BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — During Monday's Kern County Public Health Department briefing, Director Matt Constantine rolled out a new California Department of Public Health modeling program that was a source of some concern. According to the model, Kern County would exceed the number of ICU beds due to COVID-19 by the end of July.
If the county increases the number of ICU beds as part of a surge plan, the model shows the county exceeding that number by the end of November. In addition, the county might not see a peak in hospitalizations as a result of COVID-19 until February 2021.
However, Constantine and Kern County Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop emphasized that these are based on a model, and may change due variables during those time periods.
Among those variables are population changes, hospitalization rates, beds available, when the county implemented interventions, and the degree of compliance. The latter variable could potentially have the biggest effect on the model.
Alsop explained that the increase in people getting sick would not be from businesses reopening, but rather from people making poor health decisions.
"People are not going to be getting sick from businesses reopening. People will get sick because they are making poor personal public health choices," said Alsop. "They are not wearing a mask when they are in close proximity with groups of people for sustained periods of time. They are not washing their hands regularly, multiple times a day. They are not cleaning surfaces that are in the public, that are touched over and over again. They are touching their face, their eyes, their nose, their mouth. They are getting around sick people... It's less about businesses reopening causing people to get sick. It's more about individuals making not very good choices."
Watch Alsop's Full Statement:
The Kern County Public Health Department also confirmed 86 new cases of COVID-19 in the county. There are now more than 3,200 cases.
More than 2,100 people have recovered from the virus and nearly 35,000 or just under 90 percent of tests have come back negative.
Officials say 53 deaths have been attributed to the virus.