BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern County Public Health Services Department announced nursing homes have been faring better in the pandemic after new procedures and safety protocols were put in place.

Kern Public Health provided the update at Tuesday’s Kern County Board of Supervisor’s meeting. Jared Leavitt with Aspire Healthcare Counseling said nursing home deaths have decreased over time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Compared to the first wave, the percentage of hospitalized residents dropped dramatically in relation to the general population,” Leavitt said. “Nursing home deaths decreased over time in the course of the pandemic, and that was not the case in the general population.”

Some of the reasons for the improvement include an increase in the availability of personal protective equipment, training, more COVID-19 testing and effective vaccination efforts, according to Kern Public Health.

Early in the pandemic nursing homes were hit hard by COVID-19 — with positive cases and deaths. During the first outbreak, then-Kern public health director Matt Constantine said “basic disease control procedures were not being enforced.”