State update expected: Could we be on our way to pre-pandemic times?


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Last week’s COVID-19 update from the state had encouraging signs that the pandemic was weakening and this could mean we are getting closer to fewer state-ordered restrictions.

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom said seven new counties could be seeing their tier level drop Tuesday after updates from the state on the latest COVID-19 metrics are released. The update could be a step toward pre-pandemic times.

The state monitors three categories: the daily number of cases per 100,000 people, the positivity rate, and the equity positivity rate. As of this morning in Kern County, 16.8 per 100,000 people are testing positive every day. We need that 16.8 to be at 7 in order to meet the red tier metric.

The state also monitors the positivity rate. When last checked we were sitting at 8%, which puts us into the red category. However; the other metric is the positivity rate in the most disadvantaged areas of the county, otherwise known as the health equity rate.

That was sitting at 10.9% after last week’s update. It needs to be below 8% in order to move into the red category. Representatives from the Kern County Public Health Services Department are hopeful for what the future holds for us.

“The good news is that we are headed in the right direction. Our metrics are really improving week to week and we are very optimistic that the red tier is on the horizon for us,” said Public Information Officer Michelle Corson.

The county must have a rate of seven cases per 100,000 people to enter the red tier. Now, the question is whether Kern County will be one of the seven counties that is able to move down in tiers Tuesday and what changes that would bring.

“What would be quite exciting is moving into the red tier allows restaurants to move indoors with modifications — that is a huge win for our local businesses,” Corson said. “Gyms are another popular thing we talk about during this. Currently, gyms are only allowed to be open in the purple tier outdoors, but movement into the red tier means indoors with modifications up to 10%. But again, that’s exciting getting those gyms to open indoors.”

Corson said residents are also excited about the chance to be able to visit movie theaters again.

“We love our movie theaters here in Kern County and California,” she said. “In the purple tier, movie theaters are outdoor only but in the red tier, they go indoors with modifications up to 25%.”

Since our case numbers have begun to drop, Kern County Public Health has reported an average drop of 2-3% in each metric per week. To reach the required level to change into the red tier this week, our case rate would have to see a significant and dramatic drop from 16.8% to 7%.

Corson says anything can happen and that we will just have to see what this afternoon’s updates will bring us.

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