BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — COVID-19 infections among young Kern County children who are ineligible for vaccination are on the rise.
Kern County Public Health Director Brynn Carrigan said during Tuesday morning’s Board of Supervisors meeting that the department has recently been seeing an uptick in infections among young children. Since the start of the pandemic, KCPH has reported 13,804 COVID-19 cases among children.
“Now that restrictions have opened up and kids are out in the community, they’re more likely to be exposed,” she said.
Carrigan said that while the department has been seeing fewer children with severe illness, those severe cases are partly due to a condition called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children.
Carrigan said some children who become infected with COVID-19 will also develop MISC, which can cause parts of their bodies to become inflamed.
“It is extremely important that we do everything we can to protect our children who are not eligible to be vaccinated, and in order to protect them, masking is going to be the most effective means to do so,” she said.
Carrigan said KCPH is following state guidelines and will not implement a mask mandate at this time.
A vaccine for children younger than 12 is currently estimated to be available this fall.
Nearly all of the new COVID-19 cases are amongst unvaccinated Kern County residents. Since Jan. 21, Carrigan said the county has had a total of 17,197 confirmed COVID-19 cases, of which 104 were among fully vaccinated residents. That means 99.4 percent of new cases are among unvaccinated residents.
In addition, the county has had 1,382 COVID-related hospital admissions since Jan. 21, of which less than 11 were in people who have been fully vaccinated.