Spike in hospitalizations could impact efforts to reopen the county

Kern County is moving further into phase 2 of Gov. Gavin Newsom's phased reopen plan, but, as COVID-19 cases increase, there is a concern that the county's progress about getting businesses and society fully open may be slowed or even reversed.

COVID-19 infections increased sharply over the weekend and into the first part of this week. 

After averaging 43 new cases last week, Kern County Saw 229 new cases reported Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

That's worrying numbers, but its not clear yet if this is a trend or a temporary spike in the numbers.

"Yes, there is a fear of not being able to open up stage 3 business," said Chef Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop said at a news conference on Monday. "There is a fear of not being able to sustain that recovery."

Kern County, like many of the state's rural counties, was able to start reopening businesses after convincing Newsom that the county would be able to handle the number of COVID-19 cases.

County officials said they can't pinpoint a cause for the increase in cases.

But Alsop and Director of Public Health Matt Constantine urged people to continue to take precautions against the spread of coronavirus by wearing masks and social distancing.

"As COVID runs through our community, we expect there will be variations in the numbers,” Constantine said. “It is a really good reminder that we all have an individual responsibility to protect ourselves and to take action. This is the only way we’re going to be able to flatten the curve. So as we see that numbers increase, we should all remember that there is more that we can do to protect ourselves, and our family, and our grandparents, and our parents, and our neighbors. That action makes an impact, not only on those cases, but more importantly on our hospitals and our ability to care for those that really are in need.”

On Tuesday the county reported 52 new cases and one more death. The County now has 2,386 total cases. There were 51 people in the hospital for COVID-19 treatment Tuesday.

On Wednesday, KGET reported the California Department of Public Health said Kern County had 33 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, the fifth highest rate in Kern County

At least half of the county's 39 deaths have come from three nursing homes where multiple residents and health care workers have been infected.

The Taft area had 22 total cases as of Tuesday with 15 recoveriess.
Two cases have been reported in the Maricopa area and one in the Fellows-Derby Acres area.