BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — COVID-19 cases have risen sharply across the country and right here in Kern County. However, officials think the number could actually be much higher because of take-home tests.

People who test positive with an at-home test are supposed to self-report their results, but experts suspect many do not. According to UC Davis Professor Dr. Brad Pollock, the availability of home testing was the beginning of the end for accurate COVID-19 data, and he warns that COVID variants are still a concern.

“The maximum number of deaths we’ve had has been with Omicron because it is so easily transmitted. There are so many people that are infected that you’re just seeing a lot of numbers there,” Pollock said.

Dr. Pollock says prevention measures should be familiar at this point. Social distance, vaccinate and mask up.