With the average number of coronavirus cases climbing over the last several weeks, Kern County officials are watching and waiting in case state regulators force some industries to shut down after just recently reopening.
While hovering around 30 new COVID-19 cases per day during the most stringent part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order, Public Health Services Assistant Director Brynn Carrigan said Monday that the county was now averaging around 50 new cases per day.
“This is a good opportunity to remind our community of the obligation we all have to implement these protective measures to slow down the rate of transmission of COVID-19,” Carrigan said during a Monday press conference.
She added that multiple factors played into the increase, such as additional testing the county’s implemented and the ability for asymptomatic individuals to receive coronavirus tests.
“That is a helpful tool for us,” she said, “because then we are able to have those individuals who have no symptoms that do test positive identify that early and have them be under self-isolation so that they are not transmitting COVID-19 to anybody else within our community.”
Should Kern exceed certain metrics through a rise in cases, Carrigan said, the county would need to discuss possible actions with the state.
The state and county fund nine testing sites throughout Kern. County spokeswoman Megan Person said nearly 6,100 tests have been given at those sites over the last 35 days.
The county reported Monday that 33,369 residents had been tested for the virus with 8 percent, or 2,794, testing positive. Of the positive cases, 2,690 have either recovered or are recuperating at home. The new surge in cases comes as more businesses have been allowed to reopen and hundreds of protesters have gathered throughout Bakersfield for more than a week.
Carrigan said the county was happy to see businesses start reopening and as long as customers and employees followed guidelines, there was relatively low risk of coronavirus spread. As for the protests, she added that any time large groups of people from different households gather in one place, concerns arise for an increase in COVID-19 cases.
The county has implemented several measures in support of local small businesses that have struggled through the state’s imposed shutdown. So far, the county has provided more than $1 million in forgivable loans to small businesses, and plans to support 5,000 small businesses with handouts of personal protective equipment.
“We think this is going to be incredibly helpful for our local small business community to assist them in a very trying time,” Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop said.
The small business loans are still available. Visit kerncounty.com for more information.