BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The number of new COVID cases and hospitalizations are rising in Kern County, garnering the state’s attention.
Local health officials say cases have gone up possibly because the testing has increased in the Golden Empire, and also because the county has accelerated into phases 2 and 3 of re-opening.
In May, Kern averaged roughly 30-40 new cases per day, but this month, that number has increased to 50-60 per day, according to the Kern County Public Health Department.
While many of the positive cases and more than half of COVID-related deaths in Kern have come from state-regulated skilled nursing facilities, Kern County Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop said we can all do our part.
“All residents of this county, please. Please continue to adhere to public health guidance,” Alsop said. These trends, if they continue, may impact how we continue to re-open locally,” Alsop continued.
County health officials point out Kern County is not meeting some state guidelines, which is why the state has placed Kern on an official state monitoring program.
The guidelines say each county cannot not have more than 25 new covid cases per 100,000 residents per day over the last 14 days. Furthermore, the positive test rate must not surpass 8 percent over the last 7 days.
But Kern is seeing 78 cases per 100,000 residents over the last 14 days, and a positivity rate of 8.2 percent over the 7 days.
Also, each county cannot have an increase in covid hospitalizations over the last three days compared to the previous three days.
In that category, Kern has seen a 24 percent increase over the last three days.
“Our hospitalizations are projected to increase and our ICU cases will continue increase.It is not Not unexpected. What we are worried about is how much will it increase and over what period of time,” said Matt Constantine, director of the Kern County Public Health Department.
County leaders said ensuring hospitals have enough resources and making sure providers stay below a surge capacity of 140 percent is a top priority.
“That capacity needs to be maintained. If it is not, we have a significant problem,” Alsop said.
Now that Kern has officially been placed on the state monitoring program, state and county leaders will hold conversations about the drivers leading to the increased figures and how best to curb them.
Kern Public Health is expected to address new models next week projecting how figures could look down the road.