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Couch's Corner: Vaccine offers hope; stay-at-home order in place

District 4, we now have a vaccine that offers us hope that we can finally begin to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, but we still have a stay-at-home order we need to follow, at least for a while, until the vaccine starts to make a difference.

At the beginning of this month, Acting State Public Health Director Erica S. Pan announced a Regional Stay-at-Home Order that supersedes the state’s tier based “Blueprint for a Safer Economy.”

In an effort to reduce the rise of test positivity rate and hospitalizations, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new regional stay-at-home order is based on capacity at hospital intensive care units in five regions of the state. If a region’s ICU capacity reaches less than 15%, a region has 24 hours before the order goes into effect. The San Joaquin Valley consists of the following counties: Calaveras, Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare and Tuolumne. Currently, the San Joaquin Valley's ICU availability is less than 10%. The term of the order is for at least three weeks from the date the order takes effect in a region.

Upon the completion of three weeks, the order will remain in place until the California Department of Public Health’s four-week projection of a region’s available adult ICU capacity is greater than 15%. After CDPH terminates the order for a region, each county within the region will return to the tier-based system in the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy.” According to CDPH, the number of new hospital admissions has increased from 777 on Nov. 15, to 1,651 on Dec. 2. Please remember to wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance to slow the spread.

Also, support small businesses in District Four. During this period of economic uncertainty, businesses spent financial resources to implement public safety measures developed by CDPH and Kern County Public Health Department.

I look forward to collaborating with the County Administrative Office to acquire additional relief funding that continues the success of the Kern Recovers Small Business Relief Program. Several of California’s 58 counties, including Kern, voice concerns with Gov. Newsom’s use of executive authority to move the goal posts for reopening.

Thank you to Public Health Director Matt Constantine for your coordination with CDPH to ensure the network of hospital systems in Kern County’s expanded ICU availability. Please stay encouraged by the progress our county has made to save lives and protect livelihoods.

If you have any questions about this or any other matter, feel free to contact us at [email protected] or at 661-868-3680. Have a safe week.


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