Kern’s days in purple tier limited as local COVID-19 numbers improve


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County remains in the purple tier for at least one more week, according to state health data.

The new data shows the local spread of COVID-19 is significantly slowing. If trends continue, Kern County could move into the less restrictive red tier as soon as next Tuesday, when the state will provide another update.

The state uses three categories to determine when counties can move into the less restrictive tiers: the daily number of cases per 100,000 people, the positivity rate and the positivity rate in disadvantaged areas. Kern’s positivity rate is the only metric that meets the requirements to move into the red tier. The other two remain in the purple.

The county must have a rate of 7 cases per 100,000 people to enter the red tier. Kern has 12.5 cases per 100,000 people. The state adjusts that number based on the volume of people taking a test, which bumps it up to 13.6 cases per 100,000 people.

Kern’s positivity rate must be below 8% to enter the red tier. Last week, Kern’s rate met the mark at 8%. The new update shows the rate is now 5.9%. Although welcome news, the positivity rate in the most disadvantaged areas remains above the purple tier metric. It is 9.2% and needs to be below 8% in order to move into the red tier.

Kern County moved into the purple tier on Nov. 17 after being placed in the Red Tier for a little more than a month. The restrictions applied to many non-essential businesses and forced some to close. The restrictions were focused on places where people gather, especially indoors.

The businesses most impacted by the restrictions include restaurants, gyms and movie theaters. Churches and other places of worship were also told to not hold services indoors.

Under the red tier, indoor dining, movie theaters, museums, gyms and other businesses can reopen with limited capacity.

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