NewsCovering Kern County


Public Health believes the omicron surge will calm down in upcoming months

Posted at 5:55 PM, Jan 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-14 21:24:37-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — It’s been nearly two years since this pandemic began and even though the fatigue has set in and we are seeing rising COVID-19 case numbers, there are reasons to be hopeful.

Now even though COVID-19 cases are rising, it might not be a cause to panic. Some medical experts think we could hopefully see cases start to drop soon, but it’s still important to stay vigilant.

“You know here in Kern County, we were in a peak that sort of plateaued over the months, I would say, of October, November and then we started to come down a little bit in December. Suddenly now you know, in the first or second week of January, we’ve started to see a rise,” said Dr. Ghassan Jamaleddine, Chief Medical Officer for Adventist Health Kern County.

Dr. Jamaleddine said they are seeing a rise in hospitalizations too, even though it’s not as high as numbers during the delta variant, he says they are feeling the impacts of the surge.

“What we’re dealing with is our health system is stressed because of the omicron impact on our staffing. Because of our increase and surge of people coming, especially after the holidays, with illnesses other than COVID.”

As of Friday, the state reported Kern County has 248 people in the hospital with COVID-19 and it is on the rise. This is more than double what it was three weeks ago, but experts say it doesn’t appear to be as severe as previous variants.

“We have people in the intensive care unit but not as many as we used to see when we had the delta variant,” said Dr. Jamaleddine.

When it comes to the numbers of infections on the dashboard, it gets a little tricky. The new number of cases that get reported to the county reflect tests given on different days.

With about 2,000 new cases on the dashboard on Friday, the time range of these reported cases vary from weeks to a days before the data is released.

With the number of deaths from the virus, Public Health said it takes time to report those numbers. So, the deaths reflected now are all still people who lost their lives in December.

Dr Jamaleddine said it’s more than just numbers now: “The testing positive is becoming less relevant right now, we have to look at hospitalizations and cases that are sick.”

He said the value of testing is being able to isolate so you don’t spread the virus but if you get symptoms, you might need to seek medical attention.

“The most important thing I would say is if there is shortness of breath, that’s when the virus would be affecting the lung.”

Thankfully, there is light at the end of the tunnel: “Hoping right now that this will be getting better in the next week or so, and we’ll get out of it here in Kern County without having to go into crisis mode.”

Now residents aren’t required to report home test results to the county but are encouraged to share results on the test’s app or directly to your health care provider. The Public Health Department says they are working on a portal to report home testing results directly to them.