COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Kern County

Coronavirus Kern County
Posted at 6:06 PM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 22:57:27-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — For two days in a row, Kern County has seen more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 each day. On Wednesday Kern County Public Health reported 1,014 new cases of the virus. That puts the county at more than 47,000 cases of COVID-19.

In recent weeks cases have gone up rapidly since Thanksgiving and Halloween.

When it comes to deaths, Kern County saw a jump there too. Six people in the community lost their lives because of coronavirus. That brings the total to 463 since the pandemic started.

Public health also provided an update on community transmission of COVID-19. Fifty-six-percent of the people who tested positive said they came into close contact with another person who was positive for the virus. Of those people, nearly 70 percent of those said that close contact was with a member of their own home.

A mere 7 percent say they came into contact with someone randomly and contracted COVID-19. Another 7 percent said they got infected at work.

23ABC spoke to Chief Administrative Officer for the County of Kern Ryan Alsop Wednesday morning about the stay-at-home orders and the lawsuit filed by a group of Kern County restaurants. Alsop said he doesn't blame them.

"I think that a lack of a pathway to sustain some sort of business activity -- real business activity that actually matters -- where business owners can pay their employees and pay their bills, do all the things they need to survive. When they are not given a pathway to survive, I think that's when the governor runs into problems with compliance."

Kern County has 19% ICU beds available

Alsop added that it's tough for businesses and leadership alike because regulations and metrics keep changing.

When the pandemic first started-- hospital capacity was a top concern. As months went on the focus shifted to other metrics including daily cases and testing numbers.

Alsop told 23ABC the ICU bed availability rate is around 19% as of Wednesday, above the state's 15% mandate. However, Kern County is now grouped with other hospitals in the San Joaquin Region which remains below the 15 percent capacity.

During the holiday season, it's more important than ever before to get tested for COVID-19 and keep yourself safe. The Latino Task Force is holding a COVID testing event Thursday.

It's happening at Leroy Jackson Park in Ridgecrest. Testing is free and starts at 10:30 a.m. You don't need to register for a test but if you plan to go please wear a face mask.