Kern County Public Health gave an update on the county's response to COVID-19 Thursday and announced a new section being added to the COVID-19 dashboard.
The new addition to the dashboard will be a "presumed recovered" section. Public Health officials said that many people have not gone the full distance in finishing their case recovery, so they are still counted in the "isolated at home" section. In trying to get a more accurate representation they will take the cases that have met the criteria for isolation and no longer pose a risk to the community and add them to the presumed recovered numbers. They expect 2-3% of the isolated at home number to move to the new presumed recovered section.
They also gave an update on the laboratory issues that caused the backlog of cases throughout the state. According to the state, the issues are resolved but issues were seen as recently as Wednesday. Public Health is going to continue to move forward and said they are going to closely monitor it.
In the area of personal protective equipment, Public Health stated next Tuesday the board of supervisors will vote on a recommendation to build on what's already been distributed to small businesses and organizations. Through an agreement with Community Action Partnership of Kern, PPE will be provided and distributed to the neediest and the program will target participants of WIC, the Food Bank, and youth and senior centers across Kern.
The board of supervisors will also be considering a recommendation during the same meeting to create more flexibility for those employees who will have the added difficulties of having their children being at home and not physically attending school. This plan will allow the employees with the ability to work from home with the option to do so to be present for their children. For those that are not able to work from home, childcare expense reimbursement will be offered.
In an update for the Kern Recovers Program, the City of Bakersfield was lauded for its plan to provide financial assistance to small businesses. Over the last two months, the county has infused $30 million into the local economy through the Kern Recovers Program. The program has provided help to 938 small businesses throughout the county and 255 different industries. Public Health said the additional assistance from the City of Bakersfield was needed and it thanked the cities leadership.
The press conference also touched on the school waivers for in-person learning instead of doing distance learning. They specified that the waivers are for elementary school only, Public Health will review the school's that apply individually, and then they will be sent to the state to see if they meet that criteria.
So far 20 schools in the county have shown interest and two schools have finished the application and wait for county review.