National Guard strike teams could soon arrive in Kern County to help with COVID surge

Coronavirus

Kern Public Health

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The National Guard may soon assist with medical services in Kern County amid the COVID-19 surge, according to the Kern County Department of Public Health.

The strike teams would be active through February, with some expected to arrive as soon as next Monday and stay through the end of February, according to the department.

There are currently two state-staffed teams in Kern County that have expanded regular and intensive care unit hospital bed capacity, according to Kern Public Health. This expansion has provided approximately 25 ICU beds and 15 med-surge beds to Kern’s capacity. The extra staff is anticipated to remain at least through February. Kern’s needs will then be reassessed.

An ambulance strike team arrived in Kern County last week, according to Kern Public Health. The strike team consists of three ambulances with six crew members and a supervisor assisting with emergency calls.

Kern Public Health is working on bringing in three more state-staffed strike teams consisting of six registered nurses, six vocational nurses and six paramedics for each team assigned to the emergency department in three hospitals. The teams would help with offloading patients from ambulances and patient care in the emergency room. Those teams are expected to arrive Monday and be in Kern County through the end of February, according to Kern Public Health.

The department also requested a strike team to implement a third hospital expansion of 18 med-surge and 18 ICU beds, Kern Public Health said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday he had activated over 200 members of the National Guard to help boost COVID-19 testing amid a surge in cases throughout the state.

Kern Public Health spokesperson Michelle Corson said there are three OptumServe testing sites in Kern County, but it wasn’t immediately clear if guard members would be sent to county sites. 

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