Kern County sets record with more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases confirmed; vaccine set to arrive in Kern this week

December 15, 2020 /

Kern County health officials announced the highest number of COVID-19 cases Tuesday since the pandemic first hit Kern County in March.

Matt Constantine, the director of Kern County Public Health, confirmed at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, 2,082 COVID-19 cases, brining the total number of cases in Kern to 53,694.

“Unfortunately today we are announcing what I believe is our single highest day of cases,” Constantine said.

Of these cases, around 800 of are from local prisons and skilled nursing facilities.

Constantine also told the Board Kern is expected to receive it’s first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines within the next few days.

“It’s exciting to know the vaccine is finally here,” Constantine said. “I think what that does is it provides hope for us.”

The State of California has allocated vaccines based on proportion of high risk of health care workers, targeting high risk hospital employees who have contact with COVID-19 patients, Constantine said.

“Hopefully there is an end in site,” said Constantine. “It is likely months away before (the vaccine) is readily available to Kern residents.”

As of Tuesday, the Intensive Care Unit rate of the San Joaquin Region, which includes Kern County, was at 1.6 percent. Kern’s ICU rate was at 4.8 percent, according to Constantine.

As of Sunday, Kern had 582 hospital beds available in Kern’s 10 hospitals, and there were only six ICU beds available, not counting the pediatric beds.

Constantine said there are 66 COVID-19 patients in the ICU in Kern.

The Kern County Public Health Department also continues its canvassing efforts. It has distributed all 12,000 gift cards to residents who got tested for COVID-19 in certain Census tracts. The Department has also sent out more than 6,000 mailings with testing information, and the canvassing team has gone door to door, informing residents of the importance of testing and preventative measures.

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez

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