Kern County is one of 19 California counties required to back track on its reopening process due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
The announcement by Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health came out Wednesday. Counties that have been on the State’s County Monitoring List for three consecutive days or more must close indoor operations for certain sectors, including dine-in restaurants, movie theaters and family entertainment centers. In addition, all brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs in these counties must close immediately, both indoor and outdoor.
These sectors may modify operations to provide services outside or by pick-up.
The guidance will be in effect for a minimum of three weeks, according to a news release, and is subject to an extension based on epidemiologic indicators.
“California is seeing the virus spreading at alarming rates in many parts of the state, and we are taking immediate action to slow the spread of the virus in those areas,” said Newsom in a statement. “We bent the curve in the state of California once, and we will bend the curve again. But we’re going to have to be tougher, and that’s why we are taking this action today.”
Kern County has had an increase in both COVID-19 related deaths and hospitalizations in recent days.
The Kern County Public Health Department confirmed Wednesday six more COVID-19 related deaths, bringing the total to 76, and Kern County’s hospitalizations have also jumped past the 100 mark. As of Wednesday, there were 104 people being hospitalized.
Health officials also confirmed 113 new cases of COVID-19 in Kern. There are now a total of 4,778 cases.
The California Department of Public Health says community spread of COVID-19 continues to be a concern across the state, and in particular for counties on the County Monitoring List.
Counties impacted by the guidance include: Contra Costa; Fresno; Glenn; Imperial; Kern; Kings; Los Angeles; Merced; Orange; Riverside; Sacramento; San Bernardino; San Joaquin; Santa Barbara; Santa Clara; Solano; Stanislaus; Tulare; and Ventura.
Combined these 19 counties represent approximately 72% of California’s population.
“Today’s action is necessary to help slow the spread of this virus,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health. “We put ourselves and our community at greatest risk for COVID 19 when we mix with people who don’t live with us. And if you go out, wear a face covering, keep your distance, wash your hands frequently and limit unnecessary indoor activities that increase the risk of exposure.”
Sectors included in today’s guidance are all high risk of transmission due to a number of features of the businesses and the behaviors that occur within them, says a news release.
The guidance comes out just days before the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The California Department of Public Health is recommending that counties with mandatory closures cancel firework shows, and is reminding all Californians that they should not gather with people they do not live with and avoid crowds.
Additionally, all parking facilities at state beaches in Southern California and the Bay Area will be closed for the upcoming weekend. In counties that close local beaches, the State will follow suit and close state beaches. Other state parks will remain open, with measures in place to reduce visitation and limit overcrowding.