Health officials confirm 587 COVID-19 cases in Kern

April 17, 2020 /

The Kern County Public Health Department confirmed Friday morning 587 cases of COVID-19 in Kern County.

The current 587 cases include nine non-residents who have tested positive in Kern County. There have also been three COVID-19-related deaths in Kern.

Of these cases, 212 residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered.

“We hope the curve will flatten,” said Michelle Corson, the spokeswoman for the Kern County Public Health Department, at a press conference on Monday. “We know social distancing is key to this.”

Most cases fall within the 18 to 49 age group, with a total of 339 cases. There are 33 cases in the 0-17 age group; 147 cases in the 50-64 age group; and 59 cases in the 65 and over age group.

Data shows Kern County’s cases are climbing at a much faster rate than other counties in California, and the number of pending tests continues to rise daily. Health officials say it is too early in the process to determine why or any patterns. 

“What we do know is our cases continue to grow,” Corson said. “The number one thing that can slow the spread is social distancing.”

The Kern County Public Health Department continues to be pressed to release identifiable information, such as ethnicity, zip code, and underlying health conditions, about the local cases, just as other counties in California have.

“We take this so seriously,” Corson said. “We follow the state guidelines on this and HIPAA. We release information as it is in our best interest to serve our community.”

The California Department of Public Health has released some information that breaks down the cases in California. The data is in line with the racial diversity of the state.

As of April 16, there are a total of 27,528 positive cases and 985 deaths in California. According to the California Department of Public Health, 39 percent of California’s cases are Latino, which make up 39 percent of California’s population. Thirty percent of the state’s cases are white, which make up 37 percent of the population. Thirteen percent of the cases are Asian, which make up 15 percent of the state’s population, and seven percent of California’s cases are African American, which make up six percent of the state’s population.

“It we broke it down to the most finite zip code and gave more identifying information, it is important our entire community acts as though COVID-19 is spreading and that it is in your own neighborhood,” Corson said.

Corson said over the Easter weekend people listened and limited their social interactions.

“We received positive reports from parks that indicated gatherings remained low,” said Corson. “This is going to make such a difference. Thank you very much for working with us this past holiday weekend.”

The county is divided into five regions: Valley, Bakersfield West, Bakersfield East, Mountain, and desert. Sixty-nine cases have been identified in the Valley region, 186 cases in the Bakersfield West region, 292 cases in the Bakersfield East region, 15 cases in the Mountain region, and 16 case in the Desert region.

The health department has received more than 1,500 complaints about businesses not in compliance with Governor Newsom’s order. It has responded to 840 complaints.

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez is the program associate for South Kern Sol. She can be reached at elizabeth@southkernsol.org.