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Officials discuss hospital staffing amid possible COVID surge

COVID-19
Posted at 5:31 PM, Sep 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-28 20:31:55-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Kern County Board of Supervisors met Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics including Kern County’s latest COVID numbers.

Within the meeting the Director of Public Health, Brynn Carrigan spoke about the progress the state has made while preparing for potential COVID surges.

Kern County officials are doing what they can to get ahead of potential COVID-19 surges including increasing staff where needed.

“It’s very difficult to estimate if we’ll have another surge or not if we continue to see variants it could be likely that we’ll see the fourth surge,” said Carrigan.

Carrigan said that on September 13 COVID-19 hospitalizations did peak with 336 hospitalizations and registered nurse and president of California Nurses Association, Sandy Reding said she saw this firsthand.

“We’ve seen a lot of patients coming in with covid, we’re seeing younger populations of patients with COVID, we’re seeing younger people die and we’re opening more units,” said Reding.

As it stands Kern County public health has seen the number of COVID cases decrease with the unvaccinated average daily case rate being 63 per 100,000 people on September 14 and 49.23 per 100,000 people on September 28.

But still, Carrigan said more progress needs to be made.

“Since my last update to your board additional medical staffing resources have secured for Kern County hospitals specifically 22 more nursing staff members were acquired through staffing resource request totaling 90 nursing staff through mid to late October,” said Carrigan.

Carrigan has also added additional six strike team members totaling 33 EMTs and paramedics originally deployed for two weeks which will now be three weeks.

And 9 additional national guard team members totaling 23, reding says these additional resources are helpful but won't solve everything

“We do see the national guard of EMTs being put into Mercy Southwest or Mercy Hospital downtown. But they have very limited ability as far as what they’re doing on the floors or what they’re doing in the unit,” said Carrigan.

Reding believes hiring is the best practice.

“It would be far better to fill the existing vacancies with registered nurses that are from our community invested in our community and that we could better serve our community and make sure we are prepared to for the influx of patients that we are receiving during this pandemic,” said Redding.

Both Reding and Carrigan said the best way to fight the pandemic is to get vaccinated and wear your mask.