COMMENTARY: Stay Home, Stay Safe During the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 24, 2020 /

Reyna Olaguez

Last week Governor Newsom issued a directive to restrict Californians from leaving their homes except to go to the grocery store, pharmacy, to seek medical care, or to commute to a job that is considered essential. These restrictions are in place until further notice, but it’s important that everyone in Kern County cooperates to minimize the spread of COVID-19. 

Residents who engage in activities outside of their home are encouraged to maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from other people because the virus is spread through droplets that a person can cough out or exhale.

We must do our part to maintain the health and safety of our families and our most vulnerable neighbors. If we don’t maintain distance, COVID-19 will spread more rapidly and strain the already fragile healthcare system. The goal is to prevent the hospitals and clinics from being overwhelmed with patients, so that there are enough beds and equipment to care for the most critically ill. 

The most important things you can do right now to keep you and your family safe is to stay at home, practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently with soap, especially after going out, and clean and disinfect the area around you. You also need to monitor the symptoms of those in your household should anyone develop a fever, a cough, or experience shortness of breath. If you or a family member have any symptoms, you are encouraged to call your doctor or local health clinic first to obtain advice before physically going to a care provider. 

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If you must make a trip to the grocery store or the drug store, which are considered essential, please do your part to minimize these outings as much as possible. And if you are able to leave your children at home with a caretaker, please do so. We don’t want to risk having children spread the virus to other family members or to be exposed while outside the home, when they don’t have to be.  

There have been reports of people who carry the COVID-19 virus but do not show symptoms, and many people may be infected but only display mild symptoms. There have also been reports of people of all ages, healthy and those with underlying conditions, who have become seriously ill with Covid-19 and who have died. Because this virus is new, experts do not know enough about how it progresses, which is why our state public officials have encouraged Californians to fight the virus by sheltering in place.

We want to see Kern County residents come out of this crisis healthy so that things can start to return to normal as quickly as possible, but this won’t happen if people don’t cooperate. 

Let’s be cautious, and do our part so that we save instead of endanger our lives. Stay at home, and be safe. 

To stay updated with information about the COVID-19 pandemic, you can access the state department of public health’s website. For information in Spanish, click here. For Kern County specific information, click here

The state is already sending over $760,000 to Bakersfield and Kern County to assist the homeless and to help stop the pandemic with handwashing stations and additional medical supplies. 

Kern Sol News is a youth-led journalism organization in Kern County. In their stories, reporters shine light on health and racial disparities in under-served communities across Kern. For more stories by South Kern Sol, head to