NewsCovering Kern County


Local health officials more concerned about flu than Coronavirus

Posted at 6:13 AM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 09:17:58-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A stern warning has come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding Coronavirus, the agency said the eventual spread of the virus in U.S. communities is all but certain. The virus, which originated in China, has now spread to communities in several other regions in Asia and Europe.

Kern public health officials say there have been no cases of Coronavirus in the county yet. In fact, they say the virus shouldn't even be the most of our worries at this point.

"There is no indication that this would be any more dangerous than the regular influenza we face on a regular basis," said Michelle Corson, spokesperson for the Kern County Public Health Department.

Seven people in Kern County have died from the flu this season, according to the health department. Which is the reason why they're saying Kern's main worry should still be the flu.

"There are more, far more people dying from regular influenza than we know of are dying, as far as the percentages go, with Coronavirus," Corson said.

Still, the Coronavirus made headlines on Tuesday as the CDC warned that Americans should prepare for "significant disruption," now that the virus has spread into communities in Italy, Iran and South Korea. Health officials believe the virus may not be able to be contained at the U.S. border.

"The immediate risk to the general American public remains low, but as we have warned, that has the potential to change quickly," said U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, who held a news conference Tuesday saying dozens of Americans already have the virus because they contracted it elsewhere, like China, or on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan.

So far there's been no community spread on U.S. soil, but one city to our north taking precautionary measures. The city of San Francisco yesterday declaring a state of emergency.

"While we have no active cases in San Francisco at this time, we are focusing our efforts on protecting the people who live and work here, and we want to be ready for what we anticipate may come our way," said San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Tuesday.

Breed says the declaration will kick start the mobilization of city resources, streamlining staff, and coordinating agencies across San Francisco. Kern County officials confirm there have been no cases of Coronavirus locally yet, the agency reminding that you can take steps to avoid both the Coronavirus and the flu.

"Washing your hands, practicing good hygiene, staying home if you're sick, that's the best thing to do for both of these," Corson said.

The Kern County Department of Public Health says if there were to be any cases of the virus here, they'd be the first to know because they'd be responsible for working with the CDC to test for it.