COVID numbers on the rise: Kern could revert to purple tier, more restrictions

Coronavirus

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – COVID cases are rising again throughout the state and Kern County is also seeing a spike in numbers. Kern County Public Health said today the county could soon drop back to a more restrictive tier.

This week Kern did not meet all the metrics to stay in the red tier. If COVID numbers don’t drop by next week – Kern would have to move back to the more restrictive purple tier. The Director of Kern County Public Health announced the news this morning at the board of supervisors meeting.

“We are not currently meeting the red tier metrics so the state is now today putting us on notice that for week one we have failed the red metric tier,” said Matt Constantine, Director of Kern County Public Health.

Moving back to the purple tier would mean most non-essential businesses would have to again shut down indoor operations. That includes restaurants, churches, gyms and movie theaters.

“The state would force us to go back and apply those same tier one restrictions to limit certain businesses from operating,” Constantine said.

Some good news – schools that are fully or even partially open can stay open regardless of which tier the county is in. That applies to most schools in the county. The few that are still completely closed can only open when Kern is in the red tier.

“So this just impacts schools that chose not to open til this point,” Constantine said. “If we revert back to purple and the school has not opened, the school would need to wait until the county moved back into the red tier to open up.”

The county’s tier is determined by three things: adjusted case rate, testing positivity rate, and positivity rate among the most disadvantaged communities. Kern County meets red tier metrics for all of those things except the adjusted case rate.

“This is a warning signal to us that we have exceeded the case rate and that alone is indicating that we are failing the red tier metrics,” Constantine said.

The county’s case rate is adjusted based on the number of people getting tested. So one way to improve that metric is to take a COVID test, even if you’re not feeling sick. In addition to that, wearing your mask helps.

“We’re tired of this we’re exhausted, but so what, we need to do what’s right, we need to use preventative measures,” Constantine said. “We need to not lose ground.”

These numbers were expected as we’re seeing a rise in COVID numbers worldwide, so an increase in kern was expected. More importantly, Constantine says the county is prepared and there are plenty of icu beds available.

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