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By Jamie Stewart
The Shafter Press 

Virus spikes; mask compliance poor


Last updated 8/9/2020 at 3:45pm | View PDF

Despite digital road signs that implore residents to “Wear a Mask” and “Stop the Spread,” the number of people testing positive continues to rise and some officials are concerned by the amount of people who are not wearing face coverings.

The number of covid-19 cases grew by 200 in Shafter, with 803 confirmed cases compared to 602 last week. In Wasco, there are 847 reported cases, an increase of 219 from last week.

The Kern County Health Department says those figures might not mean that 200 people in either city contracted the virus this week. Withy an increase of testing in the county, there is a backlog of tests waiting to be processed, which skews the numbers of confirmed cases.

Meanwhile, Shafter High School is joining the rest of the Kern High School District in switching to distance learning, while hoping in-person instruction can begin after Oct. 9, and that the fall sports calendar can begin in December. With Kern County being back on the state watch list, Shafter saw many of its non-essential businesses close, with restaurants being able to offer only take-out service and outdoor dining.

Shafter’s city buildings are closed to the public, with services available through a window in the alley of City Hall.

The City Council and several agencies, including Shafter Recreation and the Richland School District, held a meeting recently on how to move forward in the pandemic.

Richland Board of Trustees member Deanna Rodriguez-Root said she was surprised by the number of people in town who are not wearing masks. She said the Kern County Health Department said that it is not the city’s responsibility to police the wearing of masks by residents. Board member Tammy Criswell-Rubio said, “I contacted the Health Department to see who is responsible for enforcing the wearing of masks. They told me that it is the county’s job to enforce it, with them encouraging residents to contact them if they see violations.”

Root asked if it would come to having to fine people who are not complying. The majority of the attendees doubted that this would ever become necessary in Shafter.


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