Kern County could face stay-at-home order following a surge in COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus Kern County
Posted at 4:44 PM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 20:23:47-05

The second surge of COVID-19 is making its way across the country including in California. On Monday Governor Gavin Newsom announced a possible shutdown for counties in the purple tier, which includes Kern County. 23ABC's Bayan Wang has more on the possible closures.

The governor said that a potential stay-at-home order is right around the corner but a decision hasn't officially been made. State officials are waiting for new COVID-19 figures from the Thanksgiving holiday. And so far it's not looking good.

The end of thanksgiving 2020 now marks the beginning of a second surge of coronavirus through California. Nearly 15,000 new cases a day for the past week resulting in the highest seven day average in California since the pandemic began

"Just to put this into perspective, our seven day average in terms of new case numbers is north of 14,000," said Newsom. "The previous peek was 9,881 compared to the close to 15,000 cases we are experiencing over a seven day period."

Newsom's biggest concern: an 89 percent increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations within the past 14 days with projections showing ICU beds reaching max capacity by Christmas Eve. But before then California may see a second round of shutdowns.

"We are assessing this in real-time in the next day or two to make determinations of deep purple moves in those purple tiered status that is more equivalent, more in line with the stay-at-home order," said Newsom.

That means more than 51 counties could be affected. In Kern County, the hospitalization rates are actually looking considerably better than the rest of the state. According to Kern County Public Health Director Matt Constantine, at last report, there are 131 patients being hospitalized for COVID-19 and 24 COVID patients in the ICU. But there are still 868 hospital beds available and 59 available ICU beds.

If there was an overflow like the state's projections show, Constantine is confident that county hospitals would be ready.

"They have plans in place now to add temporary additional beds that the state has authorized. Each hospital has their own plan and mechanism to do that increases their capacity by 40 percent. That's worst case. That could include tents setting up in the front, that could include converting non-traditional hospital rooms to hospital rooms," said Constantine.

Constantine went on to say that if hospitals still exceed capacity even after that surge plan then they will set up an alternative care site at the Kern County Fair Grounds. An additional 200 beds could be set up there in about 48 hours.

On Monday Kern County Public Health announced 130 new cases of COVID-19, which puts the county just below 42,000 total cases. This number is down from figures over the weekend. On Saturday the county saw 696 new COVID-19 cases. Then on Sunday numbers went down slightly to 499 new cases.

Today there were just 130 with no new deaths reported.


State of California Update for November 30, 2020