Kern Public Health provides COVID-19 county update, implements surge plan


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Cases continue to climb in Kern County and according to state projections, the peak of the third COVID-19 surge is already in sight.

Is our health care system prepared to handle another round of immense stress on our hospitals and front-line health care workers? Kern County Public Health Director Brynn Carrigan reassured that the local health system can get through a third surge during Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. But, in desperate times, desperate measures must be taken in order to make it through.

Just a day after Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine received federal approval, Kern County Public Health is reporting a slight uptick in people rolling up their sleeves to get vaccinated.

“Get vaccinated – when you look at the local numbers, it’s proof that it is the most effective way to reduce transmission, severe illness, hospitalization and death,” Carrigan said.

Carrigan reassures that after the two waves that Kern’s health system went through, plans and resources are in place to combat this third surge. State projections show that with our current speed of infection, the peak will be reached by Sept. 11.

“It seems that our hospital system is equipped and the added resources are being requested regularly in order to keep up with the demand that is being placed on them, this does not mean they are not under a lot of stress, but we are using all of the resources that we have available to decompress this system,” Carrigan said.

One of those resources is calls to 911. In the past three months, calls to 911 have gone up 14%. As of this week, an emergency services surge plan is going into effect.

“This means ambulances will only respond to low acuity calls when there are sufficient resources available,” Carrigan said.

Alternatives include contacting a primary care physician or urgent care for treatment. A second emergency response agency has also been added to assist with these levels of calls.

“The masks help. It’s a layer of protection and we need to be using every single layer of protection that we can.”

Kern Public Health is feeling optimistic that we won’t have to implement extreme emergency services and they are hopeful more people will now get inoculated following Pfizer’s federal approval.

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