Nevada County Public Health Reports First Confirmed Case of COVID-19

The person recently traveled outside the country, and at this time it appears the disease was acquired during international travel, but we are still in the earliest states of investigation. The person’s close household contacts are under quarantine and have no symptoms at this tie. The person was not out in the community while ill.

“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 business community to prepare,” said Nevada County Public Health Officer Dr. Ken Cutler. “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.”

 “We are working around the clock to make sure residents have the best information possible and are informed to help slow the spread of this disease. There are actions community members can take to help protect themselves, their families and coworkers. By taking simple, but effective steps together we can slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Cutler.

How To Protect Yourself and Others

  • Self-isolate if you are 65 years of age older OR if you have a compromised immune system or a serious underlying medical condition. This effort will help protect those most vulnerable to serious illness caused by this disease.
  • Wash hands with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay away from work, school or other people if you become sick with respiratory symptoms like fever and cough.
  • Follow guidance from public health officials. Find local coronavirus information at

In addition, Nevada County Public Health states that with increased community transmission across the state and increasing numbers of cases in nearby counties, we should assume that there are likely undetected cases and act as though there is community transmission occurring in Nevada County, so everyone should be aware and practice the recommended steps to keep themselves healthy, including social distancing. Public Health is working with partners in health care, education, business, law enforcement and others to prevent and slow the spread of this illness, and every community member will need to do their part as well if we want to preserve the public health and safety of our county’s residents.

COVID-19 Testing

While the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 is in the headlines and is a genuine public health threat, the community should know that there is still quite a bit of flu activity and other health emergencies continue to happen on a regular basis. People have other serious respiratory illnesses, heart attacks, broken bones, etc., and while our small, rural community has an excellent local health system, it can easily be saturated and overwhelmed if people try to access unnecessary care. Public Health is in regular contact with our hospitals and other health care partners, and we are working collectively to inform concerned community members about how to care for themselves while remaining sensitive to the capacity of our local health care systems.

One of the most common questions being asked of us all is, “Can I be tested for coronavirus?” Here is what we want everyone to know:

  • The demand for COVID-19 testing continues to exceed capacity, though expanded testing remains a high priority.
  • In general, testing for the COVID-19 virus is not helpful if you do not have symptoms.
  • Most people will get better with rest and self-care, so there is no need to see a doctor if you have mild symptoms. If you have symptoms similar to a cold and you feel like you can manage them with over-the-counter medications from the comfort of your home, that is what you should do, regardless of whether or not it could be COVID-19. Also, please stay home to limit exposure to others.
  • If you are sick, your health care provider may decide to do a test for coronavirus. At this time only health care providers can order tests for COVID-19. Again, since most people will get better with rest and time, there is no need to see a doctor if you have mild symptoms. If you are sick and think you should be tested for COVID-19, call your doctor before going in for care. If you don’t have a provider, call 2-1-1 (or 833-342-5211) for help finding a clinician near you.
  • Certain patients such as the elderly, those that are immune compromised or have underlying medical conditions should contact their doctor earlier if they have symptoms. Again, they should contact their clinic or provider before going in.
  • Please do not call 911 to request testing for COVID-19 and please do not go to emergency rooms unless you are seriously ill and require emergency care.

Protecting our local health care system will require prudence and commitment from us all. Please help us ensure that care is available for those most in need of it.

Please visit Nevada County’s novel coronavirus web page for preparedness resources and updates at

—Nevada County Public Health Department

Local schools to adopt “distance learning” due to coronavirus

I received this email:

Good Evening NJUHSD Family,

I am writing to inform you that, beginning Monday, March 16th, all NJUHSD schools will be closed due to the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic.  The closure will be effective Monday, March 16th, through the end of our scheduled Spring Break, April 13th, pending further notification.

On Monday and Tuesday of next week, staff will be working to develop distance learning materials to deliver curriculum to students during this school closure period.  Instructions and materials for student “distance learning” will be made available to students and families no later than Wednesday, March 18th.  Instructions regarding student access to materials will be provided no later than 3:00 pm on Tuesday March 17th.

Please understand that these are clearly unprecedented times.  School closures are a response to our duty to slow the spread of COVID-19, and to reduce the impact of the virus on our community members and health care system.

Please see this attachment from the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools for further details – NCSOS Letter – COVID-19 & Distance Learning 

Thank you for your patience,

Dan Frisella

Assistant Superintendent

Nevada Joint Union High School District   

530.273.3351 ext. 206

Our “Commander in Chief” addresses the nation on the coronavirus pandemic

“Watching him, I realized the cost of a president having pissed away his authority these past three years, with his daily juvenile tweets and schoolyard rhetoric. The country needs a president now who can inspire, galvanize, and lead.

“Tonight I saw a president who looked tired, afraid, and completely unconvincing. He ended by calling for an end to partisanship, and the nation coming together to fight this threat. That’s what any president should do in his position, in a moment of great national crisis.

“It is difficult to imagine a president with less credibility to make that ask.”

The rest of the article, titled “Trump’s Coronavirus Speech Reaction,” in The American Conservative is here.

Biden takes command of race

“Joseph R. Biden Jr. took command of the Democratic presidential race in decisive fashion on Tuesday, marshaling a powerful multiracial coalition in the South and the Midwest that swept aside Senator Bernie Sanders and completed Mr. Biden’s rapid transformation from a sometimes-fumbling underdog into his party’s likely nominee,” as The New York Times is reporting.

“Replicating the combination of voters that delivered him broad victories a week ago on Super Tuesday, Mr. Biden won Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi with overwhelming support from African-Americans and with large margins among suburban and rural white voters.

“Mr. Sanders was more evenly matched with Mr. Biden in the West, where Idaho and Washington were too close to call. But there was little doubt by the end of the night that Mr. Sanders had lost his recent status as the progressive front-runner in a race defined for months by feuding and factionalism on the moderate wing of the Democratic Party.

“By besting Mr. Sanders for a second consecutive week, Mr. Biden, the former vice president, demonstrated that his successes on Super Tuesday reflected more than fleeting good fortune, and that many Democratic voters had rallied behind his candidacy in a lasting enough way to erase his embarrassing setbacks last month in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

The rest of the article is here.

Hall might win supervisor seat outright

“The first March Primary vote update since election night has been released by the Nevada County Clerk-Recorder’s Office,” as KNCO is reporting. “And the most notable change is that incumbent County Supervisor Heidi Hall now has over 52-percent of the ballots counted, which would allow her to win the District One seat outright, without a runoff in November.

“Over 50-percent is needed. Deborah Wilder widened her lead over Michael Taylor, from one vote to 24 votes. Looking at the Nevada City Council race, the top three votegetters haven’t changed. Doug Fleming has 598 votes, followed by Daniela Fernandez, with 487, and incumbent Reinette Senum has widened her lead over Lorraine Reich, from 57 to 103 votes.

“And no dramatic changes in the two local ballot measures, with Measure I, the assessment increase in the Higgins Fire District, still far from the two-thirds threshold needed, at 57-percent. It was 58-percent on election night. And Measure J, the Penn Valley School District Bond, is still trailing badly, with 62-percent saying “no”. It was 63-percent on election night. Around 10-thousand ballots remain uncounted.”

The report is here. The election results are here.

Ghidotti High cancels in-person classes starting March 23 due to coronavirus

Editor’s note: The school sent out this letter this afternoon. More local schools are expected to follow with their own plans.

Hello Ghidotti Families,

As most of you know, Sierra College is planning for the transition of its lecture courses to remote instruction by Wednesday, March 18. This is in preparation of COVID-19. Though no one at Sierra College has tested positive, the situation is very dynamic. Sierra College is providing updates here.

Ghidotti has been working with the college and high school district to devise a plan that’s in alignment with Sierra’s COVID-19 protocols. The goal is to minimize exposure while continuing instruction. It’s not ideal, but we feel it’s the best we can do given the circumstances:

Independent Study: Starting Monday, March 23, Ghidotti classes will not meet in-person. Students will officially be put on “independent study” and lessons will be delivered online through Schoology. This will take place as long as Sierra College’s campus is shutdown for lecture classes. 

Minimum Days: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of next week (March 18, 19, and 20) will be minimum days, ending at 1 p.m. This will give our teachers some time to prepare their curriculum for independent study.

Normal Days: March 10-17 classes are scheduled as normal.

Sports: Volleyball and Track & Field practices and games will continue as planned.

Thank you for your patience as we navigate these uncharted waters. Though this is tough, I also appreciate Sierra College’s proactive approach, as it’s given Ghidotti time to plan.