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Kern County could regress to more-restrictive purple tier as soon as next Friday

Posted at 5:00 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 20:19:12-05

KERN COUNTY, Calif. — Kern County is continuing to see an increase of COVID19 cases, which could mean lots of changes for the community in the near future by moving to the more restrictive purple tier.

“We’re kinda seeing this westward trend of cases increasing throughout the country, and unfortunately now that has impacted all of California,” said Michelle Corson, public relations officer, Kern Public Health.

Kern Public Health has been reporting an increase in the number of daily COVID cases recently, with 251 cases reported Thursday, along with one new death.

As cases increase, so do Kern’s chances of slipping back into the state’s more restrictive purple tier, which would affect some local industries.

“Our restaurants would have to move to an outdoor only environment, our gyms and our places of worship, those no longer would be operating indoors,” said Corson.

Suppose the county does slip into the purple tier next week. In that case, Michelle Corson says those restrictions would take effect starting on Friday, Nov. 20, which is bad timing for businesses like Hodel's that would miss out on offering dine-in Thanksgiving meals. They usually serve 3,000 people on the holiday.

“It impacts us dramatically if we cannot have indoor dining,” said Don Hodel, owner, Hodel’s Country Dining.

If the county regresses to the purple tier, Hodel’s says they will still offer Thanksgiving meals for pickup. Speaking of Thanksgiving, Kern Public Health says that as far as family gatherings go, proceed with caution.

“That means if you are going to gather, keep it small with up to three groups of families. Do it outdoors and keep it short,” said Corson.

If that change happens, the only way the county could progress back to a less restrictive tier is if the case rate goes down. Still, state guidelines say the county must remain in the purple tier for a minimum of three weeks if it regresses. Corson reminds the public to stay vigilant, especially during the holidays.

“And that is wearing that face covering, staying socially distant, don’t go to gatherings. If you do gather with others try to do it outdoor and with few people.”

Another thing working against Kern right now is the so-called penalty that county leaders denounced in September. Kern will continue to be penalized as long as it doesn’t meet the state’s average testing rate.

Right now, we’d need more than 600 more tests to happen per day for that to happen.