Kern County remains in red tier for COVID-19 state guidelines, health officials say

October 25, 2020 /

As of Tuesday, Kern County was in the second tier of the State’s COVID-19 guidelines, according to Kern County Public Health.

Public health officials advised Thursday at a press conference residents continue to follow new safety precautions as the holiday season approaches. 

As of Saturday, Kern County Public Health reported 38 new COVID-19 cases in Kern and 0 new deaths. 

The state reported Kern County had a case rate of 5.7, which is the same as the week prior, and an adjusted case rate of 6.2, which shows a slight decrease from the 6.3 percent case rate that was recorded the week before. 

The county’s testing positivity rate was at 4.4, according to health officials, which is a 0.9 percentage decrease from last week. 

For Kern County to move into the next less restrictive tier (orange tier), Kern must meet the following criteria for the new metric system requirements: 

  1. An adjusted county-wide case rate of 3.9 per 100,000 people or less for two consecutive weeks . 
  2. County-wide positivity rate of 4.9 percent or below for two consecutive weeks. 
  3. The lowest quartile aggregate testing positivity rate of 5.2 percent or below for two consecutive weeks. 

Brynn Carrigan, assistant director of Kern County Public Health, thanked residents for getting tested as the test rate has increased from 176 to 194 this week. She notes that Kern must meet the 418 tests per day to reach the state’s median testing rate to not have Kern’s case rate artificially adjusted. 

She encouraged all residents to find free testing sites on the to help public health officials alert those who are infected to lower transmission rates.

California released a few weeks ago the health equity details for the new guidelines, “The Blueprint for a Safer Economy” metric system, which requires a county’s census tracts of lowest socioeconomic score.

The score is determined based on the healthy places index rating. The county has initiated two mobile testing sites to enter such areas 5 days a week to inform all members of the community about free testing sites. The county also has initiated a reverse 9-1-1 system. The message may be given through email, message, or recorded message that provides information about the mobile sites. 

Kern Public Health has also released a safety guidance document to provide an outline of safer alternatives for Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos celebrations. Such practices include: wearing a mask, social distancing, regular hand hygiene, minimizing mixture of households, and staying home if sick.

Ryan Alsop, Kern’s Chief Administrative Officer, reports said he believes Kern County would remain in the red tier and would mark the beginning in-class instruction of schools on Oct. 28.