BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Kern County is now potentially one week away from moving to the next tier in the four-tier system regarding COVID-19.
The next tier would allow certain businesses to operate indoors at a lower capacity.
As of right now, Kern County is still in the purple tier of the four-tier system, and in order to move on to the red tier, we need to continue to meet certain metrics.
"Today we are day seven in a 14-day process of if we continue to meet these metrics, we will indeed move to the red tier effective next Tuesday, Oct. 13, so that's the hope," said Michelle Corson, public relations officer, Kern County Public Health.
Kern County is meeting the metrics the state requires to move on to the next tier, on Monday the county's adjusted case rate is at 5.5% and the testing positivity rate is at 4.7%.
But now the county also needs to meet an equity metric that measures the testing positivity rate in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods, like communities that have less access to things like healthcare or transportation.
The state says this is to ensure these communities don't lag behind the rest of the county. That testing positivity rate needs to be under 8% and as of Monday, Kern County meets that metric at 6.2%. This new measurement went into effect on Monday.
According to Megan Person, Chief Communications Officer for Kern County, this just adds to the frustration with what they say is an ever-changing metric system.
"It's a constantly moving target, we want to do the right thing, we want to follow the rules we want our people to get back to businesses, schools, and church and wherever else they want to go, but we just need to know what the rules are," said Person.
We asked Person about the letter county officials sent on Sept. 23, to Governor Newsom about the changing metric system, asking for more clarity and consistency on the measuring system.
23ABC was told the county has not received an official response from the Governor, nor have other counties who sent similar letters.
As of Monday, Kern County is meeting all necessary metrics and needs to maintain these numbers for the next seven days to move onto the next tier by Tuesday, Oct. 13.
"It will be a progression, we aren't going back to pre-COVID, right, so it is still going to be modified openings, but most of the industries that are currently closed to indoor operations, and are only able to operate outdoors, most of them are now going to be able to open indoors," said Corson.
Some of these industries include restaurants, tattoo businesses, movie theaters, gyms, and places of worship, but they will only be able to operate at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is lower.
Public health is focusing on maintaining social distancing guidelines in order to move the county in the direction of reopening.
"This is not a time to forget that all of our actions will make a difference so continuing to practice social distancing, wearing a face covering, not gathering. Don't let up on these efforts, we believe strongly that Kern County has come together and that is why we continue to improve our data and we are moving in the right direction," said Corson.
As mentioned, Kern County needs to maintain its current metrics for the next seven days in order to move onto the next tier.