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County Official: Kern County Fair will likely not happen due to COVID-19

Kern County Fair
Kern County Fair
Kern County Fair
Kern County Fair
Kern County Fair
Kern County Fair
Posted at 4:43 PM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-17 15:12:09-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Even though the Kern County Health Department has not implemented any additional closures, officials said Thursday that many businesses in the county may still close down soon in light of a dramatic increase in positive COVID-19 cases that they are expecting to see.

However, the big news coming out of Thursday's health briefing is Kern County fairgoers may have to look elsewhere this year for hot dogs and fun.

“I will say that I seriously doubt that the fair, the Kern County Fair as we know it and enjoy it every single year as it is typically put on - seriously doubt that will happen,” said Kern County Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop.

Kern County Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop talks about the fair

23ABC News reached out to the Kern County Fair Board and its director for comment on Alsop's statement.

Fair officials responded: “We do not have anything to add to the Public Health Department's statements about the fair likely not happening and a final decision on the fair will be on Monday, July 20 by the fair board during their public meeting.”

During the briefing, Kern County Public Health also explained some of the creative strategies that have been discussed and proposed by the fair.

“Some ideas about some drive-throughs for food. I’m not certain of the status. You will probably have to talk to the fair board about what their intentions are,” Kern County Public Health Director, Matt Constantine said.

Health officials also have concerns about the space usually used for the fair. As of Thursday 14 homeless residents who tested positive for COVID-19 are currently being housed in trailers on the site.

COVID-19 Trailers

The health department also mentioned that the fair is doing their best to find ways to still accommodate the 4H kids that work so hard each year to sell off their farm animals at the fair.

In a 23ABC News Facebook poll, the community shared their voice, with more than 70 percent agreeing that the Kern County Fair is not a good idea this year.

Another key topic discussed: funding for distance learning and students.

Sunshine Year Media Literacy
In this, Dec. 20, 2017 photo, Jennifer Rocca, top center, a teacher librarian at Brookfield, Conn., High School, works with freshmen in her Digital Student class. The required class uses Google Chromebooks to teach media literacy skills and has the students scrutinize sources for their on-line information. (AP Photo/Stephen Dunn)

“We’ve got to work collaboratively with all of the school districts, the state government, the federal government to do everything that we can ensure that the vast majority of all of our kids are connected,” Alsop said.

He added that the funding for the districts and other impacted areas in the community heavily relies on the federal CARES Act and that the longer COVID-19 is among us, the more resources will continue to dry up.

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As for another possible state-mandated shutdown, county and public health officials said businesses that are open now may have to adjust their services to meet state guidelines as early as next week. This in light of the dramatic increase in positive COVID-19 cases that officials said that they are projecting to see as early as Friday.

“As it stands now even in the worst-case scenario we're likely... we probably don’t have to worry until next week or middle or late of next week. But we depend on the state to provide us those metrics,” said Kern County Public Health Director Matt Constantine.

The Kern County Health Department also addressed the spread among farmworkers and the implementation of the new mobile testing cites they said may be available soon.

“There was some discussion earlier this week about making this effective next week,” Constantine said.