Kern County residents speak about the fight against the COVID-19 surge

January 26, 2022 /

A mother of two, Claudia Guzman, wants to protect her family from COVID-19 in order to prevent any serious illness that would lead to hospitalization.

“A lot of people do not think that COVID-19 is serious, but in reality it is. A lot of people are dying all over the world, and we can pass it to another person and that could cost them their life. That’s why it is important to get vaccinated,” said Guzman.

Her entire family got sick from COVID-19 and she believes that the vaccine will help keep her family safe from getting infected because it is a safety defense against COVID-19 that will minimize the possibility of getting seriously ill.

Guzman got her fist vaccine with the hope that it will help protect her family. She believes that everyone should look out for each other by being protected.

“I came to get the vaccine because it is important to have a defense for the disease that is spreading. In December, I was sick and the vaccine is going to help a lot,” said Guzman.

Alicia Clemente, a Kern County Resident, speaks about her experience with COVID-19.

“Seeing as I have COVID right now, I’m staying at home for about 10 days until I no longer have the virus. I don’t want to be the reason why people around me get sick. I mask up at my house and eat separately from my healthy family members in my home, as well,” said Clemente.

She  is not surprised that there was a rise in COVID-19 cases. After a month of holidays and family/friend reunions and meetings, there was bound to be a surge soon enough. She also figured many people wouldn’t listen to the mask mandates either, which would add on to the surge, and she also noticed that not many people wear masks in stores and public places unless it is enforced.

“A huge part of me wants to believe there is hope of this pandemic ending but the other part of me bugs me into thinking there will be no end to COVID-19. At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, I remember hearing that COVID-19 would end up being really common like the flu. It certainly is starting to look that way now. We are two years in and the longer it goes on, the less compliant people are. I don’t blame them, I’m tired too but I remind myself that it is not about me. It never was. Unfortunately, especially in America, many people struggle to see it that way,” said Clemente

She is staying safe by getting vaccinated, putting on her mask when there’s a lot of people around, washing/sanitizing her hands whenever she can, and keeping her distance from others when possible. She is planning to get her booster after she is done quarantining.

Luis Garcia, a Kern County resident, got his booster to defend himself from COVID-19. He hopes that it will help keep his family and himself safe from being seriously ill.

Garcia’s sister has COVID-19, but Garcia explains that she is doing good because vaccines help a person defend themselves from the virus. She is currently in quarantine to keep others safe and to keep others from getting infected. Garcia is doing what he can to keep himself from getting infected.

“To stay safe, I am going out less, and I am using a double mask,” said Garcia.

Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, director of CDC, informs the public that vaccines and boosters help prevent people from being taken to the hospital, reducing the amount of COVID-19 patients in hospitals and urgent care.

Cases are higher for those who are unvaccinated and lower for those who have received their vaccine and booster. It’s important to be up to date with vaccines. Those who are unvaccinated are at greater risk of infection and are 5 times more likely to get infected compared to those who are vaccinated.

“In some parts of the country we are seeing the number of daily cases caused by the Omicron variant beginning to decline, but as we have seen during other phases of this pandemic the surge and cases started at different times in different regions and may continue to see high case counts in some areas of the country in the days and weeks ahead,” said Dr. Walensky.

Kern County residents are taking action to protect themselves from COVID-19. Being updated with COVID-19 vaccines provides protection against infection. More people are getting vaccinated and more people have faith that the vaccine will help protect their health to prevent serious illness.

CDC recommends getting vaccinated, getting boosted, wearing a mask in public indoor settings, and to consider taking a test before gathering with others.

Erica Murillo

Erica Murillo is a project coordinator and reporter at South Kern Sol. She was born in Bakersfield, California, and her origin is from Guanajuato, Mexico. She is a first-generation graduate from California State University, Bakersfield where she earned a degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in English. Murillo's first job was working in the fields picking grapes. She has been able to evolve and continue to grow within her career. She can be reached at