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Kern County COVID-related deaths increases to 77


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County reported another COVID-related death Thursday, bringing the Golden Empire’s total to 77.

Of those deaths, 38.9 percent are attributed to Kern area state-regulated skilled nursing facilities. The county was unable to provide further details, including age, gender, and ethnicity, about those who died of COVID-related causes.

As of Thursday morning, about 67,000 kern residents have tested for COVID. Of those, roughly 62,000 or 92 percent tested negative, another 701 are still seeking results, and 4,939, or seven percent, tested positive.

Of the positive cases, roughly 96 percent are either fully recovered or recovering at home. 102 residents, or 2 percent of those who tested positive, are currently in a hospital.

Health officials say Kern currently has 795 available hospital beds and 65 intensive care unit (ICU) beds. However, that figure stands only if the hospitals have enough staff. At this point, staffing is adequate, but figures could change in the future.

“It is something that is definitely a concern which is why I brought it up in the sense that if we don’t have staff, we can’t staff those beds,” said Dr. Kristopher Lyon, Kern County public health officer.

Public health officials said if the county feels staffing is inadequate, one option could include turning turn to the state for help. Ultimately, health officials say the best way to prevent hospitalization is to follow CDC guidelines.

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