Medical providers, KC Public Health join together in COVID-19 safety message

September 17, 2021 /

The Kern County Department of Public Health, Adventist Health, Bakersfield Heart Hospital, Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente, Kern Medical, and the Kern Valley Healthcare District released a joint community message on September 17.

As hospitals continue to see an increase in patients needing high-level care for COVID-19, more than 98 percent of the cases needing to be hospitalized are in unvaccinated individuals. As of September 17, Kern County has had 1,515 deaths due to COVID-19 and a total of 134,297 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.

Between September 14 and September 17 there were 1,790 new COVID-19 cases, and ten new deaths, reported.

“We need your help to end this pandemic,” the message states. “If you are medically able to get the COVID-19 vaccination, we encourage you to do so.”

As of Monday, 47.6 percent of Kern’s eligible population has been fully vaccinated, while 57 percent has at least one dose of the vaccine.

Additionally, the message informs the community that they can support local hospital teams by only going to the hospital for life-threatening illnesses such as heart attack, stroke, or other serious medical conditions. The community is urged to use the emergency system responsibly and to only call 9-1-1 in a true emergency.

“Hospitals are here to help. But, we continue to see an influx of people seeking treatment in our emergency rooms and calling 9-1-1 for treatments that could be treated faster by seeking urgent care or scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician,” the joint community message states.

The KC Department of Public Health and local hospitals also used this joint statement to remind the public that local emergency rooms do not administer rapid COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic patients or people without qualifying symptoms.

The high number of requests for rapid COVID-19 tests in local emergency rooms contribute to longer wait times, delays in care, higher and unnecessary emergency room bills and co-payments, and difficulties in maintaining social distancing. For a map of local COVID-19 testing sites, please visit

As the Kern County Department of Public Health and local medical providers and hospitals continue to work together to care for this surge of critically ill COVID-19, they remind the community to get vaccinated, wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands, and to avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

Find out where you can get vaccinated by visiting