The Kern County Public Health Department confirmed Tuesday 1,143 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 175,585 cases.
There are no new deaths being reported today and a total of 1,936 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic. The 7-day case rate is 58.6 per 100,000. One week ago it was 15.2.
As of Jan. 9, 1,060,285 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered to Kern County residents, and 449,994 or 52.6 percent of Kern’s eligible population have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
As of yesterday, Kern County had 199 COVID-19 related hospitalizations and 29 are in the ICU.
“Local COVID-19 related hospitalizations are increasing, but our ICU numbers are currently remaining relatively stable,” says Brynn Carrigan, Director of Kern County Public Health. “We hope this is a sign that Omicron will cause less serve illness; however, hospitalizations typically trail increases in cases by a couple of weeks, so it is too early to know for sure.”
Kern County Public Health continues to garner additional resources to ensure Kern’s pre-hospital and hospital systems remain available to serve residents in need. Two state-staffed teams are currently in Kern that have expanded both regular and ICU hospital bed capacity, providing approximately 25 ICU beds and 15 med-surge beds to Kern’s capacity. It is anticipated this staffing will remain through February, at which time needs will be reassessed.
Additionally, Public Kern also has an ambulance strike team consisting of five ambulances with 10 crew members and a supervisor assisting with ambulance response to 9-1-1 calls through Jan. 20, 2022. Finally, Public Health is working to bring three state-staffed strike teams consisting of twelve medical staff for each team assigned to the emergency department in three hospitals to assist with offloading patients from ambulances and patient care in the emergency room. These teams are expected to arrive this week and be in Kern through the end of March, according to Kern Public Health.
Kern is experiencing high volumes of 911 calls that are taxing the entire emergency response system, public health said.
“We urge our residents to use the emergency system responsibly and call 911 only in a true emergency such as a heart attack, stroke or other serious health condition,” a press release.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently announced that emergency medical services workers to fall under the healthcare worker Isolation and Quarantine guidance. This allows expedited return from isolation/quarantine during critical staffing shortages. Additionally, on Saturday, CDPH announced a temporary allowance for asymptomatic positive and exposed healthcare workers, including EMS workers to work while wearing an N95 respirator, due to extreme staffing shortages in these positions statewide.
“With this recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Kern County, and the presence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, it is imperative that we use as many layers of protection to prevent the spread of this disease,” said Carrigan. “Individuals with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease or who are obese are at higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19.”
“Even if you do not have underlying chronic conditions, it is imperative that we all keep our bodies healthy and resilient by eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of rest, and exercising regularly.”
Additional layers of protection include: getting vaccinated against COVID-19; getting your COVID-19 booster as soon as eligible; wearing a mask while in indoor public settings; staying home when sick or exposed to COVID-19; washing your hands often; getting tested before gathering or traveling; and gather outside or increase ventilation when indoors
Visit www.kernpublichealth.com for the latest information on COVID-19 in Kern County, which includes interactive maps of vaccination and testing locations.