Public Health releases COVID-19 racial demographic data; majority of Kern’s COVID-19 cases are Hispanic

May 4, 2020 /

Data released Monday by the Kern County Public Health Department shows the majority of Kern County’s COVID-19 cases are Hispanic.

According to the data, 65.6 percent of the cases (666 cases) are Hispanic, which is disproportionately higher than the group’s population representation. Data shows 54 percent of Kern’s population is Hispanic or Latino, according to 2019 data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

A little more than 18 percent (185 cases) of Kern County’s COVID-19 cases are white; 2.17 percent of the cases are African American; and 4.63 percent are Asian. A little more than 8 percent of the cases are unknown.

Public Health Epidemiologist Kim Hernandez said the unknown cases are a result of the patient not want to disclose their race or ethnicity or because the information was not provided by the health provider to Public Health.

According to data released by the California Department of Public Health, for adults 18 and older, Latinos, African Americans and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders are dying at disproportionately higher levels. The proportion of COVID-19 deaths in African Americans is about double their population representation across all adult age categories. For Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, overall numbers are low, but there is a four-fold difference between the proportion of COVID-19 deaths and their population representation.

Public Health also posted an interactive map that allows viewers to see cases per zip code. The map shows the population of the zip code, the number of positive cases in the zip code and the number of recovered cases. There are 169 cases in the 93307 zip code in Bakersfield. Of these cases, 95 have recovered. There are 48 cases in the 93308 zip code in Bakersfield. Thirty-one of these cases have recovered.

There are currently 1,026 cases of COVID-19 in Kern. Of this number, 592 residents have recovered. There have been 8 COVID-19 related deaths in Kern County.

Four free testing sites are opening in Kern County this week. County officials could not say if they expect to see a spike in positive COVID-19 cases; however, they do expect to see an increase in results, Megan Person, the chief communications officer for Kern County, said at a press conference Monday.

With the new testing sites, Person said the county will be able to conduct 400 tests a day.

It’s unclear if the increase in testing will affect the County’s plan to reopen the local economy.

“The reopening will be based on the Governor’s order and our ability to comply with that,” Person said. “Because we don’t know what that modification will be, we cannot answer that question now.”

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez

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