Resolutions to demand clarity from Gov. Newsom and grant paid time off for county employees approved

Posted at 11:49 AM, Sep 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-15 22:48:34-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — County officials have not been quiet when it comes to their frustrations regarding the state's decision to artificially adjust Kern County's COVID-19 metrics, making it more difficult for the county to reopen.

In a 4-0 vote, the board approved the decision for the county to draft a resolution to Governor Gavin Newsom, regarding the county's concerns.

As of Tuesday, the county technically meets the state's requirements to move from the Purple tier into the next step for reopening, the Red tier. In order to do so, Kern County would have to be below a case rate of 7. According to Kern County Public Health Director Matt Constantine, as of Tuesday, the county is at an unadjusted rate of 6.7.

However, the state made the decision to artificially adjust Kern's case rate numbers after stating the county was not testing enough.

As of Tuesday, the county's adjusted case rate is 7.5, which puts us over the metrics. Constantine said in order to meet the state's requirement for testing we would need to test an average of 607 more people a day.

"That is why as a board, we need to make a statement to the state," Supervisor Zack Scrivner said.

Scrivner suggested the board demand the governor provide clarity and consistency in his directives to counties regarding COVID-19. He suggested the board demand the governor allow counties to be judged based on their metrics and not add modifiers that penalize the county "for a voluntary action."

"To say that we are not having enough people go and voluntary test even though we have more testing sites than any central valley county is unfair," Scrivner said. "How do you compel people to go and get tested if they have no desire to?"

Constantine said that the county is doing everything it can to make testing easy and available to residents, including making it free, not requiring symptoms and bringing in mobile testing. He said that even though the county is equipped to test, it seems the desire to get tested has dropped and he does not believe we will be able to meet the testing requirements.

Members of the board remarked that while testing is free and available to everyone, after the U.S. Surgeon General's visit Monday, they feel the governor's requirements contradict those of other health officials.

"It was within the last two, three weeks that the CDC came out and said, 'Do not go get tested unless you feel like you have symptoms," Supervisor David Couch said.

The statement Couch was referring to was in regard to revisions the CDC released in August stating, "If you do not have COVID-19 symptoms and have not been in close contact with someone known to have a COVID-19 infection: You do not need a test."

In order to help the county meet those new testing needs, the board unanimously approved an emergency resolution allowing for the implementation of a countywide employee COVID-19 testing program.

Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop said the program offers Kern County employees paid time off to get tested for COVID-19. Employees are encouraged to take up to six tests between now and the end of the year.

The program runs from now through Dec. 30 and employees who participate will receive eight hours of paid time off that can be used next year. To be eligible for time off, each employee must submit proof of testing by Jan. 15.

Alsop said employees who participate in the program will be able to take tests on paid county time, however, they must "make every effort" to minimize the amount of county time used to take the tests.

Watch the full meeting below:

Coronavirus Testing Sites - Kern County

View Testing Locations Map

State-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free, but if have insurance they will bill
  • No screening criteria

Kern County Fairgrounds
1142 South P Street, Building 4, Access Gate 27

Rosamond Library
3611 Rosamond Blvd, Rosamond CA 93560

Arvin Public Health
204 S Hill Street, Arvin

Wasco Library
1102 7th Street

County-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free
  • No screening criteria
  • Operating with existing provider

Oildale - Good Samaritan Hospital
901 Olive Drive, Bakersfield
  • For Registration call (661) 215-7725
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am - 8 pm, Saturday 8 am - 12 pm

Ridgecrest - Ridgecrest Regional Hospital
1081 N. China Lake Blvd, Ridgecrest
  • For Registration: Text the word "testing" to 833-774-4968 Or Call 866-774-9984
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 10:30 am

Delano - Delano Regional Medical Center
1401 Garces Hwy, Delano
  • No Drive-Thru option
  • Hours: Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm

Kern River Valley - Kern Valley Hospital
6412 Laurel Ave, Mt Mesa Wheelchair Logo
  • For Registration call (760) 379-2681 ext 267
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Wednesday - Thursday from 7 am - 2 pm.
Tehachapi - Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley
1100 Magellan Dr 93561

Lamont - Kern County Library
8304 Segrue Road, Lamont, CA 93241
  • For registration call 661-869-6018
  • Drive-Thru and Walk-Up<
  • Testing available for ages 5+ only; parents must be present and give consent for children
  • Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 9 am - 2 pm; Tuesday, Thursday 2 pm - 7 pm

Taft - West Side Health Care District
  • For Registration call (661) 765-1935
  • Drive-Thru<
  • TTesting available for all ages; parents must be present and give consent for children
  • Hours: Tuesday – Friday 9 am – 1 pm & 3 pm – 7 pm; Saturday 11 am – 3 pm