Kern County remains in orange tier amid rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County is backsliding on its progress toward entering the yellow tier.

After weeks of progress toward meeting the requirements, Kern County Public Health Director Brynn Carrigan said the county is now seeing a slight rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. As of yesterday, Carrigan said there were 28 people hospitalized and 9 are in the ICU.

“This is nowhere near the number of COVID hospitalizations we saw during the height of the surge (in January), but the increase is something that we’re watching closely,” she said.

Kern now has a case rate of 3.4 per 100,000, a significant increase from 2.8 cases last week, Carrigan said.   

The other metrics are trending upward as well but still meet yellow-tier requirements. The county has a positivity rate of 1.7%, an increase from 1.3% last week. The health equity positivity rate is 1.9%, a slight increase from 1.8% last week. 

To meet the yellow tier requirements, Kern has to have 2 or fewer COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, a positivity rate no higher than 2% and a health equity quartile positivity rate of no higher than 2.2%. 

Carrigan said May 26 is the soonest the county could enter the yellow tier, as Kern must meet all metrics for at least two weeks prior to entering the tier. 

Carrigan said there are several factors for the recent increase in cases and hospitalizations, including a decline in vaccination rates and the recent rise of variants in the county. There are currently 15 cases of the B 117 variant and one case of the B 1.351 variant in Kern. 

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