BAKERSFIELD, Calif. ( KGET) — Last week, we reported there were encouraging signs in our case rates, but restrictions still remain in place.
Today, we expect an update from the state on the current COVID-19 data. The question remains, when will Kern County restrictions be lifted? Here’s a look at what we know and what needs to happen in order to move forward.
Right now, Kern County is still in the purple, most restrictive tier. This could change later today when the new information is released. The goal now is to get out of the purple tier. Once we hit the red, there will be fewer restrictions.
Yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom visited Kern County, holding a press conference in Arvin. The issue of equity in the vaccine rollout was front and center, as Newsom announced 11 mobile sites will be going live later this week.
Newsom also announced Kern will receive 14,850 additional doses this week, roughly 78% more than the previous weekly allotment.
Because availability of the vaccines has been a region-wide issue, 34,000 doses are being re-directed from pharmacies to mobile units in the Central Valley.
Another major focus during the conference was getting kids back in schools. Late last week, it was announced that 10% of vaccines are being set aside for educators.
“I really expect that these schools begin to reopen as well because the longer we wait the closer we get to the summer and that means as soon as we open we are going to be shutting back down and these kids can not afford another day let alone month or two of learning loss because they are not in person,” said Gov. Newsom.
In Kern County, the positivity rate is 10.2%, which was more than double that last month. Because of this decline, Newsom believes it’s possible to get students back in school and athletes back on the field safely.
According to the California Department of Public Health, changes to the youth and adult recreational sports guidance will take effect this Friday. Outdoor low-contact sports such as archery, biking, cross country, dance with no contact, martial arts with no contact and physical training programs such as Zumba or yoga are permitted in the current purple tier.
The orange tier includes outdoor high-contact sports such as basketball, football, and soccer. Sports allowed to be played in the orange tier can be played in the purple or red tier with an adjusted case rate equal to or less than 14 cases per 100,000 people.
Newsom said he can see the light at the end of the tunnel. He said he cares about the Valley and doesn’t want to see people suffer.
Newsom expects by this summer, vaccines will be available at a rate of exponential increase, especially with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine likely getting emergency use authorization this week.