an emergency brake in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy resulting in 94.1% of California’s population returning to the most restrictive tier (“purple”) of COVID regulations, in a move that included Placer County. This change is effective Nov. 17, the state will “reassess data continuously and move more counties back if necessary,” according to a letter from Newsom. “California is also strengthening its face covering guidance to require individuals to wear a mask whenever outside their home, with limited exceptions.”
According to Newsom: “California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet — faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes. That is why we are pulling an emergency brake in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Now is the time to do all we can — government at all levels and Californians across the state — to flatten the curve again as we have done before.”
The rate of growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases is faster than it was in July, which led to a significant peak in cases. This requires a swift public health response and action from all Californians to slow the spread of the virus. Immediate action will help protect individuals at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 and will help keep the state’s health care delivery system from becoming overwhelmed.
Editors’ Note: Moonshine’s coverage of the novel coronavirus has remained consistent throughout the pandemic, providing numerous in depth investigations and reports; publishing opinion pieces (including Mike English’s legendary Shine On cartoons that make you laugh when you feel like crying); and sharing confirmed information as it was available.
However, we took a hiatus from these live updates between July 13 and Nov. 16 due to a slower news cycle as case rates were more consistent and top-down response and regulation loosened.
It’s December, winter is practically here, and Placer announced last week that the county is reentering the “purple” tier of COVID-mandated restrictions while TTUSD went back to a full distance learning scheme. As the news cycle speeds back up to March and April levels, we are rolling back out the rolling updates. Stay tuned and turn to this page for Tahoe/Truckee novel coronavirus news as it happens.
Below is a gallery of a photoessay of scenes around the Basin as the first wave of the pandemic hit.
July 13, 2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is ordering a statewide closure of indoor operations for restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, family entertainment, zoos, museums, and cardrooms. Bars must close all operations. In addition, 30 counties are also required to close indoor operations for fitness centers, places of worship, offices for non-critical sectors, personal care services, hair salons and barbershops, and malls. Those counties, which includes Placer, are listed below:
- Contra Costa
- San Benito
- San Bernardino
- San Diego
- San Joaquin
- Santa Barbara
July 10, 2020
As of 11:59 p.m., Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak stated that bars in certain counties will be returning to phase one restrictions, meaning bars and taverns that don’t serve food cannot have patrons on the premises (though they can still provide curbside pickup and delivery). Restaurants with bar areas must close them, and continue to limit patron capacity to 50%. The counties are Clark, Elko, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Nye, and Washoe.
New statewide restrictions are also in place, disallowing restaurants and food establishments (including pubs, breweries, distilleries, and wineries) to seat parties larger than six people, indoor or outdoor.
July 8, 2020
Napa, San Benito, and Yolo counties are now, too, required to close indoor operations for restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, family entertainment, zoos, museums, and cardrooms. Bars must close all operations.
July 6, 2020
Six new California counties were asked to close indoor operations for the sectors listed on July 1: Colusa, Madera, Marin, Merced, Monterey, and San Diego counties.
In Nevada, the state COVID-19 fiscal report and details about the 2021 fiscal year budget were released. A total estimated general fall shortfall of $1.2 billion in the 20/21 fiscal year is expected.
Proposed reductions to close the shortfall and balance the FY 20/21 budget include but aren’t limited to:
- Over $500 million in reductions to agency budgets
- Reductions in one-time appropriations
- Reversions from the interim finance committee restricted contingency funds
- Transfers from other funds to the state’s general fund
- Furlough days for state employees in the fiscal year, and holding open more than 690 state employee vacancies
- A tax amnesty program
- Acceleration of net proceeds of minerals
The full budget summary can be found here.
July 3, 2020
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak today shared information regarding statewide compliance numbers reported so far. A press release stated:
“Of the 204 businesses observed by the state on July 2, 49% complied with the face covering requirements. Fifty percent of bars and restaurant bar areas visited by officials were found to be in compliance, with the remaining establishments, including automobile sales and maintenance, gyms, hair and nail establishments, and tattoo shops, demonstrating a 61% rate of compliance.”
July 1, 2020
Nineteen California counties are required to close indoor operations for restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, family entertainment, zoos, museums, and cardrooms. Bars must close all operations. This mandate applies to the following counties:
- Contra Costa
- San Bernardino
- San Joaquin
- Santa Barbara
- Santa Clara
Additionally, Gov. Newsom required all parking facilities at state beaches in Southern California and the Bay Area to be closed for the 4th of July weekend.
June 29, 2020
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak today extended phase two of Nevada’s reopening plan to the end of July — necessary, he says, because of upward trends in COVID-19 cases.
June 28, 2020
Due to the rising spread of COVID-19, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of bars in the following counties: Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, and Tulare, while recommending they close in Contra Costa, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, and Ventura.
Nevada today saw its 500th loss of life due to COVID-19.
June 26, 2020
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak mandates face coverings to be worn across the state when in public places. More information can be found here.
A study by Truth Initiative has found that approximately two-thirds of vapers between the ages of 15 and 24 are more interested in quitting vaping now during the COVID-19 pandemic than before.
June 23, 2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom released guidance stating that face coverings are now mandatory in public places throughout the entire state. Guidance from the California Department of Public Health is available here.
June 18, 2020
Beginning today, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced people must wear face coverings in public areas to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Full, detailed guidance is below:
- Inside of, or in line to enter, any indoor public space;
- Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank;
- Waiting for or riding on public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle;
- Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when:
- Interacting in-person with any member of the public;
- Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time;
- Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;
- Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities;
- In any room or enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s own household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance.
- Driving or operating any public transportation or paratransit vehicle, taxi, or private car service or ride-sharing vehicle when passengers are present. When no passengers are present, face coverings are strongly recommended.
- While outdoors in public spaces when maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet from persons who are not members of the same household or residence is not feasible.
Exempt individuals include: children 2 and under; those with medical or mental health conditions, or with a disability preventing them from wearing a face covering; those who are hearing impaired or speaking with someone who is hearing impaired; and patrons at restaurants who are eating/drinking.
Washoe County’s 72nd death due to COVID-19 has occurred, a male in his 60s with underlying conditions. Additionally, 83 new cases were reported in the county, though the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory delayed reporting by a day due to equipment issues. Thus, two days were reported in one. District health officer Kevin Dick stated in a press release, “It’s imperative that residents understand COVID-19 is not slowing down in our community. The health and wellbeing of our vulnerable populations is at stake. Studies are coming out showing the efficacy of wearing face coverings and social distancing of six feet to reduce community transmission. Please look out for fellow Nevadans by practicing these safety measures.”
June 17, 2020
Nevada County saw its highest single-day case increase, with 10 new cases. County reps point to increased social gatherings and relaxed social distancing precautions.
June 12, 2020
High-risk workplaces (lodging, gyms, bars, etc.) are now allowed to reopen as of today, moving the state of California into stage three of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s reopening plan. The announcement for the reopening was made on June 5.
June 11, 2020
There have been two additional deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Washoe County, a female in her 70s and a male in his 80s — both with underlying conditions. The seven-day moving average for positive cases is about 35, the highest point yet. The previous high was 32 on April 14. The latest county numbers are listed below:
- Total COVID-19 cases: 1,893 (+61 from June 10)
- Deaths: 69 (+2)
- Recoveries: 1,207 (+32)
- Active cases: 617 (+27)
- Currently hospitalized: 71 (+1)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 153 (+4)
June 4, 2020
The state of Nevada is now allowing casinos to reopen. Read Moonshine’s piece, Phase Two in the Silver State, for more information.
Beginning Mon., June 8, Tahoe Forest Hospital is resuming outpatient lab services at its main laboratory (10121 Pine Ave.). Enhanced infection protection will be implemented for the safety of all.
June 3, 2020
Twenty-one recoveries from COVID-19 and 12 new cases have been reported in Washoe County. Total numbers are listed below:
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 1,618 (+12 from June 2)
- Deaths: 61 (+0)
- Recoveries: 1,003 (+21)
- Active cases: 554 (-9)
- Currently hospitalized: 60 (+3)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 132 (+0)
June 2, 2020
Nevada County’s number of positive COVID-19 cases increased for the first time since April 28, from 41 to 48. The six additional cases were confirmed in eastern Nevada County — five of the residents are closely connected with a common exposure; the sixth person had no symptoms. All six have been notified of their positivity and are isolating.
“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 in a press release. “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.”
May 29, 2020
Phase two guidelines for reopening the state of Nevada are now available here.
There are four new COVID-19-related deaths in Washoe County, the most reported in one day since the pandemic began:
- A male in his 60s — it is under investigation whether there were underlying health conditions
- A female in her 80s with underlying health conditions
- A female in her 80s with underlying health conditions
- A female in her 80s with underlying health conditions
The county’s total COVID-19 death count is 59. Twenty-two recoveries and 17 new cases were also reported.
May 28, 2020
Placer County’s board of supervisors voted to temporarily relax ordinances in an effort to support outdoor retail sails and dining areas during the continued COVID-19 crisis. Sign requirements and parking restrictions were also eased. As stated in a press release, the urgency ordinance provisions include:
- Outdoor retail sales – Outdoor sales would be permitted to occupy an area up to 100% of the entire indoor floor area devoted to retail sales. Up to 20% of the required parking spaces could be used as permissible outdoor sales and display areas.
- Restaurants (outdoor dining areas) – Existing restaurants may temporarily establish outdoor eating areas and increase flexibility to expand outdoor dining areas to cordoned off parking areas. Mobile food vendors would be permitted to locate fixed-site operations at a specific site through county approval.
- Restaurant parking for outdoor dining areas – Required parking for outdoor dining areas would be reduced by one parking space per 100 square feet of indoor eating area not in use as a consequence of physical distancing requirements.
- Signs (temporary sales and events) – The urgency ordinance temporarily suspends the 45-day maximum for the placement of banners, signs or decorative materials to advertise outdoor retail sales uses, grand openings and similar short-term sales events until July 10.
- Signs (prohibited signs and sign materials) – Until July, businesses may display A-frame signs, inflated and lighter- than-air signs such as blimps and balloons, air-induced signs that “wave,” and portable signs not permanently affixed to the ground or a building support structure for up to 45 days.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has released guidelines for the statewide phase two reopening, which can be found here for Washoe County.
A male in his 60s is Washoe County’s 55th COVID-19-related death. Additionally, 29 new cases and 21 recoveries were reported.
Robert Leri, superintendent chief learning officer for the Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District shared key findings from a survey released about school fall 2020. Over 1,900 responses came in. A summary of findings is available here.
A few key dates were also shared in the TTUSD update:
- The last day of school for the 2019-2020 school year is Fri., June 12, 2020.
- Eighth-grade promotions will air on Fri., June 12, at 10:00 a.m. You can view this on tahoetruckeemedia.org from a link on your school’s website.
- The virtual high school ceremony schedule is as follows (available at tahoetruckeemedia.org or on Channel 6 on Suddenlink):
- North Tahoe High School virtual ceremony: June 11 at 4:00 p.m.
- Sierra High School virtual ceremony: June 12 at 11:00 a.m.
- Truckee High School virtual ceremony: June 13 at 11:00 a.m.
- As TTUSD plans for the August (in-person) ceremonies for its seniors, safety precautions will be in alignment with the health and safety guidelines from county health officers and the California Department of Education. In the meantime, please mark your calendars for the following dates:
- Aug. 1 – Truckee High School at 11:00 a.m.
- Aug. 3 – Sierra High School at 10:00 a.m.
- Aug. 4 – North Tahoe High School at 4:00 p.m.
- The first day of school for the 2020-2021 school year is Tues., September 1, 2020.
May 27, 2020
Washoe County is reporting 26 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 recoveries. The county’s active case count is at the highest it’s ever been: 618. The latest numbers are below:
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 1,485 (+26 from May 26)
- Deaths: 54 (+0)
- Recoveries: 813 (+12)
- Active cases: 618 (+14)
- Currently hospitalized: 62 (-1)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 122 (+1)
Total number of COVID-19 tests performed in Washoe County as of May 27, 2020
- Total number of COVID-19 tests performed in Washoe County: 22,871 (+986 since May 26)
Hospital bed and ventilator information
According to the Nevada Hospital Association, in Washoe County as of May 26, 2020:
- 68% of all staffed short-term, acute-care hospital beds are occupied (+1 since May 25)
- 50% of the all Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied (+2%)
- 13% of all ventilators are in use (+1%)
May 26, 2020
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced the state of Nevada will enter stage two of its reopening on Friday, May 29. This comes in light of a 6.5% decline in state’s cumulative test positive rate for COVID-19 (aka the number of people testing positive against the total number of tests). Nevada has been in a downward trend for 31 days.
Phase two will allow public and private gatherings from no more than 10 people to no more than 50 people. Establishments allowed to reopen with capacity and sanitization guidelines in place include gyms, fitness centers, bars, taverns, salons, state offices, massage services, body art and piercing establishments, aquatic facilities, swimming pools, museums, art galleries, zoos, aquariums, movies theaters, bowling alleys, and indoor malls.
Businesses remaining closed include adult entertainment establishments, brothels, nightclubs and day clubs, and live sporting events with spectators.
Sisolak canceled his in-person press conference today in light of his own possible exposure to COVID-19.
Placer County’s board of supervisors today approved a resolution to request permission from the state to move into stage three of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s reopening plan. This resolution, unanimously approved, is similar to a proposal approved by San Diego County supervisors on May 19.
Washoe County’s active case count of those with COVID-19 is at its highest it’s ever been with 604. Fifty-four new cases were announced today alone. Of those 54, 18 are homeless individuals.
Beginning today, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that many counties across the state may reopen hair salons and barber shops.
May 25, 2020
Fifty-four deaths are now being reported out of Washoe County due to COVID-19.
May 24, 2020
Two females, one her her 40s and the other in her 70s, both with underlying health conditions, are Washoe County’s 51st and 52nd deaths due to COVID-19.
As of May 23, according to the Nevada Hospital Association, in Washoe County:
- 66% of all staffed short-term, acute-care hospital beds are occupied (-2% since May 21)
- 50% of the all Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied (-3%)
- 14% of all ventilators are in use (-1%)
May 23, 2020
One additional death, five new cases, and 17 recoveries are reported in Washoe County. The latest counts are below:
- Total COVID-19 cases: 1,361 (+5 from May 22)
- Deaths: 50 (+1)
- Recoveries: 781 (+17)
- Active cases: 530 (-14)
- Currently hospitalized: 59 (+1)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 111 (+0)
May 22, 2020
Washoe County’s 49th death related to COVID-19 has occurred, a male in his 80s with underlying health conditions.
Nevada County health officer, Dr. Ken Cutler, has issued a local order to clarify that short-term lodging facilities should continue to not operate for nonessential needs (including vacation rentals). Permissible lodging at these locations is for housing local homeless individuals or displaced populations, critical infrastructure workers, or — with stage 2 now underway, for business travel.
The order also defines short-term lodging to include campgrounds and RV parks in addition to hotels, motels, and rented homes or condos.
Washoe County is reporting 40 new cases of COVID-19, with 17 recoveries. The total number of active cases is 544.
Plexiglas has been fabricated and installed into Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit buses to add an additional level of safety (in addition to daily sanitization of buses, cordoning off seats, and providing face coverings to passengers who don’t have their own).
May 21, 2020
In its largest single-day increase in COVID-19 recoveries, Washoe County is reporting 47 recoveries and 11 new cases.
May 20, 2020
Washoe County’s latest rundown of COVID-19 case numbers is below:
- Total COVID-19 cases: 1,305 (+10 from May 19)
- Deaths: 48 (+0)
- Recoveries: 700 (+11)
- Active cases: 557 (-1)
- Currently hospitalized: 56 (+1)
- Cases who have been discharged from a hospital: 110 (+2)
Regarding county-wide testing, those showing symptoms of the disease (as well as healthcare workers, first responders, and those at long-term care facilities) should fill out this form. Testing is currently available at Walmart and Saint Mary’s.
The Centers for Disease Control has announced there is no risk of contracting the virus from the deceased at the funerals of those who have died from the disease, but the risk is increased when gatherings of people congregate.
May 19, 2020
Nevada County is reporting 41 total confirmed cases, a number that has remained static since April 28, with 40 recoveries and one death, meaning no current active cases are being reported. That county reports having tested over 2,000 individuals.
El Dorado County is reporting 67 total confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 53 recoveries and no deaths having tested over 4,500 patients. Washoe County is reporting 1,295 total positives with 689 having recovered and 48 dead. Placer County is reporting 177 confirmed cases to date, with two patients currently in the hospital and eight deceased from the virus. That county does not report recovery numbers, but currently reports having received over 8,000 negative test kit results.
May 18, 2020
There are now 48 deaths related to the novel coronavirus in Washoe County, the latest a female in her 90s with underlying health conditions. Fifteen recoveries from COVID-19 and 10 new cases were also reported.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced today that counties are now allowed to proceed with the resumption of dining in at restaurants with state approval. Additionally, it’s possible professional sports may resume in a fan-less manner in early June. These changes are in part thanks to a decrease in hospitalizations over the last two weeks, currently a -7.5% decline in hospitalizations and a -8.7% decline in the number of ICU patients statewide.
May 17, 2020
Washoe County is reporting a woman in her 90s as the latest death from COVID-19. It is reported that she had underlying health conditions. Fifty-four new cases were reported — the most ever reported in one day in the county. There were also 37 recoveries.
This increase in cases is noted by the Washoe County Health District as heavily related to a residential facility outbreak. Nearly half of the new cases are a result of the Arbors Memory Care outbreak. The increase can also be attributed to people socializing outside their homes. Per the county, “It is expected there will be an increase in cases identified as a result of more Nevadans seeking testing as directed by Gov. Sisolak.”
The latest county numbers are listed below:
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 1,256 (+54 from May 16)
- Deaths: 47 (+1)
- Recoveries: 657 (+37)
- Active cases: 552 (+16)
- Currently hospitalized: 55 (-6)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 106 (+5)
- Total number of COVID-19 tests performed in Washoe County: 15,728 (+366 from May 15)
May 15, 2020
The Washoe County Regional Shooting Facility opens today with modified operations, including those listed below:
- Face coverings are required of all visitors and staff at the point of sale in the office.
- Members of the public are asked to remain in their vehicle until asked to approach the office.
- There will be no access to the classroom area for members of the public.
- The range is limited to 50% capacity, with every other shooting bench open (the benches will be disinfected between each use).
- Ear and eye protection is required for each member of the public, and rentals are not available; people must bring their own.
A female in her 60s is Washoe County’s 46th COVID-19 death. Thirty-six new cases were reported, and nine recoveries.
The county health district, in coordination with the University of Nevada, Reno, is studying the prevalence of COVID-19 in the county. Residents will be selected at random to participate, and the information gained will provide a statistically significant dataset that will help experts determine how many residents had the disease. Results are expected to be published in late June or early July.
The Town of Truckee has released a video providing information for Truckee businesses as the town moves into stage two of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s reopening plan. Police Chief Rob Leftwich and community development director Denyelle Nishimori discuss what expectations are coming in the next few weeks.
In the video, Nishimori explains the town is suspending some regulations for outdoor businesses activities through July 31. Visit this site for basic guidelines.
For additional stage two information from the California Department of Public Health, click here.
May 14, 2020
Washoe County reports two additional COVID-19-related deaths: a male in his 50s and a male in his 70s, both with underlying health conditions. This brings the total number of county deaths related to the disease to 45. The total number of COVID-19 tests performed in Washoe is now 14,935 (including residents and nonresidents).
As of today, all Washoe County parks, trails, and open spaces remain open. Since May 9, all park restrooms and trash services have reopened, and on May 1, the Washoe Golf Course and Sierra Sage Course were opened for play, plus tennis and pickleball courts. Visitors must, however, continue to follow social distancing practices by maintaining a 6-foot distance from nonhousehold parties and limiting group gatherings of 10 or more people.
The following park amenities, activities, and programs remain closed until further notice:
- Group picnic areas
- Playground structures
- Parcourses/calisthenics equipment
- All field use permits and organized sports
- All indoor recreation at THE HIVE at Lazy 5 Regional Park, including open gym for pickleball and basketball
- All contract classes
- All drinking fountains
- The Congregated Meal programs at Cold Springs Park and Lazy 5 Regional Park
The following park facilities will remain closed until further notice:
- All aquatic facilities including splash parks and the Bowers Mansion Pool
- The Davis Creek Campground
- The Wilbur D. May Museum at Rancho San Rafael Park
- The Galena Creek Visitor Center at Galena Creek Regional Park
- The HIVE at Lazy 5 Regional Park
- All park offices
May 13, 2020
There are three new COVID-19-related deaths in Washoe County:
- A male in his 70s with underlying health conditions
- A male in his 70s; it is under investigation if there were underlying health conditions
- A male in his 50s with underlying health conditions
There are now 43 deaths due to the disease in the county. There were also 23 recoveries and 16 new cases.
The Tahoe Forest Health System has announced that all hospital facilities, clinics, and outpatient services in Truckee, Incline Village, and Tahoe City are safe and open. Patients are screened upon arrival and are required to wear masks and practice social distancing.
May 12, 2020
Like Placer, Nevada County has also been approved by the California Department of Public Health to continue into stage two of reopening. See immediately below for more information on what this means.
The California Department of Public Health has granted Placer County the green light to move further into stage two of the state’s roadmap to modifying the “stay-at-home” order. This means business sectors — including shopping centers and all in-store retail, will be allowed to resume operations once they’ve implemented appropriate reopening guidance. Bars, breweries, and wineries are not permitted to reopen beyond takeout and delivery unless they provide in-house dining.
Office-based businesses are allowed to reopen, but telework is advised.
Washoe County announced a man in his 40s with no underlying health conditions has passed from COVID-19. He is the county’s 40th death. For the first time, Washoe’s recovery case number (539) is higher than active case counts (537).
Two Walmart locations (5260 W. Seventh St. and 155 Damonte Ranch Pkwy.) in Reno will begin offering COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites in their parking lots beginning Fri., May 15. Quest Diagnostics is supporting the sites in addition to Walmart. Adults who meet CDC, state, and local guidelines on who can be tested will be allowed. The sites will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Appointments must be made in advance through Quest’s MyQuest online portal and app, myquestCOVIDtest.com. For more information, call Quest’s COVID-19 line at (866) 448-7719.
Dr. Aimee Sisson, health officer and public health director for Placer County, submitted a COVID-19 county variance attestation form last night, including letters from county supervisors. In the form, Sisson mentioned the county’s epidemiologic stability, protection of essential workers, adequate testing and containment capacity, hospital capacity, support for vulnerable populations, and requirements for stage two timelines.
“I’m pleased that we’re eligible to enter this new phase of reopening,” said Sisson in the press release. “Our community has made progress in flattening the curve, and public health has made progress in building out our own infrastructure to support reopening. I have full confidence that our local businesses will protect the health of employees and customers by following the guidance for safely reopening.”
May 11, 2020
Nevada County’s attestation of readiness to move further into stage two of the statewide reopening received a positive response from the California Department of Public Health. The state is expected to provide approval of the county’s readiness plan in 24 to 48 hours.
Washoe County announced 32 recoveries of patients with COVID-19, and five new cases.
May 10, 2020
With curbside retail reopening on May 8, Nevada County hopes to expand that list on May 12, including the following:
Destination retail, including shopping malls and swap meets
- Personal services, limited to: car washes, pet grooming, tanning facilities, and landscape gardening
- Office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged)
- Dine-in restaurants (other facility amenities, like bars or gaming areas, are not permitted)
- Schools and childcare facilities
- Outdoor museums and open gallery spaces
Businesses not able to reopen as part of Stage 2 include:
- Gyms and fitness studios
- Hair and nail salons
- Tattoo parlors
- Community facilities, libraries, public pools, playgrounds, and picnic areas
- Churches, religious services, and cultural ceremonies
- Hospitality services, such as bars and lounges
- Entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, gaming facilities, and pro sports
- Indoor museums, kids museums and gallery spaces, zoos
- Concert venues
- Theme parks
- Hotels/lodging for leisure and tourism
Eighteen new cases of COVID-19 and 15 recoveries were announced in Washoe County.
May 9, 2020
Nevada County is poised to reopen more businesses through stage two of California’s lifting of the stay-at-home order. This comes as the county has seen a decline in new COVID-19 cases, and has expanded capacity to be able to handle new outbreaks. The county released readiness criteria to allow movement through stage two:
Required Step Steps to Reopen Stage 2 Businesses | Estimated Date of Completion
Step 1: Readiness plan according to the state’s eight criteria as released on May 7 has been completed and is being reviewed by public health officials | Sun., May 10
Step 2: Nevada County public health director and health officer have required phone meeting with California Department of Public Health | Mon., May 11
Step 3: Incorporate State’s feedback into final plan | Mon., May 11
Step 4: Obtain letters of support from the hospitals | Mon., May 11
Step 5: Emergency meeting of board of supervisors to approve letter of support from the board | Mon., May 11
Step 6: Submit final Plan and letters of support to the state | Mon., May 11
Step 7: Re-opening of all Stage 2 businesses in Nevada County | Tues., May 12 (pending state approval)
*One caveat to our readiness, is that one metric any county needs to meet in order to attest to readiness to open stage two businesses is no more than one COVID-19 case per 10,000 residents. Testing for COVID-19 has increased substantially since the new testing clinic opened in Grass Valley on Tuesday, and if there is a dramatic increase in laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19, there is a possibility we will not meet this metric thereby disallowing Nevada County to attest.
Sixteen recoveries and 12 new Washoe County cases were announced. The latest numbers are listed below:
- Total COVID-19 cases: 1,077 (+12 from May 8)
- Deaths: 39 (+0)
- Recoveries: 482 (+16)
- Active cases: 556 (-4)
- Currently hospitalized: 42 (-1)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 94 (+2)
May 8, 2020
A woman in her 70s with underlying health conditions has been announced as Washoe County’s 39th death. Thirty-five new cases were also announced, as well as 10 recoveries. As of May 7, 12,472 tests have been performed in the county.
Washoe County phase one guidance for reopening the area was announced in alignment with Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak’s statewide plan. The seven industries now permissible to reopen with guidelines in place are:
- Restaurants and food trucks
- Barber shops
- Hair salons and nail salons
- Consumer and retail
- General office environments
- Real estate & property leasing
- Farmer’s markets
- Alcohol guideline
A breakdown of business guidelines for each of these industries is available here.
Dr. Ken Cutler, Nevada County’s health officer, has rescinded the county’s “stay-at-home” order, and is now directing businesses to abide by the statewide mandate.
May 7, 2020
Jeffrey Hentz, CEO of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, sent a formal letter to Dr. Aimee Sisson, health officer and public health director for Placer County, explaining protocols and safety guidelines to put in place for North Lake Tahoe businesses to reopen.
Access to Sand Harbor State Park from Tahoe’s East Shore Trail is closed effective May 8 in an effort to prevent visitation surges during the COVID-19 crisis. Specifically, the trail section between Memorial Point and Sand Harbor will be closed. Sand Harbor State Park and the Tunnel Creek to Memorial Point segment will remain open.
Placer County’s board of supervisors approved two ordinances in response to COVID-19. Firstly, to delay the annual adjustment of impact fees from July to October of this year. Second, to suspend penalties and interest on an interim basis for unpaid transient occupancy taxes due in the first quarter of this calendar year. Suspension is through July 31.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced the state is on track with its reopening criteria, and that phase one will begin Saturday, May 9. Those able to open with guidelines in place to keep people safe and separate include restaurants, barber shops, nail salons, and retail businesses.
The full Roadmap to Recovery for Nevada outlines guidance for phase one and is available here.
Tahoe National Forest announced an extension of the closure of all developed recreation sites in place through May 15 or until rescinded. This decision is in compliance with a regional closure order. Not included in the closure are trails, trailheads, specific picnic areas, boat launches, and staging areas functioning as trailheads.
The 38th death due to COVID-19 has taken place in Washoe County, a male in his 70s with underlying health conditions. The county’s latest numbers are listed below:
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 1,030 (+8 from May 6)
- Deaths: 38 (+1)
- Recoveries: 431 (+25)
- Active cases: 536 (-18)
- Currently hospitalized: 47 (-12)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 86 (+12)
Hospital bed and ventilator information
- 62% of short-term, acute-care hospital beds are occupied (+2% since May 5)
- 35% of the Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied (-3%)
- 19% of ventilators are in use (+3%)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s movement into phase two of the reopening plan, and said detailed guidelines will be released next Tuesday. Initially, retailers (including bookstores, clothing stores, florists, and sporting goods stores), manufacturers, and warehouses are welcome to reopen with guidelines in place; later in phase two will be offices, seated dining, shopping malls, and outdoor museums.
Newsom promoted the transition from essential versus nonessential to simply “lower risk.”
Nevada County’s health officer, Dr. Ken Cutler, begins a weekly series talking about the novel coronavirus efforts. In this first episode, he discusses testing opportunities and sites, contact tracing, and what California’s stage two transition will look like. View the full video here.
May 6, 2020
Washoe County’s 37th death due to COVID-19 has happened: a man in his 70s with underlying conditions.
The county’s COVID-19 Incident Management Team is working to distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) to over 100 local agencies, including the following: Incline Community Hospital, REMSA, Renown Health, the cities of Reno and Sparks, Saint Mary’s, Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue, University of Nevada, Reno, Washoe County, and the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.
May 5, 2020
Washoe County is investigating whether the latest death of a patient due to COVID-19 is in part due to underlying health conditions. The patient was a woman in her 90s and is the county’s 36th death related to the disease.
Washoe has surpassed 1,000 total cases of COVID-19 — the latest numbers are listed below:
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 1,014 (+28 from May 4)
- Deaths: 36 (+1)
- Recoveries: 415 (+15)
- Active cases: 563 (+9)
- Currently hospitalized: 56 (+1)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 73 (+1)
Hospital bed and ventilator information
- 56% of short-term, acute-care hospital beds are occupied (-1% since May 3)
- 43% of the Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied (-11%)
- 22% of ventilators are in use (+5%)
Regarding antibody testing in Nevada, the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory is implementing a plan for such testing, and will begin shortly to gather critical data needed before the tests are widely available for clinical use.
May 4, 2020
(May the Fourth be with you.)
Per the statewide transition into stage 2 of the “stay-at-home” order, Nevada County is prepared to follow the governor’s guidelines. Said health and human services director Ryan Gruver in a press release:
“Nevada County has the groundwork in place to be able to quickly respond to modifications in the state order with a thoughtful, phased approach. 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.”
Washoe’s 35th death due to COVID-19 is a man in his 80s with underlying conditions.
Annual Fourth of July celebrations in the Truckee/North Tahoe region have been canceled, per regional officials. The cancellation includes the Donner Lake, Truckee, and North Shore fireworks shows, the Fourth of July parade, and Concerts at Commons in Tahoe City and Kings Beach through the Fourth. Events later in the summer are still being planned for.
A female in her 90s with underlying health conditions is Washoe County’s 34th COVID-19 death. In more positive news, the county has reached 400 recoveries from the novel coronavirus.
With the Cinco de Mayo holiday tomorrow, the county requests residents to safely celebrate and limit large gatherings to prevent transmission of COVID-19. This is particularly prudent after active cases reached their highest point last due to large Easter holiday gatherings.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state will begin moving into stage 2 of the “stay-at-home” order modification beginning Friday, May 8. Guidelines about this transition will be released on Thurs., May 7 by Newsom.
OptumServe, the federal government health services business of Optum, a leading health services innovation company, provided clarifying information for new local COVID-19 testing sites in Grass Valley and Kings Beach:
If you fit the testing criteria and are interested in getting a test, it’s important to know that tests are by appointment only. Appointments can be made by calling 1-888-634-1123 or visiting lhi.care/covidtesting. Please note that phone registration will only be used for people without internet access.
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.
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.
- Western Nevada County: New COVID-19 testing sites are accepting appointments and will open on Tues., 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 Mon., 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.
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.
May 3, 2020
Washoe County is reporting 19 recoveries of patients with COVID-19, and 28 new cases. Total active cases county-wide is 562.
May 2, 2020
Twenty-eight new COVID-19 cases are reported in Washoe County, and 20 recoveries.
For employers beginning to reopen, the Washoe County Health District has guidance: an FAQ for general COVID-19 questions (like preventative measures businesses can adopt), as well as a Guidance for Employers – COVID-19 in the Workplace.
May 1, 2020
A male in his 70s with underlying health conditions became Washoe County’s 33rd COVID-19-related death.
Washoe County reported its 31st and 32nd COVID-19 deaths, a woman in her 60s and a woman in her 40s. Additionally, 48 new cases were reported, the highest single-day jump so far. The latest numbers are below:
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 921 (+48 from April 30)
- Deaths: 32 (+2)
- Recoveries: 343 (+11)
- Active cases: 546 (+35)
- Currently hospitalized: 43 (+0)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 66 (+0)
In Washoe County as of April 29, 2020:
- 60% of short-term, acute-care hospital beds are occupied (+4% since April 28)
- 49% of the Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied (+4%)
- 21% of ventilators are in use (+1%)
April 30, 2020
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced his plan for the state to slowly transition away from the stay-at-home order. He stated in a press conference that Nevada peaked on April 24, and currently has capacity to test all symptomatic people at this time. Capacity for the asymptomatic is being built up currently.
Phase one, the next step to transition into will not allow social events nor public gathers of more than 10 people. Some small businesses and public spaces will be open, with guidelines. Restaurants will be gradually reopened, also with strict guidelines.
Locations such as bars, nightclubs, malls, large places of worship, and sporting events will not be opened in this first phase, and gaming won’t open at the start of the phase, though it may be transitioned into.
Phase one will ideally begin on or before May 15, and will last two to three weeks.
The North Tahoe Public Utility District board of directors recently adopted a COVID-19 Rate Relief Credit Program to assist North Tahoe Public Utility District residents and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program offers a one-time account credit to impacted customers, who will be credited on a first-come, first-served basis, and receive a one-time credit applied to their account equal to one month of the fixed portion of their monthly water and/or sewer utility bill (base charges, system replacement, and state and federal mandate fees). Visit ntpud.org/covid for more information.
Twenty-five new COVID-19 cases have been announced in Washoe County, as well as 11 recoveries. The total number of active cases is 511, with 332 recoveries in all.
Saint Mary’s Urgent Care Clinic is now offering drive-thru testing for those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. The site is at 6255 Sharlands Avenue, and can provide up to 200 tests per day.
As of April 25, healthcare workers made up 16.7% of Washoe County’s total case count.
Nevada County is launching a new COVID-19 testing site in Grass Valley, in alignment with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement to add 80 community testing sites across the state. The North Tahoe area will be served by a new site in Kings Beach, which both Nevada and Placer counties collaborated on.
Both sites are scheduled to open the week of May 4, and 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.
April 29, 2020
The Truckee Donner Recreation & Park District announced the opening of some of its currently closed facilities, per the April 27 Nevada County health officer order, which allows people to travel to local locations for recreation. Effective May 1, the following facilities will open:
- Regional Park – Tennis Courts, Disc Golf, Rodeo Arena
- Fields and grass areas may be utilized by immediate families/households
- (Group gatherings and organized games are strictly prohibited)
- Donner Lake Public Piers – for immediate families and households
- Donner Lake Boat Launching Facility – the facility will begin being staffed on May 8, 2020
- Shoreline Park at Donner Lake – open only for small boat launching
- Meadow Park – Fields and grass areas may be utilized by immediate families/households
- (Group gatherings and organized games are strictly prohibited)
- Riverview Sports Park – Fields and grass areas may be utilized by immediate families/households
- (Group gatherings and organized games are strictly prohibited)
- Bocce ball courts – for immediate family/households
- Ponderosa Golf Course – Go to ponderosagolfcoursetruckee.com for safety guidelines and to make a reservation
- Tee times are required to be made online and paid with a credit or debit card
- Golfers are not to touch or remove flagsticks
- No riding carts will be rented. Pull carts will be available for rental
- Putting greens and practice and hitting nets are closed
Bathroom facilities will be open and cleaned on a daily basis and TDRPD asks that you please practice safety measures when using bathrooms.
The following facilities of TDRPD will remain closed to the public until further notice:
- All playgrounds throughout the district
- All picnic areas throughout the district
- West End Beach at Donner Lake
- Truckee skatepark
- Truckee bike park at Riverview Sports Park
- Truckee amphitheater at Regional Park
- Community recreation center
- Community art center
- Community swimming pool
- Veterans building
The Town of Truckee announced residential rental relief funds available to those experiencing financial impacts during the COVID-19 crisis. This one-month program is geared for those who have lost their jobs or have suffered a reduction in wages during the pandemic. The online application, available here, is first-come, first-served and has limited funds. The application process requires that tenants provide a copy of their rental or lease agreement.
Placer County announced that as of May 2, its local health order will expire and California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order will be the main guidance during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Per the press release, “this transition will allow a focus on planning for a phased reopening in partnership with local governments, health care, business and other stakeholders, as well as regional and state partners.”
A man in his 70s with underlying conditions was announced as Washoe County’s 30th COVID-19-related death. A round-up of the latest county counts are below:
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 848 (+14 from April 28)
- Deaths: 30 (+1)
- Recoveries: 321 (+24)
- Active cases: 497 (-11)
- Currently hospitalized: 37 (+0)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 64 (+1)
Additionally, Washoe County residents who have had and recovered from the coronavirus are encouraged to donate plasma. The company Vitalant is collecting this plasma and its immune-boosting antibodies. Visit the Vitalant website to see eligibility requirements.
April 28, 2020
Washoe County noted its 29th death from COVID-19, a woman in her 40s with underlying health conditions.
Tahoe Forest Health Systems encourages people to continue to seek treatment during the COVID-19 crisis. In a press release, the hospital system stated the following:
“It is safe and important to come to Tahoe Forest Health System Emergency Departments in Truckee and Incline Village with symptoms like chest pain or evidence of stroke, trauma or severe injuries. These conditions require immediate medical attention and should not be delayed.
We are screening patients at the front door for COVID-19. We are separating patients appropriately into our COVID secured area. Those suspected to have the virus are placed in closed rooms in a separate area of the emergency department.
Patients also receive masks and maintain appropriate social distancing. Staff are also wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.”
Washoe County’s Regional Information Center is reporting 19 additional recoveries of patients with COVID-19, 14 additional positive cases, and an overall decrease of active cases. Total number of COVID-19 tests in Washoe County: 9,624 (+151 from April 27).
April 27, 2020
Nevada County’s public health officer, Dr. Ken Cutler, has modified the stay-at-home order as the county moves gradually into its reopening phase.
“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 Cutler in a press release. “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.”
Washoe County has reported its 28th COVID-19-related death, a male in his 50s with underlying health conditions.
April 26, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control added new symptoms officially recognized as a result of the novel coronavirus. In addition to a fever, cough, and shortness of breath are the following:
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
Twenty-one recoveries from COVID-19 were announced in Washoe County, with 13 new cases. The latest numbers are below:
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 804 (+13 from April 25)
- Deaths: 27 (+0)
- Recoveries: 265 (+21)
- Active cases: 512 (-8)
- Currently hospitalized: 40 (-3)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 59 (+6)
Hospital bed and ventilator information
- 57% of short-term, acute-care hospital beds are occupied (-2% since April 24)
- 51% of the Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied (+1%)
- 22% of ventilators are in use (+1%)
April 25, 2020
The Washoe County Regional Information Team is reporting two additional deaths of patients with COVID-19, a male in his 50s and a male in his 80s, both with underlying health conditions. The county’s total death number is 27. Thirty-six new cases were also announced.
April 24, 2020
A Washoe County female in her 70s has died from COVID-19. The county reported she had underlying health conditions. This raises the death count to 25.
Two additional COVID-19-related deaths have been reported in Washoe County, a female in her 90s and a male in his teens — both with underlying conditions. The total number of deaths is now 24. There are 19 new cases and 17 recoveries.
Race and ethnicity breakdowns are now included on the Washoe County COVID-19 dashboard.
April 23, 2020
For the first time, Washoe County is seeing a decrease in active cases of COVID-19, from 494 to 490. The county also announced a record-breaking number of recoveries in a single day, at 29.
The death of a woman in her 100s was reported in relation to the disease, bringing the county death total to 22. Other counts are listed below:
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 736 (+26 from April 22)
- Deaths: 22 (+1)
- Recoveries: 224 (+29)
- Active cases: 490 (-4)
- Currently hospitalized: 42 (+2)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 49 (+6)
Hospital bed and ventilator information
- 60% of short-term, acute-care hospital beds are occupied (+3% since April 20)
- 54%t of the Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied (+1%)
- 27% of ventilators are in use (+3%)
The county will soon add race and ethnicity breakdowns of the novel coronavirus cases to its dashboard. In the meantime, here are the latest numbers:
- American Indian/Alaska Native: 5 (1%)
- Asian: 14 (3%)
- Black: 8 (2%)
- Declined to answer: 1 (0.2%)
- Hispanic: 203 (48%)
- Multiple: 1 (0.2%)
- Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander: 2 (0.4%)
- White: 189 (45%)
April 22, 2020
Washoe County’s 21st death due to the novel coronavirus was announced, a male in his 90s with underlying health conditions.
Two additional people in Washoe County have died due to COVID-19, a man in his 80s, and a man in his 70s — both with underlying conditions. The county now has 20 deaths associated with the disease. Twenty-six new cases were also reported, moving the total count to 710. Twenty people were announced to have recovered today.
As of April 21, 8,152 COVID-19 tests have been performed in the county. That number may include non-Washoe residents.
April 21, 2020
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announces the continuance of distance learning statewide through the end of the school year.
Those visiting the Washoe County COVID-19 dashboard can view the number of cases in each zip code. Stated the county press release: “Residents should keep in mind that the data does not represent where residents contracted COVID-19, but rather where they are self-isolating. COVID-19 is spreading throughout our community. Just because one ZIP code might have more cases, that doesn’t mean it is a ‘hot spot.’”
Washoe County, in its daily COVID-19 update, is reporting 22 new cases and nine recoveries from the disease. It’s total active case count is at 291; recoveries, 175; and deaths, 18 (no new deaths reported today).
The county has tested a total of 7,835 people, including both residents and nonresidents. The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory has completed 4,755 COVID-19 tests for individuals in the county as of April 17.
April 20, 2020
Placer County is currently reporting 132 laboratory confirmed cases of COVID-19, with eight total deaths, seven of which were aged 65+ with one in the 50-64 age range. Nevada County is reporting 38 positive cases and one death and El Dorado County is reporting 38 confirmed cases with no deaths, stating that 31 of that county’s cases have recovered. (Detailed numbers released today by Washoe County today below.)
Nevada County announces a new partnership and COVID-19 symptom tracking tool with Connecting Point, dubbed the “Nevada County COVID-19 Community Data Project.” The tool will allow people to self-report symptoms and access a dashboard to view the data that is submitted. There are two options for those experiencing symptoms related to the coronavirus (like headache, fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms):
- Online: Fill out the “Community Symptoms Report” survey (one form should be filled out for each member of the household or family who is experiencing symptoms).
- Over the phone: If there’s limited or no access to the internet, call 211 (or 1-833-DIAL211) and the call agent can complete the form on your behalf.
This crowd-sourced data can be accessed by the community at 211connectingpoint.org/covid-19/project.
Washoe County reports 25 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 recoveries. Additional updates from that county below:
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 662 (+25 from April 19)
- Deaths: 18 (+0)
- Recoveries: 166 (+15)
- Active cases: 477 (+9)
- Currently hospitalized: 43 (-1)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 37 (+4)
Hospital bed and ventilator information in Washoe County as of April 19:
- 55% of short-term, acute-care hospital beds are occupied (+1% since April 16)
- 56% of the Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied (+7%)
- 24% of ventilators are in use (-4%)
April 19, 2020
A male in his 60s and a female, also in her 60s, have died due to COVID-19 in Washoe County. The two had underlying health conditions. This brings the county’s total deaths to 18. Additional numbers are below:
In addition, 31 additional positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the county and 17 recoveries.
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 637 (+31 from April 18)
- Deaths: 18 (+2)
- Recoveries: 151 (+17)
- Active cases: 468 (+12)
- Currently hospitalized: 44 (+4)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 33 (+2)
April 18, 2020
A total of 606 residents in Washoe County have contracted COVID-19 (456 of which are active); 18 alone were reported today, along with 15 recoveries.
April 16, 2020
An amendment to Placer County’s COVID-19 order from the public health office has been issued “to allow some outdoor businesses and activities to resume and outdoor spaces to reopen under specific safety criteria provided by public health.”
Updates include re-allowing the use of dog parks if seating areas are closed, hand sanitizer is available, and users bring their own water and waste bags; and the use of golf courses, outdoor shooting and archery rangers, disc golf courses, and sport courts if used by parties of the same household and/or physical distancing is maintained.
The amendment also includes updates for service providers such as landscaping workers and real estate agents.
- Regarding landscaping: Physical distancing must be practiced during the service, and equipment must be cleaned between use by different parties. Crew members not of the same household should not travel together. Originally, the order required landscape services only to maintain habitability, and routine maintenance such as lawn mowing did not qualify. That is now overturned as long as the aforementioned methods take place.
- Real estate: If virtual viewings for a prospective resident are not possible, viewings may take place live with no more than two visitors from the same household and the person showing the unit, which must be vacant OR (and here’s the change) “the occupant has provided express written consent for the showing, and aside from walking no surfaces are touched during the showing.”
Washoe County’s alternative care site project at the Reno Sparks Convention Center has been put on hold based on local trends regarding COVID-19 spread. The COVID-19 Washoe Incident Management Team is working with the Army Corps of Engineers to design and convert 381,000 square feet at the convention center to a care site of up to 700 beds for patients with a broad spectrum of conditions, from non-acute to critical care. If the site is needed, the project can be implemented with a two-day mobilization and seven-day build.
Washoe County’s current hospital capacity is hovering around 54% of its short-term, acute-care hospital beds. Renown Health has its own care facility in its parking structure, with 700 beds and space for an additional 700 if needed.
A woman in her 80s with underlying health conditions is reported as Washoe County’s 15th COVID-19 death. See below for latest counts, per the county update:
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 572 (+23 from April 15)
- Deaths: 15 (+1)
- Recoveries: 115 (+12)
- Active cases: 442 (+10)
- Currently hospitalized: 38 (+6)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 33* (+0)
*A miscalculation was provided in previous reports and the number has been reduced.
Hospital bed and ventilator occupancy information in Washoe County as of April 14, 2020 (same as April 15 report)
- 54% of short-term, acute-care hospital beds are occupied (+1% since April 13)
- 49% of the Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied (+6%)
- 23% of ventilators are in use (+1%)
April 15, 2020
Nevada County’s public health officer, Dr. Ken Cutler, has issued an updated and clarifying stay-at-home order for county residents that complements statewide mandates.
“Although it is somewhat reassuring that we’ve witnessed a slowing of newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases in Nevada County, with only limited testing available statewide and in Nevada County, we still don’t know exactly how widespread this disease is in our community,” said Cutler. “It’s important that we don’t let down our guard and continue to follow the stay-at-home order. We have received many questions and concerns about the implementation of a statewide order locally. It is our hope that this new order provides further clarification and guidance to everyone working to do the right thing.”
The updated order requires county residents to stay home except for essential needs, including trips to the grocery stores or essential work. Six feet of physical distancing is also still strongly recommended in outdoor spaces.
A breakdown of essential activities and services, as well as what is deemed nonessential, can be found on the county website: mynevadacounty.com/2924/Coronavirus
Placer County’s Air Pollution Control District is placing temporary limit burn hours for residential outdoor burning beginning Monday, April 20. The press release noted that “the goal of this restriction is to help reduce potential smoke impacts, and thus avoid exacerbating symptoms for those who may be sick with or vulnerable to COVID-19 … while balancing the need for continued residential burning ahead of the upcoming 2020 wildfire season.” Burn hours are restricted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on designated burn days.
Washoe County’s Regional Information Center reported the county’s 14th COVID-19-related death, a man in his 70s. Whether or not he had an underlying health condition is being investigated.
Washoe County surpassed 100 recoveries and sits at 103. Latest numbers are below:
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 549 (+17 from April 14)
- Deaths: 14 (+1)
- Recoveries: 103 (+11)
- Active cases: 432 (+5)
- Currently hospitalized: 32 (-2)
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 41 (+0)
Hospital bed and ventilator occupancy information in Washoe County as of April 14.
- 54% of short-term, acute-care hospital beds are occupied (+1% since April 13)
- 49% of the intensive care unit beds are occupied (+6%)
- 23% of ventilators are in use (+1%)
April 14, 2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined six key indicators that will guide the state’s modification and dismissal of the stay-at-home order.
- The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting those who are positive or exposed;
- The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19;
- The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges;
- The ability to develop therapeutics to meet the demand;
- The ability for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing; and
- The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, such as the stay-at-home orders, if necessary.
Washoe County is reporting the following totals related to the coronavirus, which include a new death (a woman in her 50s with underlying health conditions):
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 532
- Deaths: 13
- Recoveries: 92
- Active cases: 427
- Currently hospitalized: 34
- Cases who have discharged from hospital: 41
Additionally, hospital bed and ventilator information was shared:
- 53% of short-term, acute-care hospital beds are occupied (53% on April 13)
- 43% of the Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied (51% on April 13)
- 22% of ventilators are in use (20% on April 13)
April 13, 2020
California, Washington, and Oregon announced a shared agreement, a Western States Pact, for reopening each state’s economies as COVID-19 is controlled into the future. Three guiding principles were mentioned during the announcement: residents’ health comes first, health outcomes and science (not politics) will guide decisions, and the states need to work together to be most effective.
Public health leaders in each state will focus on four goals, as stated in California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s press release:
- Protecting vulnerable populations at risk for severe disease if infected. This includes a concerted effort to prevent and fight outbreaks in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
- Ensuring an ability to care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This will require adequate hospital surge capacity and supplies of personal protective equipment.
- Mitigating the non-direct COVID-19 health impacts, particularly on disadvantaged communities.
- Protecting the general public by ensuring any successful lifting of interventions includes the development of a system for testing, tracking and isolating. The states will work together to share best practices.
Nevada County’s public health officer is recommending people to wear cloth face coverings when in public spaces. This recommendation is in addition to continued handwashing and social distancing efforts.
Washoe County has reached its 500-positive-COVID-19-cases milestone, 417 of which are active. The county reported the following information:
Hospital bed and ventilator occupancy information as of April 12, 2020.
- 53% of short-term, acute-care hospital beds are occupied
- 51% of the Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied
- 20% of ventilators are in use
April 12, 2020
A man in his 90s has become Washoe County’s 12th victim of COVID-19. Forty-six positive cases and two recoveries were also announced. The county’s incident management team collected 280 samples from residents through its COVID0-19 drive-thru testing site on April 11. The samples were sent to the Nevada State Public Health Lab for testing.
April 11, 2020
The North Tahoe Public Utility District announces the closure of the North Tahoe Regional Park, Tahoe Vista Recreation Area, and the Kings Beach Little League Field.
An 11th person in Washoe County has passed away due to COVID-19. The deceased was a female in her 90s, and she had an underlying health condition. The county’s total counts are as follows:
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 415
- Deaths: 11
- Recoveries: 59
- Active cases: 345
- Currently hospitalized: 32
Washoe’s COVID-19 Incident Management Team is distributing personal protective equipment to local hospitals, and did so again yesterday, April 10. Fifteen ventilators were also deployed, with more to come.
April 10, 2020
A new order has been issued by Placer County health officer Dr. Aimee Sisson, clarifying, strengthening, and extending the previous directive meant to slow transmission of COVID-19. The order (which is available here in full), is in effect through May 1 and complements the statewide order. The county’s press release stated the following:
“Where a conflict exists between this order and any state public health order related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the most restrictive provision applies.
Like the previous directive, the new order requires people to stay at home except for doing essential activities. Nonessential businesses will remain closed. The new order adds some clarifying language around essential business and activities including:
- Essential businesses that continue to operate facilities must scale down operations to their essential component only.
- Clarity on essential components of businesses such as automotive dealerships, realtors, and other service providers are detailed in the order.
- Essential businesses may only assign an employee to work outside the home if the employee cannot perform their job duties from home.
- Essential businesses are expanded to include service providers that enable residential transactions (notaries, title companies, etc.); funeral homes and cemeteries; moving companies, rental car companies and rideshare services that specifically enable essential activities.
- Essential businesses must develop a physical distancing protocol by the end of day April 13, for which a template is provided.
- Use of recreational areas with high-touch equipment or that encourage gathering is prohibited. This includes playgrounds, dog parks, picnic areas, and similar recreational areas. These areas must be closed to public use.
- Use of shared public recreational facilities such as golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, pools, and rock walls is prohibited. These facilities must be closed for recreational use.
- Sports requiring people to share a ball or other equipment must be limited to people in the same household.
- Funerals are limited to no more than 10 people attending.
- Moving residences is permitted, but only if it is not possible to defer an already planned move, the move is necessary for health and safety reasons, or the move is necessary to remain housed or retain employment.
- The definition of essential travel is clarified to include travel for parental custody arrangements, travel to avoid domestic violence or child abuse/neglect, travel to manage after-death arrangements and burial as well as other situations.”
Washoe County’s health district is now directing owners of short-term rentals to “inform people who travel from out of state into Washoe County and occupy short-term rentals that they must self-quarantine for 14 days and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
“This means they should not leave the property unless there is an emergency, in order to prevent spread of COVID-19. When the 14 days has passed, occupants should only go out for essential needs and are subject to the Governor’s directive to stay at home and cover their faces when they do go out to prevent the spread of disease.”
Washoe County reports that while parks and open space remains open, all playgrounds, basketball courts, volleyball courts, baseball fields, football/soccer fields, beaches, golf courses and driving ranges, skate parks, bocce ball courts, handball courts, horseshoes pits, pickleball courts, restrooms, and other amenities are closed until further notice.
While no new deaths have been reported today, 26 new cases and three recoveries have been noted by Washoe County officials. As of April 8, hospital bed and ventilator capacity are listed below:
- 58% of short-term, acute-care hospital beds are occupied
- 48% of the Intensive Care Unit beds are occupied
- 28% of ventilators are in use
April 9, 2020
Washoe County’s regional information center has announced two more COVID-19 related deaths: a female in her 60s with an underlying health condition and a male in his 50s with underlying health conditions. Additionally, 37 new cases have been reported, and three recoveries.
April 8, 2020
An eighth person in Washoe County has now died due to COVID-19, a male in his 70s with underlying health conditions.
A seventh person has passed away due to COVID-19 in Washoe County. This person was a woman in her 80s. It is being determined whether or not she had underlying health conditions.
Washoe County announced its sixth death of a COVID-19-infected patient, a woman in her 60s with underlying health conditions. Seventeen additional cases were also shared, with Washoe’s total count of active cases at 285.
April 7, 2020
A fifth resident of Washoe County has died from COVID-19, a woman in her 50s. Whether or not she had underlying conditions is being investigated.
Twenty-eight additional cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Washoe County, as well as one recovery. Active cases in the county stand at 274.
Nevada County has issued two new related orders on self-isolation and self-quarantine in response to COVID-19, per public health officer Dr. Ken Cutler.
The first order covers self-isolation for individuals diagnosed with or likely to have COVID-19 within 14 days. Diagnoses can be made by a physician or laboratory confirmation. The second order demands self-quarantine of anyone exposed to an individual diagnosed with the disease.
More information can be found on the Nevada County website.
April 6, 2020
As of today, Nevada County is reporting one new confirmed positive COVID-19 case, bringing the county’s total to 32 cases and one death.
Washoe County reported 17 additional positive tests for COVID-19, plus another person deemed recovered. This brings that county’s total to 247 active cases, 30 recoveries, and four deaths (so a total of 281 cases throughout the outbreak). Twenty-one Washoe County residents have been hospitalized for COVID-19 thus far.
April 5, 2020
The Regional Information Center for Washoe County is reporting 19 additional positive cases and three recoveries of COVID-19, bringing Washoe County’s total confirmed cases to 264, 231 of which are still active. The county’s total death count so far is four, and 18 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 complications.
Placer County is now reporting 103 positive cases, three deaths; Nevada County is reporting 31 total positives, one death; and El Dorado County is reporting 22 positive cases, no deaths.
Both Nevada and El Dorado counties have expanded their reporting pages to include a dashboard, which for Nevada shows total case counts of surrounding counties and the dates that new cases were confirmed along with visual aids for the data they were already reporting. El Dorado County is now reporting further demographic information (half the cases have been men, half women; 5.45% have been between 18 and 49, 31.8% have been between 50 and 64, 13.6% have been over 65; by area within the county, most cases are in South Lake Tahoe followed by El Dorado Hills; nine cases have been identified to be caused by travel, eight have been community-acquired, one got the disease from a known positive case, and four are still under investigation).
April 3, 2020
El Dorado County’s public health officer, Nancy Williams, has issued an order that clarifies that the use of short-term rentals except to essential personnel is prohibited (she had already stated this on March 19), and further “orders the cessation of all nonessential travel into the El Dorado portion of the Tahoe Basin effective immediately” through April 30, per a press release.
At 8 p.m. each night, people worldwide are howling outside to show support for healthcare workers and those on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, Bureau of Health Care Quality and Compliance is investigating a Reno-based hospital, Willow Springs Center, which serves children with behavioral health needs. Reported today were 24 youth and 11 staff members testing positive with COVID-19. Additional test results are still to come in. Measures are in place to prevent further exposure.
Forty-five new cases of COVID-19 were announced today in Washoe County. The current total number of active cases is 199.
The county and cities of Reno and Sparks are reporting over 350 community complaints regarding nonessential businesses remaining open despite the statewide order to close. Jurisdictional staff is investigating these reports and supplying courtesy reminders to non-compliant businesses. Law enforcement will engage if the businesses still refuse to close, resulting in possible citations, fines, or revocation of business licenses.
Washoe County and the cities of Reno and Sparks have collectively received more than 350 complaints regarding non-essential businesses remaining open despite Governor Sisolak’s directive to close.
Nevada County reports its first death related to the COVID-19 pandemic, an elderly eastern Nevada County resident with underlying health conditions who previously tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District has decided to extend distance learning efforts through the end of the 2019/2020 school year, per the governor’s statewide recommendation to close schools to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
In a letter to district parents, superintendent Dr. Robert Leri wrote, “In the coming weeks, we will provide more information regarding how grades, graduation, transcripts, scholarships, and summer school will be handled.”
The decision was made in unison with all Placer County public schools.
See our coverage, as superintendent Rober Leri and the district’s decision unfolded.
April 2, 2020
Currently, Placer County is reporting 78 positive cases of COVID-19, with two deaths. Their case tracking page now specifies that the virus has been detected in: “Applegate, Auburn, Carnelian Bay, Foresthill, Granite Bay, Kings Beach, Lincoln, Loomis, Meadow Vista, Newcastle, Olympic Valley, Penryn, Rocklin, Roseville, Tahoe City, [and] Truckee.” The county has identified that of their known positive cases, 28% were likely community-acquired, 12% likely had contact with a known case, 10% likely contracted the virus while providing healthcare, 36% while traveling, and 14% of the cases are still cause-unknown.
Nevada County is reporting a total of 26 positives, no deaths, and is now clarifying that 18 reside in eastern Nevada County, eight in western Nevada County.
Neither county is sending press releases to announce individual new cases anymore.
El Dorado County is currently reporting 18 positive tests, no deaths, and also released the information that countywide, they have conducted a total of 764 COVID-19 tests, 596 of which have come back negative to date. In El Dorado, the virus has been identified on the “west slope and [in] South Lake Tahoe,” according to their coronavirus tracking page.
Placer County health officer Dr. Aimee Sisson is now recommending cloth face coverings (bandanas, scarves, homemade cloth covers) for those leaving their homes for essential activities, another effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases.
This recommendation comes about after increasing evidence that transmission of the virus can happen one to three days before people develop any symptoms of the disease. Health officials encourage these face coverings to be used in addition to other social distancing strategies. Utilizing face coverings can catch respiratory droplets that often transmit the virus through coughing, sneezing, and even talking.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom suspended public water systems’ abilities to disconnect water service to residences and critical infrastructure sector small businesses, per a California Environmental Protection Agency press release.
“The executive order issued today, builds on the steps already taken by the California Public Utilities Commission for private water systems and more than 100 public water systems within the state that have adopted their own policies for not shutting off water service to residents facing financial distress during the health emergency,” stated the release.
There are eight recoveries and 21 additional COVID-19 cases announced by Washoe County; the total number of active cases right now is 154.
Washoe and the cities of Reno and Sparks announced a suspension of sewer account late fees in association with those financially impacted by the novel coronavirus.
April 1, 2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the closure of schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year in an attempt to further mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak. According to a press release out of the governor’s office, an agreement has been reached “between teachers, classified employees, school boards, superintendents, and principals to work together to provide distance learning … the agreement means more kids will be able to get school resources, such as quality distance instruction, and empowers teachers to create lessons within clear parameters.”
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak requested a major disaster declaration from President Donald Trump for additional COVID-19 support.
Per a press release: “If approved, this declaration will provide additional federal assistance and emergency protective measures available under the nationwide emergency proclamation. The disaster declaration request includes requests for Public Assistance funding and the full suite of Individual Assistance programs including, but not limited to, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Disaster Legal Services, Crisis Counseling and Training Programs, and Mass Care and Emergency Assistance to help support residents in need during this unprecedented crisis.”
A fourth Washoe County resident has died from COVID-19, a male in his 40s with an underlying health condition. Twenty new cases and five recoveries were reported today, bringing the active case count up to 141 and recoveries to 18.
The Tahoe Forest Health System received grants from local foundations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lahontan Community Foundation and the Martis Camp Community Foundation each granted the TFHS $50,000 for their COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund. Such contributions will help assist with the purchase of new ventilators (of which the hospital currently has nine with three more on the way), personal protective equipment, the COVID-19 drive-by clinic, emergency staffing, and other targeted areas of need.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced on Twitter that he has ordered an official stay-at-home mandate for all Nevadans. Essential functions are still permissible, including grocery shopping, driving to essential businesses, and outdoor activities like walking. People must continue adhering to other directives and protocols like limiting numbers in groups and keeping six feet of distance between others not of your household.
March 31, 2020
The Town of Truckee is seeking feedback to understand the community’s priorities and opinions during the COVID-19 period, and will be issuing short surveys during the coming weeks. In the meantime, the town is inviting community members to join the Truckee FlashVote online advisory community, whose feedback will inform local services and programs.
Those interested should visit www.flashvote.com/truckee.
The latest counts for COVID-19 cases in Washoe County are below:
- Total COVID-19 cases in Washoe County: 143
- Deaths: 3
- Recoveries: 13
- Active cases: 127
- Resident hospitalizations: 20
A Truckee Meadows firefighter and two additional Reno police officers have tested positive for the disease. Quarantine housing has been established for individuals or families who have tested positive and are seeking alternative housing to isolate within. The housing is at the corner of Mill Street and Edison Way. Seven units will be available as early as the end of this week.
March 30, 2020
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced that effective immediately, the Nevada Division of Emergency Management and Nevada Department of Health and Human Services will temporarily align with the Nevada Office of the Military for the duration of the novel coronavirus pandemic. This move will ensure the entirety of Nevada’s state government is effectively and efficiently utilized in response to the emergency situation.
The New York Times is reporting cautious optimism about California’s early action to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and how this action has differed from states like New York.
The Regional Information Center out of Washoe County reported its third death of a patient with COVID-19, a woman in her 80s with underlying health conditions.
Washoe County reported its second COVID-19-related death, a female in her 30s with an underlying health condition. The county’s total count to date is 121 cases with two deaths and 10 recoveries. Active cases are 109.
Also reported was the fact that yesterday, March 29, the Washoe County COVID-19 Incident Management Team’s homeless services division reported its first homeless individual who’s tested positive for COVID-19. The individual had accessed services at the Community Assistance Center and Reno Events Center, and is now in quarantine housing where they can isolate safely.
Tahoe Forest Health System reported today in a press release that they’ve confirmed “several team members with positive test results [for COVID-19], and they are recovering at home, with none requiring hospitalization.”
The hospital noted that it is common in this pandemic for healthcare workers to become infected when caring for patients.
“We’re grateful to our strong team of caregivers and support staff who are working hard daily to keep our communities and health system as safe as possible,” said Harry Weis, CEO of TFHS in the statement. “Our team is putting everything we have on the line to provide our community with the best healthcare during this crisis.”
Robert Leri, superintendent chief learning officer with the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, announced today the district will forego its scheduled April 13-17 spring break, and instead end classes a week earlier for summer break, on June 12. Distance learning will continue through May 1, except for Fri., April 10, and Mon., April 13, which are teacher planning and preparation days.
March 29, 2020
Placer County Public Health is reporting that a second resident has died of COVID-19. The person, an elderly adult with several underlying health conditions, was a resident of south Placer County.
Public Health officials believe the person contracted COVID-19 through community spread. The patient was admitted to a local hospital with COVID-19 symptoms and tested March 17. Lab results confirmed COVID-19 on March 22 and the patient and succumbed to illness yesterday.
Washoe County announced its first COVID-19-related death, a man in his 40s, and the case is under investigation. It is not known at this time whether he had underlying health conditions. Fourteen additional cases were announced, as well as one more recovery (bringing the total recoveries to 8). The total number of known cases in Washoe County is now 107.
Reno police chief Jason Soto reported a member of his patrol division has tested positive for COVID-19, too. This officer began experiencing symptoms on March 21, and immediately contacted the county health district and began isolating at home. The police department is working with the health district to investigate. The number of people who may have come into contact with the officer has been provided to the county.
March 28, 2020
A Washoe County sheriff’s deputy has tested positive for COVID-19, plus 17 other cases. Two residents who previously tested positive have recovered and are now released from self-isolation. Total count of cases is 93, with 86 active.
Per the county’s Regional Information Center announcement, “Sheriff [Darin] Balaam has instructed his staff to begin immediate single point entry and screening for all employees and visitors. All those needing to enter the Sheriff’s Office for business will have their temperature taken and answer basic screening questions before admittance.”
March 27, 2020
Tahoe National Forest announced temporarily closure of certain recreational facilities, including the following:
- All restrooms closed through April 30
- Trash removal at all trailheads, picnic sites, and staging areas suspended through April 30
- Golden Quartz and Oregon Creek recreation sites closed through April 30
- Donner Summit Snow Park closed through April 30
- Permitted ski areas closed to backcountry skiing and snowshoeing for avalanche mitigation through April 30
The Washoe County Health District has reported its fifth recovery of a patient with COVID-19, who is now released from self-isolation. Additionally, eight more positive cases are now confirmed in the county, bringing the total number of current cases to 70.
March 26, 2020
Nevada County announced its eighth COVID-19 case. The dedicated coronavirus updates page on the county’s website will be updating “new confirmed cases as quickly as possible, including cases where the mode of transmission is still under investigation,” according to the county’s press release.
Placer County is currently reporting 30 total confirmed cases of COVID-19, including one death.
Ten new cases of COVID-19 were reported by the Washoe County Health District, bringing that county’s total known cases to 67, four of which have recovered.
At a joint press conference yesterday of Washoe County’s emergency operations center team comprising multiple agencies, Nevada State Public Health Laboratory director Dr. Mark Pandori announced that his lab has been actively testing for COVID-19, using the test created and distributed by the Centers for Disease Control.
So far, the lab has performed “over 1,900 tests on individuals,” Pandori said. “Our current capacity for testing has risen to the ability to perform over 400 a day through specialized training and aggressive acquisition of supplies in our laboratory.”
March 25, 2020
The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District sent out a message notifying parents that Placer County school superintendents have agreed to close all county schools until at least May 1, with a reassessment to happen in April. This decision is supported by the Placer County health officer.
The Town of Truckee and Washoe County are both holding virtual meetings today at 2 p.m. The town’s, a special council meeting; the county’s, a press conference for the COVID-19 Washoe Incident Management Team.
Truckee’s meeting can be viewed on Tahoe Truckee Media’s website. For Washoe County’s meeting, the media and the public are encouraged to watch on the Washoe County YouTube page, the City of Reno YouTube page or the City of Sparks Facebook page.
The Town of Truckee’s attorney, Andrew Morris, provided clarification to the limitation of short-term rentals and vacation-based accommodations, noting the town’s first line to address area STRs will be notifying and working with the property owners. If properties do not comply with the order, police officers can issue criminal or administrative citations. Violation of the local order is seen as a violation of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mandate, and is considered a misdemeanor. As of noon on March 24, town staff had sent 933 emails to vacation-based property managers, with an 80%-plus open rate.
Anyone interested in reporting a lodging still serving as a vacation spot can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The town council also adopted an urgency ordinance, providing a temporary moratorium on residential evictions for non-payment of rent; meaning through July 1, landlords cannot evict tenants for not paying rent if it’s coronavirus-related. Landlords do retain all their other rights. There is a deadline for tenants to repay their rent by Oct. 31, 2020. Town staff is working with Sierra Community House to disseminate this information. The moratorium does not include commercial tenants.
Town staff is working on the establishment of a community residential rental assistance program to provide short-term funding to residents facing financial hardship as result of the coronavirus. Details are still in the works, but the budget for this rental assistance would not exceed $100,000. Town council provided direction to staff during the council meeting.
Sierra Community House received approval for Town of Truckee funding for $75,000 to assist with its food delivery program, which has increased in requests for deliveries. Sierra Senior Services is also seeing an increase in requested deliveries, and was approved to receive $10,000 for its Meals on Wheels program. Town support in the form of $5,000 was also given to the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe’s “pet pantry” program.
March 24, 2020
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed an emergency directive prohibiting the gathering of 10 or more people in public places, indoors or outdoors. This order does not apply to those in the same household or patrons within an essential business. Last Friday, Sisolak issued a statewide mandate ordering the closure of all nonessential businesses. No shelter-in-place order similar to California’s has yet come from his office.
Six additional cases have been reported in Washoe County, bringing the total to 50.
Nevada County Public Health confirmed the fourth positive COVID-19 case. The county’s release stated the person who was diagnosed is an adult residing in eastern Nevada County, and is currently self-isolated while expressing symptoms. It is not yet known how this case was likely transmitted, and the county reports that public health officials have contacted the person’s household contacts, who are all also self-isolating.
Short-term rentals and vacation-based accommodations are being significantly limited in the Town of Truckee, Nevada County, and Placer County.
March 23, 2020
Town of Truckee Emergency Operations Center opens a physical location at town hall. The center will function as a clearinghouse for public agency resource requests.
The Washoe County Health District is reporting 19 additional cases of COVID-19, raising the total number in the county to 44. These additional cases were the result of two-plus days of testing due to an increased number of tests being submitted for confirmation.
Additionally, a third patient who had previously tested positive for the coronavirus has recovered within Washoe County.
Nevada County Public Health has reported a third confirmed COVID-19 case in the county; this one is an adult person who resides in western Nevada County and likely acquired the coronavirus while traveling internationally. The county says his person was not out in the community while symptomatic.
There’s been a second confirmed COVID-19 case in Nevada County, an adult who resides in Eastern Placer County and was hospitalized out of the area. This new case has not had any recent travel history or known contact with another confirmed case, meaning it is likely a community transmission.
March 22, 2020
A second coronavirus case out of Washoe County, a man in his 60s, has recovered fully and was released from isolation today. As of now, no new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, though testing is ongoing. The total case count in the county is 25.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved federal emergency aid to be made available for California, supplementing state, tribal, and local recovery efforts affected by COVID-19. The approval, made by President Donald Trump, allows funding for crisis counseling, and is available on a cost-sharing basis for emergency protective measures.
March 21, 2020
Washoe County now has 25 confirmed cases of residents with COVID-19, per the Washoe County Health District. The new three cases, all in stable conditions and self-isolating, are a man in his 20s who recently traveled internationally; a woman in her 60s who is a contact to a known case; and a woman in her 50s who recently traveled domestically.
As of 7 a.m., Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County gave authority to an incident management team to manage the regional coronavirus crisis. The team will support the area’s governments and regional partners regarding concerns related to the crisis.
North Lake Tahoe is advising travelers to refine any travel plans to the area and stay home until it is safe and viable again. Though with social distancing, it is appropriate for outdoor activity to take place, an influx of visitors could severely impact local resources, such as hospitals, service workers, and the amount of necessary supplies.
March 20, 2020
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed an emergency directive ordering nonessential businesses to close. This is a follow-up measure to the Nevada Health Response COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Initiative, previously announced by the governor on Tuesday.
“I hoped it would not come to this. I did not want it to come to this,” Sisolak said. “But to protect all Nevadans, this is necessary.”
Sisolak stressed the importance of evolving with the developing situation. “We must grasp the gravity of the reality we find ourselves in as we battle our invisible enemy — COVID-19,” he said. “This is a pandemic of devastating proportions and we need to respond with the appropriate, decisive measures.”
Based on what we’ve seen other states and countries go through, the governor said there is no guessing at what comes next.
“This is our only chance at ‘flattening the curve,’” he continued. “That’s a fancy way of saying that we need to move quickly and creatively to slow the tsunami that is headed our way. We need to put up strong barriers to ensure the waters don’t overtake us. We have to slow down the flow so that our health care system can manage this challenge in the short term.”
The Washoe County Health District reports that a Washoe County resident has fully recovered from COVID-19 and has been released from self-isolation. The case is a male in his 30s who had traveled domestically. He is the first Washoe County resident who had COVID-19 to be released from self-isolation. The total case count in Washoe County is 22. That number includes all cases, both current and those who have recovered.
Residents of the greater Truckee/North Tahoe area are being reminded by local public works agencies to only flush toilet paper, not wipes, down the toilet. Despite some wipes being described as “flushable,” it is noted that such wipes do not actually break down in the sewer and should therefore be discarded into a trash receptacle instead of being flushed. Some agencies have reported significant sewage backups due to improper disposal of wipes and cleaning supplies during the COVID-19 emergency.
March 19, 2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued a mandatory “stay at home” order, requiring all individuals living in the state to stay home or at their place of residence except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors. The order goes into effect at 12 a.m. Friday and is in place until further notice, and noted that the rapid spread of COVID-19 in a short period of time has necessitated “more stringent guidance from federal, state, and local public health officials.”
“This order is being issued to protect the public health of Californians,” the statement reads. “The California Department of Public Health looks to establish consistency across the state in order to ensure that we mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Our goal is simple, we want to bend the curve, and disrupt the spread of the virus.”
Essential services such as gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants, banks, and laundromats/laundry services will remain open. Essential state and local government functions will also remain open, including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services.
“The supply chain must continue, and Californians must have access to such necessities as food, prescriptions, and health care,” the order states. “When people leave their homes or places of residence … they should at all times practice social distancing.”
The Washoe County Health District announced four additional new cases within the county, bringing the total to 18. The new cases, which are self-isolating in stable condition, are:
- A woman in her 60s with recent travel history
- A woman in her 30s who had close contact to a previously identified case in Washoe County
- A man in his 70s with recent travel history
- A woman in her 60s with recent travel history. This case contracted COVID-19 in a different state and is self-isolating there.
Placer County announces a directive from health officer Dr. Aimee Sisson, for residents to stay home except for “essential activities,” effective on March 20 at 12:01 a.m.
“It is critical that every member of our community heed this directive if we hope to slow the spread of this disease and prevent severe loss of life,” said Sisson, according to the county’s press release. “This is an extraordinary measure but we are in an extraordinary time, and we must act quickly to meet this moment.”
The directive is in accordance with national, state, and local government recommendations and policies. “Essential activity” is defined as including, as written in the release: “Activities to maintain the health and safety of family or household members (including pets), such as obtaining medication. Obtaining necessary services or supplies (or delivering those services or supplies to others), such as getting groceries. Engaging in outdoor activity, provided 6 feet of spacing is maintained between people who are not members of the same household. Performing work providing essential products and services at an essential business as defined in the directive, or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in the directive. Caring for a family member or pet in another household.”
Placer County is still reporting nine positive cases of COVID-19, including the one that resulted in death.
March 18, 2020
Currently, Placer County has nine positive cases of COVID-19.
Beginning today, Truckee Mayor David Polivy will provide daily updates on the coronavirus on radio station KTKE 101.5.
The Washoe County Health District confirmed two new coronavirus cases, bringing the county’s total number of confirmed cases to 14. The two new cases, who are in isolation with mild symptoms, are:
- A man in his 30s with recent travel to Europe
- A man in his 30s with recent travel to Washington
Nevada County’s Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector shared that local property taxes are still due April 10, despite extension of federal and state income tax deadlines. Local county tax collectors have no authority to change the deadline because it is established by state law.
Tahoe Forest Health Systems announced an updated community hotline for COVID-19-related questions: (530) 582-3450, live from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Nevada County announced the temporary closing of its county facilities starting March 19. Essential services such as law enforcement, wastewater, road maintenance, emergency services, transit, social services, behavioral, and public health services will continue.
The City of Grass Valley will be transitioning all customer interactions to over-the-phone and email communications until further notice.
Nevada City issued an emergency order through March 31, which enacts the closure of city offices. Nevada City’s municipally-owned parks, pool, and public restrooms will also be closed.
March 17, 2020
Washoe County issues declaration of emergency, allowing the increase of accessibility to resources and flexibility in staffing in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, three new cases were announced, all stable and self-isolating:
- A man in his 60s with recent travel to the Bay Area in California
- A man in his 60s with close contact to a previously-identified case in Washoe County
- A woman in her 30s who traveled to Europe
March 16, 2020
To date, Placer County has one death and eight cases related to COVID-19.
Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve orders the temporary closures of bars, nightclubs, gyms, and restaurants (except takeout, delivery, and curbside services) until April 5, unless otherwise notified. Businesses should complete closing down operations by Friday, March 20, at 5 p.m.
First case of COVID-19 announced in Nevada County, specifically in the town of Truckee. The patient, who recently traveled internationally, is currently isolated at home.
Said Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Ken Cutler in a press release, “Our team has been planning to see COVID-19 in Nevada County and we have been working with local partners such as local health providers, schools, and [the] business community to prepare. We have seen how the virus has been transmitted through the community in other states and in parts of California, and we recommend the public prepare for community transmission in Nevada County, unrelated to this case, as well.”
March 15, 2020
The City of Reno announces closure of all recreation facilities and programs through April 5.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak orders the closure of all schools statewide through April 3.
Five new positive cases for the coronavirus are announced in Washoe County, bringing the area’s total count to nine. Per a county press release, the five new cases are:
- A woman in her 40s who traveled to Southern California
- A woman in her 30s who traveled to the Bay Area in California
- A man in his 20s who is a close contact to a previously-identified case in Washoe County
- A man in his 30s who is a close contact to a previously-identified case in Washoe County
- A woman in her 30s, who is a close contact to a previously-identified case in Washoe County
All cases are in stable condition and self-isolating at home.
March 14, 2020
Alterra Mountain Company and Vail Resorts announce the impending closure of their ski resorts throughout the United States, including Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows and Northstar California Resort, effective March 15.
The fourth positive COVID-19 case is confirmed in Washoe County. This case is a male in his 20s with no travel history outside of the county. He is in a stable condition and is self-isolating at home.
March 13, 2020
Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District programs and facilities are closed for three weeks, from March 16 through April 3.
Tahoe Truckee Unified School District announces closure of all schools, effective Monday, March 16, and classes will transition to a distance learning plan. Based on the weather forecast, March 16 will function as a snow day; March 17 and 18 will serve as teacher development days. Remote and distance learning will resume Thursday, March 19.
Beginning March 17, free meal service will be provided for all children, 18 and under, each weekday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. In addition to lunch, a breakfast meal will be provided for the following day.
Washoe County Health District identifies the third presumptive COVID-19 case, a female in her 20s who recently traveled to Germany and France. At this point, there are three cases county-wide of the coronavirus, two presumptive and one confirmed. It is the Health District’s belief that the two presumptive cases will be confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control.
March 12, 2020
Tahoe Forest Health System puts temporary visitor restrictions in place for COVID-19 prevention.
At Tahoe Forest Hospital, the main entrance and emergency room entrance will be the only public access. Pine Street Café is closed until further notice. At Incline Village Community Hospital, only the emergency room entrance is accessible. Additionally, visitors and patients will be screened for symptoms prior to entering the facilities. If you are experiencing fever, cough, or shortness of breath, or are concerned about your symptoms, TFHS has COVID-19 protocol-trained nurses available to answer questions on a COVID-19 Hotline, (530) 536-6013, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
WinterWonderGrass California is postponed until 2021. The announcement comes in light of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statement mandating social gatherings of 250-plus people be canceled or postponed through the end of March.
March 11, 2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announces an updated policy via state public health officials on public gatherings in an effort to protect health and slow the spread of COVID-19. Per Newsom’s official statement, “The state’s public health experts have determined that gatherings should be postponed or canceled across the state until at least the end of March. Nonessential gatherings must be limited to no more than 250 people, while smaller events can proceed only if the organizers can implement social distancing of 6 feet per person. Gatherings of individuals who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should be limited to no more than 10 people, while also following social distancing guidelines.”
Nevada County Public Health confirms 10 people under investigation for COVID-19, though no confirmed cases of the coronavirus exist yet in the county. Testing for COVID-19 in Nevada County is limited to vulnerable populations and those who’ve come in contact with known cases.
March 10, 2020
The Town of Truckee declares a local emergency at a town council meeting.
Placer County announces a total of seven coronavirus-related cases (including the one death, first from COVID-19 in California).
March 9, 2020
Placer County declares a local health emergency regarding COVID-19 so as to receive state resources and ensure public health professionals have all the necessary tools at their disposal.
March 8, 2020
A second presumptive case is announced in Washoe County. The patient, a male in his 30s, is currently isolated at home. His symptoms appeared after his recent travel to Santa Clara, California. The Centers for Disease Control will confirm the diagnosis.
Health District staff is identifying close contacts with the patient.
March 6, 2020
Coronavirus test results for Huffaker Elementary School students come back negative, including results for a family member who was a presumptive positive case for the coronavirus. Only one case remains confirmed in Washoe County.
Placer County Public Health confirms three new COVID-19 cases, all with ties to the Princess cruise on Feb. 11 to 21 from San Francisco to Mexico. This brings the total confirmed cases within the county to five, including one death. The new cases are from South and Mid-Placer County.
The health district contacted all cruise passengers within Placer after receiving a list from the cruise company. All passengers are in quarantine through today. Those who have shown any sign of illness are being tested for the coronavirus.
March 5, 2020
Washoe County has a presumptive case of COVID-19 and has sent the test to the Centers for Disease Control for confirmation. The patient, a male in his 50s, was linked to a Princess cruise ship outbreak. Huffaker Elementary School will close on Friday, March 6, as a family member of the patient attends the school and the Washoe County Health District is encouraging an abundance of caution. Currently there are no confirmed cases at the elementary school.
March 4, 2020
Nevada County declares local health emergency to increase coronavirus response resources, though no cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the county. By declaring a local health emergency, the county is able to access additional resources (mutual aid, financial reimbursement, and increased coordination with state and local partners), allowing advanced preparation in the situation that a case is confirmed.
Placer County announces the death of a patient with COVID-19. The patient was the second confirmed Placer County case, and the first COVID-19-related death in the state of California. Initial understanding from the investigation is that this patient had minimal community interaction between returning from a Princess cruise to Mexico and arriving at the hospital via ambulance on Feb. 27.
Ten healthcare workers and five emergency responders who came in contact with this patient are in quarantine, though none are exhibiting symptoms.
March 3, 2020
Placer County confirms second case of COVID-19; declares local health emergency to ensure adequate resources. This second case is an older adult whose exposure likely occurred during international travel on a Princess cruise that traveled from San Francisco to Mexico Feb. 11 to 21. The older individual is critically ill in the hospital.
“We expect to see additional cases in coming days, including cases of community spread, not linked to travel,” said Placer County health officer Dr. Aimee Sisson in a press release. “We are declaring these emergencies today so we will be able to activate and deploy resources to adequately respond to an increase in cases.”
March 2, 2020
Placer County Public Health reports first confirmed case of COVID-19, a North Bay VacaValley healthcare worker who had close contact with a confirmed case in Solano County. The individual is isolated at home with mild symptoms.