BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — During Thursday morning's briefing by Kern County Public Health, officials mentioned there has been a jump in positive cases of the virus at both local skilled nursing facilities and our local state prisons in just the past week.
"Over this past week, 42 new positive staff within 12 of our skilled nursing facilities and 56 new positive residents at seven facilities, with 23 of those happening yesterday within a single skilled nursing facility," explained Brynn Carrigan, Assistant Director for Kern County Public Health. "Additionally, our prisons are experiencing significant increases in cases. Our five state prisons saw an increase of 206 cases in inmates just yesterday."
As federal officials work to approve a vaccine, state officials say the county still hasn't seen the worst from Thanksgiving. 23ABC spoke with Dr. Elaine Batchlor, CEO of Martin Luther King Junior Community Hospital in Los Angeles. She said we're not even close to seeing the full post-Thanksgiving spike in cases.
"We won't see the full effect of Thanksgiving until around Christmastime. That's why you're seeing the strong reaction now because we are on the wrong trajectory now. We are having this incredibly fast increase already and if we continue on this trajectory our health care system will be overwhelmed and we will see the number of deaths going up."
Batchlor did say there is light at the end of the tunnel with the FDA currently meeting and potentially having a decision by the end of the weekend which could lead to a rollout of vaccines soon.
Meanwhile, Kern County Public Health officials said that vaccines should be arriving locally this weekend and that nurses, doctors, and staff at local hospitals will be receiving the first round of them.
As for local COVID case numbers, Public Health reported 990 new cases bringing the total to more than 48,400. Officials said they are still seeing the impacts from the Thanksgiving and Halloween holidays.
There were no new deaths reported and that total remains at 463.
And to help local residents continue to get tested for COVID-19, the Latino COVID Task Force is hosting another free testing site Friday. The event will be at the parking lot of the Lamont General
Store located at 10405 Main Street. The site will be open from noon to 4 p.m.
Free masks will be available as well courtesy of Adventist Health Bakersfield.