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Kern County prepares for expected surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations

“Our case rate is continuing to increase."
COVID-19 hospitalizations
Posted at 4:18 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 20:27:39-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — As Kern County continues in this fourth surge of COVID-19 cases, the state’s health model predicts Wednesday will be the peak for COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

Based on charts presented on Tuesday, omicron has definitely made an impact in Kern County. Now, Kern County has about 178 cases for every 100,000 people.

Just three weeks ago, they had about 15 cases for everyone 100,000 people, but despite the numbers the county is working with the state to stay ahead of the virus.

“Our case rate is continuing to increase. However, over the past couple of days it has increased at a much smaller rate than what we have seen in some previous increases,” said Brynn Carrigan, Director of Kern Public Health.

Carrigan said this promising news, means the state model predicting the peak for Kern County to be on Wednesday, may be right.

He added, the severity of the symptoms have been lower with this variant.

“We are seeing substantially shorter hospitalized durations for patients. They are in the hospital for a much shorter time than what we see in previous surges and there is also a much smaller percentage of our cases that are resulting in hospitalization for the omicron surge.”

Although, the numbers in the Public Health Data chart suggest that Carrigan did note that hospitalization data is not complete until the patient is released from the hospital. With 300 patients still hospitalized, this current data chart does not reflect those patients.

Even with lower hospitalization rates hospital’s officials said they're still short staffed and need additional resources.

Currently there are two state teams that have been here since the previous surge, which lasted from July 2021 through November. They have since helped the county to provide 24 more ICU beds even during this current surge and are expected to stay here through February.

A third team of 63 hospital staff is expected to arrive Wednesday at Good Samaritan Hospital.

“Right now, we are not able to take all the admissions that are coming into our facility. This will allow us to take those admissions, as well as offload some of the other hospitals and ER’s who physically do not have the space. We will be able to assist the whole community with that,” said Minty Dillon, CEO of the Good Samaritan Hospital.

Dillon explained that Good Samaritan Hospital does have enough beds but not enough staff to take care of the patients.

While the peak is expected Wednesday, hospitalizations tend to continue for a bit after the peak: “So, it is absolutely critical that we get that help and I think it is perfect timing for it as well.”

This third team is expected to be up and running by Friday, and all state teams will be reassessed and if another surge comes, they will request to stay past their end dates.

While hospitals are slammed with cases and more people have been using at home test to see if they are positive, the Public Health Department has released an online portal where people are encouraged to submit their at home test result information which will include name, ethnicity, type of test, the test date and a picture of the test.