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Darla A. Baker

Several times a week, Tehachapi News will receive a message from one of our readers asking the same question: How many people in Tehachapi have been tested positive for the coronavirus?

The answer continues to be the same — we don't know, and those who do aren't telling.

Early on, I asked a city official this question and was told that Kern County Public Health Services officials did not want to reveal this information for fear the public would treat the suburb, such as Tehachapi, Golden Hills, Stallion Springs, Bear Valley Springs or Sand Canyon, as if it had the plague.

Hmmm.... I'm afraid we are going to have to agree to disagree on this logic. 

I responded by saying that the whole world, in of itself, already had the "plague" and that breaking down the numbers per city like other counties do would not result in the public treating said city like a pariah, but would instead reaffirm the value of social distancing, the wearing of masks, to continue to wash our hands and disinfect, disinfect, disinfect.

But let's take this one step further. If I knew my next-door neighbor was inflicted and sheltering at home, would I hastily hire a moving company and abandon my apartment?

No, that's silly.

I would place bottles of water and rolls of toilet paper by their front door with a get well card asking them, should they need anything, to please post a note on their front door and I would move heaven and earth to get it for them. And, I would pray harder than I have ever prayed for their recovery.

And so, I am appealing to the powers that be who have the true Kern County statistics, and yet refuse to break it down per city, the time has come to begin doing so. Who knows? It may even help to flatten the curve.

After all, we the people are not asking who is infected. We are not requesting their names, addresses, ages, gender or sexual orientation, even. None of this is any of our business, and clearly a violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

We only wish not to be lumped in as the "mountain region" which stretches all the way from Kernville to Frazier Park and everything in between.

Bakersfield is listed as east, west and central valley. Why can't Tehachapi mountain people receive the same consideration?

I think that breaking down the statistical information will not, as a result, lead to widespread panic or a plague mentality.

On the contrary.

They say that information is power. For once, since this whole ordeal began, give the power back to the people so that they can adjust their sails, make informed decisions and better our chances of healing our little section of the world.

But that's my humble opinion.

Darla A. Baker is a reporter for Tehachapi News. The views expressed here are her own.

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