By Anna Giles

NEVADA COUNTY (CBS13) — With COVID case rates dropping and vaccines becoming more available, most counties are getting closer to widespread reopening.

But getting too comfortable is what is forcing Nevada County backward, as it’s in the middle of a virus surge while other areas celebrate.

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According to health officials, the county could be headed back to the purple tier and face more closures as soon as next week.

“I was down here the other day walking and didn’t have my mask on. Today, it’s back on,” said Kelli Joel, as she walked down Main Street in Nevada City.

Joel said the area has its own mindset about the virus.

“It’s not going to happen in our backyard kind of sentiment. So we let our guard down,” said John Pierce, a Nevada City resident.

Nevada County Health and Human Services Director Ryan Gruver said the surge is “related to not adhering to guidelines, people letting their guard down.”

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Gov. Gavin Newson wants to eliminate the tier system by mid-June if numbers keep trending downward.

“The state has indicated that the lifting of the blueprint that they’re calling ‘beyond the blueprint’ is going to be statewide, not something that’s county by county,” Gruver said.

He said that makes this surge a local issue. The hope is that it will die down before officials might have to consider extended local enforcement.

“Please get vaccinated as soon as you can because that’s really the way out of this and the way to contain our numbers,” Gruver said.

But first, Nevada County must battle a strong resistance to vaccines and pandemic rules.

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“It’s a mindset. It’s a balance of freedom and liberties over following a mandate that everybody else is believing,” Joel said.