Kern County officials addressed the rise in coronavirus cases Thursday morning as County Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop delivered a passionate statement concerning the move down into the purple tier.
While Alsop said the county can't let up and can't let its guard down when it comes to the virus he applauded what the majority of residents are doing so far.
"Our community is doing a good job. I want to thank our business community. For the past 9 months who have been whipsawed by varying rules and procedures and directives, who are struggling. I want to thank our business community for the effort they are putting in to comply, to make sure that whether they are a retail business or a restaurant, or anybody in between, making sure their employees and patrons are safe so that the spread of the virus is extremely limited. And just thank you very much for all the work and effort you are putting in under very difficult circumstances."
Alsop then went on to thank schools for the work they have done in dealing with the pandemic.
"I want to thank our schools, the administrations at these schools, teachers for everything that you have done and everything you will continue to do to have our children back in the classroom safely and responsibly. The work - your work - right now is the most important work being done in our community if you ask me."
He also extended thanks to health care and essential workers.
His voice cracking, Alsop talked about the stress the pandemic has put on everyone.
"We are all tired. We are all over having to deal with this hell of a mess that we are in. We are in short socially, emotionally, and financially overwhelmed. Spent."
Though he gave Governor Gavin Newsom credit for dealing with a difficult situation, he also said he understood how some have become frustrated with the situation.
"To be fair to the governor leading the state through this time, doing all you can to manage through this and manage the spread of this virus is a very tall order. Particularly when there is no instruction manual for it and the future of the virus being uncertain."
"However, this frustration that you feel is real, and we understand it. You have every right to feel the way that you do. And those of you who are at your end, you have every right to voice your dissatisfaction with the way things are being handled."
Alsop also placed the blame for the recent increase in cases not on local businesses, but individuals instead.
"Our local contact tracing shows no evidence that restaurants, gyms, churches, or schools are contributing to significant spread in our community. Nor do we have any evidence that they are the catalyst to the surge in case rates we are experiencing now. Our local data indicates that this virus is being spread with regularity through private social gatherings and in situations where individuals are not practicing or are ignoring altogether the litany of best public health practices."
"While the vast majority of us in Kern County are doing all we can, it just takes a very small fraction of us to blow it for everyone."
You can watch his full statement below: