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Kern County moving into red tier

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Posted at 9:16 AM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 15:11:03-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Kern County officials said during the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday that the state will announce Kern is in the red tier.

"As a community, we have made tremendous progress in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 in Kern County," said Matt Constantine, Director of Kern County Public Health.

Moving into the red tier means more industries can reopen on a limited capacity, including hair salons, malls, and retail stores, museums, zoos and aquariums, schools, places of worship, movie theaters, hotels, gyms, restaurants, bars, and family entertainment centers.

  • Personal care services are allowed to open indoors.
  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums are allowed to open indoors with 25% capacity.
  • Places of worship can open indoors with 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
  • Gyms and fitness centers can open at 10% capacity.
  • Restaurants can open with 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
  • Movie theaters can open indoors with 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

All of these guidelines are effective immediately.

Public Health said on Oct. 28, two weeks following the County officially entering into the red tier, schools, including higher education, can open for in-person instruction, with modifications. That would mean by the end of October.

Constantine said if Kern County were to go back to the Purple Tier in the future schools would not need to fully shut down. He added more precautions would be put in place but overall, they would remain open.

Schools can reopen in two weeks

The Superintendent of Schools said Tuesday morning local districts will likely return students to school in phases, starting with those most at-risk of learning loss. All adults and students in grades 3 through 12 will be required to wear face coverings while on campus.

Officials did stress the need for residents to continue to be vigilant, practice healthy habits, hand washing, wearing masks to keep moving forward.

Matt Constantine: "This is not a time to stop."

"We're not done. This is not our goal. We're here to say we are moving into red, but up next is the orange tier and after that is the yellow tier. We are on a path, we don't wanna fall back," said Constantine. "So please understand, we are acknowledging improvements. This is not a time to stop."

For Kern County to move to the red tier the county must be below seven new cases per 100,000 people, have a less than 8% positive test rate as well as health equity metric.

Each county is assigned its tier every Tuesday, and a county must remain in a tier for 21 consecutive days before moving to the next one. To move forward, a county must meet the next tier's criteria for 14 consecutive days. Kern County will need to maintain these metrics in order to remain in the red tier. If Kern's numbers begin to rise, or if state officials see a rapid rise in hospitalizations, we could see a return to the purple tier.

To learn more about the State framework, visit www.covid19.ca.gov.