BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Saturday marked two years since the first confirmed COVID cases in Kern County residents. On March 19, 2020, Kern Public Health announced that two Kern residents tested positive for the virus. Later that day they announced the third case. On March 27, 2020, they announced the first COVID-related death.
Now, two years later the county has seen over 240,000 cases and over 2,200 deaths. But throughout the multiple surges, Kern County experienced over 230,000 people in our community have recovered.
Now health officials are predicting that Kern County has seen the worst of those COVID surges.
Still, even mild cases of the virus can lead to long-term side effects. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that even minor cases of COVID can lead to diabetes.
The report looked at two large insurance databases for new diabetes cases between March 2020 and June 2021. It showed higher rates of cases but did not distinguish if they were type-one diabetes or type-two.
Doctors believe a COVID infection could trigger this response at least temporarily.
Meanwhile, more data on COVID vaccines and their impact on fighting the virus. Two new CDC studies show the vaccines remained highly effective even during the omicron surge.
The studies released Friday show vaccines did continue to protect against hospitalization, ventilation, and death from COVID-19 infection. At the peak of the omicron variant, data showed unvaccinated adults were 12 times more likely to be hospitalized than adults who had received both vaccinations and a booster.
The CDC says the studies show the importance of staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines, including a booster dose for those eligible.
So if you'd like to get a COVID vaccine or booster there are free clinics providing shots for people ages five and up. Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are available for adults and Pfizer is available for those under 18.
The next clinic is Monday at the Armstrong Youth Center in Bakersfield. There will also be a clinic at the Lamont Club in Lamont on Tuesday. Both clinics open at 4:30 p.m. and are running until 7:30 p.m.
In other vaccine news, Moderna is asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize a second booster shot for everyone 18 and older. To do that the company needs an amendment of the FDA's emergency use authorization.
That amendment would need to allow the fourth dose for adults who have had an initial booster of any of the authorized vaccines.