BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A new forecast shows the deadliest days of this pandemic may be ahead of us.

17 News has been studying the computer models and spoke with Kern County Public Health Director Brynn Carrigan, who offers a dire warning about COVID-19 surging this winter season.

Q: Since the beginning of the pandemic, these models have been pretty spot-on. I mean, they’ve really given us a good idea of what the immediate future will look like. What are they telling you and your health department as you look at what’s going to be happening in the next couple of months?

Carrigan: “These models have been very accurate, we’ve used them to guide us through this third surge. They have told us what to anticipate and unfortunately, worst-case scenario is what actually happened in Kern County based on these models. So, we take the models very seriously, we use them to guide our planning and now the models take in consideration of waning immunity and vaccine — or booster shots that have been administered in our community and use those to guide what they’re projecting to do in Kern County. These models are painting a very scary picture, if I’m being frank, they’re telling us we’re going to face a gigantic surge and it’s going to peak in January and our hospitals are going to peak 200 more patients than what we saw at the peak of this previous third surge in January. Our hospitals are already significantly overwhelmed, they were overwhelmed at the peak of the end of the third surge, and the potential to have 200 more covid-19 patients in our hospital system in Kern County is a very scary thought.”

Q: Do you think that unfortunately, based on what the models are showing, more people in our community are going to unfortunately die because they chose not to get vaccinated, that they end up killing someone else that they know?

Carrigan: Unfortunately, when we see increases in cases, we see increases in hospitalizations and deaths. That’s the unfortunate picture we see with COVID-19. So, every increase in cases typically leads to people dying and we can prevent that with the vaccine. We can prevent people from getting severely ill and dying from COVID-19.”