News23ABC I-Team Investigates


Kern's COVID-19 death demographics show majority of deaths were 65+ with an underlying medical condition

Coronavirus Kern County
Posted at 10:14 AM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 14:38:44-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The Kern County Public Health Department has updated its COVID-19 dashboard to now include information regarding COVID-19 death demographics and according to the data, the majority of Kern's COVID-19 deaths were over 65-years-old and had an underlying medical condition.

According to the data, out of the 371 reported COVID-19 deaths 247, or 66.6%, were 65 years or older. Out of the total deaths, only 12 people were reported not to have a known underlying medical condition. 132 deaths reported were also reported to have hypertension and 119 people were reported to have diabetes.

Just last week 23ABC News aired an investigative story about how Public Health was refusing to release additional data related to those who have died in Kern.

Health officials told 23ABC News that they could not release this information because it would potentially be a violation of HIPAA rights.

Public Health also told 23ABC News that they were working with a statistician expert to determine what more they could release and they did not provide a timeline of when we would see the new data.

Now just one week after the 23ABC I-Team investigative story, when you visit the Public Health COVID-19 dashboard, you can enter a section with demographics of Kern County residents who have died from COVID-19. The information there includes the age ranges, race and ethnicity, and sex of those who have died.

The dashboard is also displaying underlying medical conditions for those who have died.

23ABC, through public records requests, received the contract between the county and statistician Khaled El Emam. According to the contract, Emam was contracted to examine and compile data for the county back in April for a salary not exceeding $6,000.

Last week 23ABC submitted another public records request to determine just how much Khaled El Emam was making and documents show in August his contract was extended to December 30 and his salary increased to $23,250.

It's still unclear if we will see more information released by the statistician and the Public Health Department, however documents show the statistician will continue to receive compensation.

Click here for a link to contract agreement and amendment.