BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — After five weeks of maintaining in the red tier, Kern County could potentially be moving back into the more restrictive purple tier as early as next week if our metrics don't improve.
Matt Constantine, the director of Public Health Services, spoke this morning at the board of supervisors meeting saying his COVID-19 report for the county wasn't particularly good news but it was something to be expected with COVID-19 case rates increasing across California and parts of the country.
"We are currently not meeting red tier metrics," said Constantine.
Kern County's Public Health Department told 2ABC the county's adjusted case rate is no longer meeting the red tier requirements, setting that metric back into the purple tier. As of Tuesday, that metric is at 8.9%.
Constantine added, "If we continue down this path and next Tuesday also fail the metrics the state will then three days subsequently push us back into tier one or that purple tier which would then result in a number of businesses having to shut down, similar to what we did previously."
These businesses include churches, movie theaters, gyms, and indoor dining at restaurants.
Kern County's testing rate as of Tuesday is 197.7 out of every 100,000 people, but the state's average testing rate has increased to 272.4 out of 100,000 people, which means that Kern County needs an additional 686 tests per day to meet the state's requirement.
"We are fearful that there are folks that are letting their guard down and thinking, 'oh you know COVID-19 is no longer an issue here in Kern County, our businesses have been able to reopen more recently.' Unfortunately, that is not the case," said Michelle Corson, Kern County Department of Public Health.
This week, the county-wide testing positivity rate is at 5.2% and the health equity quartile testing positivity rate is at 6.8%, both metrics still meeting red tier requirements.
"Our community has really come together and pulled together to minimize the spread of this disease, unfortunately, now we are seeing that we are falling back and are in jeopardy of falling into this more restrictive purple tier," said Corson.
But there is still time for the community to turn this metric around, and to do so, public health is asking for the community to continue following COVID-19 guidelines and getting tested.
Corson added, "This is the time that is going to be the most difficult because it is the holiday season, but we are telling folks you need to adhere to the guidelines which means you need to wear that face-covering when you are in public, period. We know this slows the spread of this disease."
Meanwhile, Kern County is not the only California county seeing a setback, some of these counties include San Diego, Santa Cruz, and Sacramento.