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As COVID cases continue to rise, variants remain a cause for concern

Drop in COVID-19 precautions may be the cause.
Coronavirus Kern County
Posted at 5:43 PM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 21:08:51-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Cases of the coronavirus variants continue to rise in California and Kern County. On Tuesday 269 new cases of the virus were announced bringing that total to 114,079 infections since the pandemic began. In addition, one new death was also reported bringing that total to 1,427. The number of delta variant cases remains at 39.

Michelle Corson, the Public Relations Officer of Kern County Public Health says that a drop in COVID-19 precautions may have led to the increase. She says the state refers to variant testing as genome sequencing which is a second testing process to trace variants, and the process isn’t a simple one

“The labs are not reaching out to inform residents if they have been impacted by a variant,” said Corson. “You can’t just walk in and say I want to be tested for one of the variants. It doesn’t work like that. They are two completely separate tests and so all of the genome sequencing is being done at the state level in partnership with labs across the state and groups who are taking these positive cases and running through the genome sequencing to determine if they are a variant so they can track and learn more about these variants and how they are impacting our communities.”

Corson also says a variant diagnosis would not change the preventive measures a person takes.

“It is not going to impact the way you conduct how you stay safe. If you test positive for COVID-19 whether or not it was a variant the steps will be the same to recover.”

However, variants remain a cause for concern.

“What is being revealed about these variants is the transmissibility being higher, potential for more severe illness and death, and also the way it responds to treatments. Those are the key things being looked at. But one thing that is universal with the variant concern right now is transmissibility and the delta variant really is the star when it comes to its desire to thrive and it is much more contagious which is what we are being told by the state.”

According to public health in the state, younger people remain a cause for concern since 57 percent of cases are people 18-49-years-old.

“The majority of cases and hospitalizations are those who are unvaccinated," added Corson. “I will say that obviously, the data is indicating we are seeing an increase in hospitalizations and our cases so we are seeing increases across the board in the last three weeks in particular.”

Corson says there has been an increase in vaccinations in Kern County. At this point, 49-percent of eligible Kern County residents are now vaccinated, which is a 27% increase in the last three weeks.