Supervisors to consider increasing pay for medical staff to provide COVID-19 testing to inmates

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Kern County Board of Supervisors is set to meet today, and there’s a lot on the agenda.

The board will consider amending a contract with the Kern County Hospital Authority to increase compensation by $100,000 for providing COVID-19 testing to inmates. Since April, Kern Medical staff has provided testing to inmates before they are transferred to state-run facilities.

If approved, the money will be paid by federal CARES Act funding. Total compensation for the testing would be $300,000. 

The board is also set to discuss a Kern County Grand Jury report titled “Kern County Homelessness and the Impact on Our Community.” The report says that “significant amounts of money made available by the state for homeless projects have been lost, due to the unwillingness of the Kern County Board of Supervisors and Bakersfield City Council to approve proposed projects.”

 It remains unclear how county leaders will respond to the report.

Lastly, the board is also set to review a grant application from the county District Attorney’s Office for nearly $1.5 million for the Victim Witness Assistance Program. 

“The Kern County District Attorney’s Office has a Victim Witness Program that has 11 advocates who are responsible for directly working with victims of crime to make sure their rights are upheld,” said Assistant DA Joe Kinzel. “The grant that is being applied for is basically our way of seeking federal funding to make sure Kern County has the resources we need to take care of and protect victims of crime.” 

The funding also pays for the advocates at the Family Justice Center and also goes toward what are known as “mass violence advocates,” a group of individuals who respond to and provide support at mass violence events and situations. 

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