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Newsom visits Kern County, talks positivity rate, availability of COVID vaccine

"We are increasing this week and moving forward by 58% the availability of vaccines in the Central Valley. in Kern County the increase is 78%.”
Governor Gavin Newsom
Posted at 5:22 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-25 15:05:05-05

KERN COUNTY, Calif. — The governor met with local officials in Arvin on Monday amid the race to vaccinate Californians.

According to Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh, she texted Newsom, requesting a visit. What followed was the governor’s first visit to Kern County during the pandemic, bringing with him some good news for senior citizens and farmworkers.

"We are increasing this week and moving forward by 58% the availability of vaccines in the Central Valley. in Kern County the increase is 78%.”

According to governor Gavin Newsom, that's nearly 15,000 additional vaccines that will arrive in Kern County this week.

"Hopefully this will soften a little bit of the stress, but nonetheless increase the expectation."

According to Kern County Public Health Director Brynn Carrigan, those additional vaccines will be issued to senior citizens and farmworkers.

"We do have to prioritize 70% of those to the 65 and older population, but 30% are available for those in that phase 1b criteria, which is education and food and AG workers," said Carrigan.

It would be the first time farmworkers in the county would be recipients of the vaccine, a group that Newsom says should be prioritized.

"These are the folks that never took a day off, these are the folks that never complained, these are folks that wake up every single day and were there for the rest of us."

As it currently stands, the state's my-turn app does not allow anyone to schedule a vaccination appointment, if they are outside of phase 1a groups or if they aren't 65 and older.

Newsom says the state is working on fixing that issue.

"We're transitioning with a new platform at a scale no other state in America has ever endeavored to do and I'm mindful that is rot with a potential pratfall and a little bit of bumpiness in the transition."

In the meantime, Newsom says California has better days on the horizon.

"I see bright light, and what I mean by that is that the state's positivity right now has dropped down to 3.0% today. Just 30 days ago it was 8.9%.”

23ABC asked public health if the increased distribution of vaccines to Kern County will be continuous, they said they are unsure at this point but hope that is the case.