Kern County COVID surge: Local hospitals expected to reach maximum capacity


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County is in the midst of a COVID surge that is only getting worse.

Experts from Kern Public Health told county supervisors today the county is struggling to keep pace and the surge isn’t expected to peak until March.

In light of this developing news, the Kern County Board of Supervisors is getting help now and making plans that could include hospitalizing people at the fairgrounds. Necessary precautions they said, because if the surge spreads as predicted local hospitals won’t have enough room.

From additional ambulances crews to traveling nurses the county of Kern is calling in the reinforcements.

“We also have an ambulance strike team consisting of five ambulances with 10 crew members and a supervisor assisting with ambulances response to 911 calls in Kern County,” Brynn Carrigan the director for Kern County Public Health Services said. “We are currently working on bringing in three state staff strike teams consisting of six registered nurses, six licensed vocational nurses, and six paramedics for each team assigned to the emergency department in three hospitals to assist with offloading patients from ambulances and patient care in the emergency room. These teams are expected to arrive on Monday and will be in Kern through the end of February.”

The grim news announced during the weekly update for county supervisors, as Kern faces a COVID surge that local hospitals will not be able to keep up with.

“State’s modeling has indicated we will well exceed our capacity to be able to care for those that need hospitalization,” Carrigan said. “We’re seeing a significant number of people who don’t have COVID-19 that are gravely ill and need hospitalization as well.”

Additional measures have been taken to provide temporary hospitalizations at the fairgrounds.

“We have an alternative care site, which is essentially a field hospital at the fairgrounds that we would set up we have a medical staffing firm on contract that would come in and support care to individuals within the fairgrounds if our hospitals exceeded capacity, Carrigan said.”

Carrigan said of Kern’s 1,918 deaths so far only 11 people who succumbed to the virus were fully vaccinated.

“So the curse of that of being an accountant is that you have to run every number. So that’s one half of one percent of those who have died are vaccinated,” Mike Maggard of district three from the Kern County Board of Supervisors said. “Yes, sir,” Carrigan responded. “Wow. That’s that’s compelling, Maggard said.”

The surge is expected to hit the unvaccinated the hardest and those who aren’t boosted.

Health experts insist the booster shot will greatly help prevent serious medical issues and death linked to Covid-19.

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