Majority of Kern’s COVID-19 deaths continue to come from nursing facilities

May 28, 2020 /

The Kern County Public Health Department confirmed Thursday morning one new COVID-19 related death, bringing the total to 37 deaths in Kern County.

This marks the 12th COVID-19 related death that local health officials have reported since last Thursday’s press conference. 

“COVID-19 in here in our community,” said Ryan Alsop, the county chief administrative officer. “It is not going away…This is not a virus that is going to be eradicated next month. It is going to be in our community for many months ahead.”

Of the 37 deaths, 23 have come from state-operated nursing facilities located in Kern County. Yesterday, alone, four of the seven deaths reported by Public Health came from nursing facilities.

“We are very concerned for our elderly population,” Alsop said.

The state reported Wednesday that 54 healthcare workers and 80 residents have tested positive at the Kingston Healthcare Center and 18 residents have died from COVID-19.

The state also confirmed 19 healthcare workers and 40 residents at Valley Convalescent Hospital have tested positive for COVID-19 and four residents have died.

As a preventative measure, the Kern County Public Health Department have tested more than 450 skilled nursing facility staff members in Kern County.

County officials expressed concerns at Thursday’s press conference with the rise in deaths at state-run nursing facilities in Kern. Some say state officials should have known skilled nursing facilities have the potential to be hot spots, just as they have been in other states.

“I would have like to see the State of California deploy more resources…to make sure these facilities were doing the appropriate protocols in place to keep these patients safe,” said Alsop.

Health officials also confirmed 2,017 cases of COVID 19. Of these cases, 1,339 people have recovered while there are still 632 active cases.

Kern County has an average of 42 new cases per day, according to Matt Constantine, the Director of Public Health.

Elizabeth Sanchez

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