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Virus Cases slightly rising in Kern County

The county is slightly rising in covid-19 cases and is backsliding on its progress to reach the yellow tier, Kern County Public Health Director Brynn Carrigan said.

After restaurants and movie theaters have reopened, there has been a surge in the number of cases and hospitalizations.

“As of Monday, May 10, there were 28 people hospitalized and 9 are in the ICU,” Carrigan said.

While Gov. Gavin Newsom is planning California’s reopening plan, Kern County remains conservative in its efforts to reopen completely. While some restaurants have opened their doors to indoor dining such as Denny’s and Catrina’s Mexican Restaurant, Starbucks and Panda Express continue to keep their lobbies shut to indoor dining.

Even though the numbers are nowhere near what they were during the surge (in January), according to Carrigan, “the increase is being watched closely.”

“The county now has a case rate of 3.4 per 100,000, an increase from 2.8 cases last week,” Carrigan added.

In addition, the other metrics are also trending upward, but still meet yellow tier requirements. Carrigan said that the county’s positivity rate of 1.7% has increased from 1.3% last week. The health equity positivity rate is 1.9%, a slight increase from 1.8% last week.

In order to meet the yellow tier requirements, Kern has to have 2 or fewer covid-19 cases per 100,000 people and a positivity rate of no higher than 2% and a health equity quartile positivity rate of no higher than 2.2%.

Carrigan also said that the soonest the county could enter the yellow tier would be May 26. Kern County must meet all metrics for two weeks prior to moving into the yellow tier.

Carrigan explained several factors are responsible for the recent increase in cases and hospitalizations, including a decline in vaccination rates and the recent rise of variants in the county.

On Tuesday, May 11, Wasco had 5,413 total cases with 2,258 recovered and 3,045 possibly recovered while Shafter had 3,552 total cases with 1,384 recovered and 2,079 possibly recovered.


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