Kern Public Health reports 74 new COVID-19 cases, one death

you're looking at the new numbers right now 74 new cases were announced today in Kern County bringing our total to four thousand one hundred ninety two and the new peak we so when we look back at County when they released their numbers they go back and they take those numbers and they put them on a graph according to what day those people were tested for the virus so all those tests those 74 new cases came back today but they go back and they relegate them to the day when they were tested and that shows that our new peak was actually around June 10th in Kern County that was the day that we saw the most cases diagnosed so far here in Kern County since the pandemic began so we have been watching that peak you know we talked so long about flattening the curve here in Kern County we thought that we were doing you know well enough in that respect and that our hospitals had enough capacity to move forward with reopening but we have now seen that new peak coming in in June well let's go ahead I think we can take you live now and here is public health director Matt Constantine with the latest on the numbers and reopening positive cases in Kern County residents and one death we also yesterday after 5 o'clock received 367 doses from dem severe and that is being distributed was distributed partially last night and today to all of our 10 acute care hospitals and I'm going to defer my skilled nursing facility report to Georgiana Armstrong but I will turn it back to Megan for a report on the testing okay today we have a couple of updates to make on our code 19 testing sites there are still the state funded sites as well as the county funded sites we are approaching 12, 000 tests completed since the beginning the state sites I want to remind you that they move depending on usage so they need to maintain a particular level of usage and so thankfully we're seeing an uptick in several of those locations you have sites in Arvin at the public health building the Kern County Fairgrounds which is a drive-through only location the Wasco library and rosamund our county funded sites also remain open there is a change the site in Oildale at Good Sam Hospital has now switched to seven days a week and operates from 6 a.

m.

to 2 p.

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to accommodate the heat the locations in Taft Delano Kern River Valley Ridgecrest Tehachapi in Lamont remain open and that concludes the information for our testing sites I'm going to pass it over to Georgiana Armstrong to give an update on our skilled nursing facilities Thank You Megan I appreciate this opportunity to brief you on the actions the county has taken with regards to assisting our skilled nursing facilities to maintain their operations in a way that is safe for their staff their residents last week the county developed a comprehensive checklist and deployed to County staff teams those teams visited all 19 sniffs last week we're compiling that data and it helps us to build our understanding of the gaps that may exist and ways that the county may assist these facilities to address those gaps the California Department of Public Health CD pH has indicated interest to partner with the county staff for future site visits so those are those will be done and those are currently being planned given the extraordinary impact kovat has had on the skilled nursing facilities the county is taking extraordinary action to measure it with the incident we are focusing on the big-ticket item so to speak and the first one is infection prevention and control each facility has an infection prevention specialist the state has resources to assist those facilities however the county felt that additional resources in this particular area was vitally important we are close to retaining edition infection prevention specialist resources that will be funded by the county under the cares Act and the purpose of that team will be to visit the facilities as an extra set of eyes to help identify gaps and issues that might not be noticed by the facilities to provide guidance training tutoring mentoring consulting and also to report back to the county so that we have an understanding of gaps and how the county might work forward to assist those facilities to address those gaps keeping the prevention out of the facility keeping the infection from spreading within the facility must be our primary focus and it is our highest concern in most incidents common in emergency management it is important to gather input from what are known as stakeholders and those are the organizations and agencies that have participation in a particular event to this point it has been the county the state and the skilled nursing facilities but we recognize now that a key stakeholder group is not represented and that would be residents in these facilities and their families and the staff working out these facilities we believe the fact that they are on the ground they are living this experience gives them a unique opportunity to provide us with valuable information from their perspective from what they see so we are establishing a phone line and we are asking for those constituents who have input and suggestions and ideas and want to raise issues that the county should investigate further we want to have a mechanism to accept that input we are working on an email that will be announced next week that is not ready to go however a call in function is active and ready to operate the phone number is area code six six one eight six eight zero five five five let me repeat that number it is six six one eight six eight zero five five five we take your input seriously and we appreciate any input you can provide to help us assist these facilities to better protect the residents and staff thank you and Thank You Georgiana we're going to turn it over to our chief administrative officer Ryan Elsa good morning everybody today in Kern County population nine hundred thousand-plus we are continuing to expand our testing throughout the county we have tested today fifty-three thousand two hundred and forty seven residents for kovat nineteen forty eight thousand three hundred and sixty eight or about ninety one percent of those tests have come back negative we are seeking results of six hundred ninety seven or about one percent of the total people tested four thousand one hundred and eighty two residents or about 8% of the total tested have tested positive today of the four thousand one hundred and eighty to residents who tested positive for kovat nineteen 4048 or ninety seven percent of those people have either fully recovered or are isolated in recovering at home treating their symptoms on their own today 70 residents or two percent of those who've tested positive are receiving some form of care in an area hospital sixty four or two percent of those who have tested positive have unfortunately passed away today at least twenty nine deaths are being attributed to skilled nursing facilities these are the facilities that were just discussed by ms armstrong we have eight hundred and four available hospital regular beds in hospital hospitals throughout kern county 804 we have 83 available ICU beds today a little bit on the current recovers program the current recovers a loan program for small businesses to date we have distributed a little bit over ten million dollars in funding to three hundred and eighty different businesses across 155 different business industries the average loan is a little over $25, 000 and it's taking about 15 days from application to having money in bank accounts we're proud of that that number tap the turnaround is fairly quick again we're asking all small businesses in Kern County who have not received federal PPP assistance to go on Kern County comm write on our home page there's a link to the current recovers program and you can apply for some financial assistance at one of four financial institutions that are listed on our website you do not have to be a number of those financial institutions in order to get this funding so I would encourage all small businesses again who have not received PPP whether you were non-essential or have have been essential throughout this endeavor please go on line and seek financial assistance from the county through the federal cares act our PPE personal protective equipment program we're going to be distributing personal protective equipment to five thousand we're targeting five thousand independent small businesses throughout current County that's a five million dollar program information on that program will be forthcoming and we're looking at July first as a the program launched for for that endeavor please go to again Kern County comm to get information on that program we are going to make PPE available to we're targeting five thousand five thousand independent small businesses here in Kern County to receive masks you know gloves and other protective equipment Sante sanitation equipment etc a little bit about the governor's metrics and how the counties are continuing to be monitored by the state and how counties are monitoring themselves across three different critical areas that have to do with testing positivity rate case rate and also hospitalized patients the the you can track our progress on this on a daily basis there's a little bit of lag in the data but on a daily basis you can go to the state's website which is kovat nineteen dot ca.

gov I wanted to report that the the seven-day average that it also has a seven-day lag for testing positivity rate here in Kern County is currently six point four one percent the goal of the state is to have that below eight we are below eight we're at six point four one tomorrow we're projecting that we will be at five point nine six percent under that testing positivity rate category case rate for a hundred thousand people over a 14 day period today we are at ninety two point three the goal is to be less than a hundred we're below that goal today tomorrow we're projecting we will be at eighty one point five three on that category the third category dealing with hospital capacity the percent change in the three-day average of hospital hospitalized patients today we're at nineteen point six percent the goal is to be below ten percent we are above that goal today tomorrow we're projecting to that number to be lower it will be sixteen point four but still above the goal of ten percent that is a category we continue to watch we go in and out earlier this week where we were below ten percent we're back up above we're likely to go back down below again in any one of these parameters we go up and down and these are conversations that we have with the state targeting each one of these categories having conversations about why these numbers are where they are and and what we can do with the state working with the state locally to those numbers I talked about the hospital beds and the ICU beds just lastly businesses please continue to follow the guidance that has been provided by the state the public health guidance if you're following that guidance with rigor and your employees are following it with rigor you're communicating with your patrons who are coming in to your businesses you have signage communicating this if you're following that guidance we are doing everything we can to help manage this the spread of this virus the we believe that we're doing a great job as a county in the business community following that guidance but we would ask today a big favor of our business community please have people coming to your businesses wear a mask it's an easy thing to do post a sign on the door no shoes no shirt no mask no service just add a mask to that sign that would be very very helpful in in helping spread the news that masks are a good addition to the the regiment that we should all be practicing which is good hand-washing distancing not touching your face cleaning surfaces staying away from people if you're sick all of those things in addition to wearing a mask when you're in and around groups of people businesses you can be a helpful participant in this endeavor in our community by simply posting a sign on your door and asking your customers to have a mask on now for restaurants you know people that are sitting at a table who are able to distance don't have to wear a mask but when you go into the restaurant you should be wearing a mask and wearing a mask all the way to your table and then you can take it off but a big part of making sure that the community is wearing masks would our businesses helping us out with this it's a very very easy thing to do I went and filled my car up with gas this morning I went into a Chevron they had a sign on the door that said wear a mask I had my mask on I went inside everybody in that facility was wearing a mask again this is a very easy thing to do again please no shoes no shirt no mask no service if somebody doesn't want to wear a mask coming into your business they can come back later and you can tell them kindly you know you could you might want to come back at a different time you might want to check us out online you know and provide some other options maybe you want to supply them with a mask that would be a good thing to do you can get masks to supply your your customers with masks through the county's PPE program that we're getting ready to roll out July 1 so with that we're happy to answer any questions that you might have Thank You Ryan so we'll follow our typical method remember it is star six to unmute our first outlet is can Zr do we have anyone on the line with questions this is Tony Lee from KMC our and just wondering with the way things are going with more numbers coming in of people that are being tested positive is that doing anything at all in the minds of the health officials that would change how you know opening up the county because there was some talk at one point that if the numbers weren't too high we may have to walk that back a bit and close things down again where do we stand with all of that so that's a question for our Director of Public Health you know one second [Applause] good morning Tony good morning yeah so we do monitor the number of positive tests that we receive from all of our testing sites beyond the ones Megan has we have a lot of other testing sites I think there's a total of 54 when you look at all of the clinics and everybody else that's helping with testing that number though Tony stays pretty consistent as as Ryan indicated it hovers somewhere between five and eight to nine percent positivity that number is pretty consistent now the question you're asking though is does that present some sort of concern or risk for the economic vitality of our community and as Ryan also mentioned the the use of these guidance documents for our business sectors I believe makes that business even safer than it was originally these precautions that our businesses are taking significantly reduces the risk of transmission so as long as we're following that carefully we're asking the employees to do it and there and that and the customers to do it that ensures that we are able to remain open that we stay off that watchlist it makes sure that the employees of that business are safe I mean you don't know if that employee is caring for a sick parent at home or an immune compromised child so you know your ability to take that action that individual action helps protect the families of those employees so it is something that we recognize as important we want to continue to push for that and advocate for it and I think testing is a key component of it but today I think we're doing well we just need to continue monitoring it Tony does that answer your question yep it does thank you very much they're next out what is the Bakersfield California anyone on the line with questions well that's it BAM can you hear me we can your little soft Sam so if you could speak up that'd be helpful okay sorry is this better that is thank you okay cool and yeah my question today is following along the lines of what Ryan was saying about the masks I know you guys have probably gone over this before but just because I've seen a lot of skepticism about maps out in the public is there anybody there who could talk about why masks work and what you guys would say to somebody who you know doesn't think mass or effective at curbing coronavirus yes that we're gonna have Kim Hernandez our lead epidemiologist respond to that so give us just a one second good morning there we know there's a lot of conversations going on around masks this is one of many of the tools that we recommend to reduce their risk of transmitting kovin 19 face mask cloths face coverings are intended as what we call source control and so when you when I wear a mask that is to protect me from transmitting to other people and so what that does is that keeps any virus or other germs that we might be exhaling close to me and on my face and that keeps it from spreading to the things around me to the people around me wearing a cloth face covering or mask is not a substitute for physical distancing it is not a substitute for washing your hands it is not a substitute for staying home when you are ill all of those things still apply this is an additional mechanism to provide additional protection if you look in our healthcare facilities for many many years our health care providers have employed this as a measure of source control in our healthcare system so we are broadening it now outside of our healthcare system to apply to the rest of our daily lives to provide additional protection for all of those around us we encourage people to talk to their health care providers about wearing them and and have the pains of your health care providers as well as follow the recommendations from the CDC the recommendations from the California Department of Public Health this is one tool used with many to help reduce the spread we have in our community thank you Thank You Kim our next outlet is channel 23 anyone on the line with questions yes I'm here this is Tori Cooper good morning good morning go ahead so this question maybe for Georgiana Armstrong so 20 we have had a chance to speak with the California advocacy director of the AARP and what they told us is that they're getting multiple reports of nursing homes evicting some of their residents to make room for more lucrative kovin 19 patients because allegedly the more positive cases that the field nursing facility that they get the more money they get so we're wondering if public health has any knowledge of this happening here and have you talked to the state about it as you guys need any changes in the last four months I know that you guys have had some conversations within weekly daily or just wondering now if you guys have any reports of this happening and what's being done in terms of the communication between public health care local and state thanks Tori we'll have Georgie and I respond to your question thank you the skilled nursing facilities are highly regulated and have to follow certain criteria and it is the sole responsibility of the California Department of Public Health to enforce those regulations and what you are talking about that 30-day notice is a state requirement so that is not something that the county has been involved in to this point and it is not something that was that is within our scope of authority the project that I've been assigned to by the Board of Supervisors is strictly focused on kovat related issues as it relates to the skilled nursing facilities so what you're discussing is beyond the scope of our project and it is beyond the scope of what the county has the authority to enforce my suggestion would be to reach out to the state and talk to the California Department of public health and asked them that question fair next outlet is come Seoul anyone out of line sorry go ahead Tory did you have a follow up lesson yeah yeah I did um so our other question was you know many other towns across the state have created a list of businesses in their local area that have received positive Toba 19 cases and even our sister station in San Diego is also now wondering why Kern County is essentially one of the only County that doesn't have a list of those businesses and yeah so we're trying to figure out Kotori your question we're gonna have Kim respond to that so give us just a second hi sorry as we've discussed before if there is a significant community exposure we will absolutely be notifying the public what we found in many of our case investigations is that most people who are identified as cases are closed contacts of other individuals a large group of these are people who are household contacts or our contacts in social gatherings are small settings and that they are able to identify the close contacts that they are with and that they are able to notify as well as the Public Health Department notify and follow up with those close contacts we are trying very hard to not unfairly penalize businesses who are doing the right thing and that if there is a staff member at a business hopefully those businesses have procedures in place to protect their other employees and the public and so if there's a relevant community exposure absolutely the public will be notified if what we have in what we consider closed systems where there isn't a need for a public notification then all of those notifications happen through employers and through Public Health to make sure people who may have been exposed are made aware so that they can quarantine for the appropriate period of time and watch themselves for symptoms thank you ain't you Kim okay our next outlet is Kern Seoul star six to unmute okay our next outlet is channel 29 anyone on the line my god can you hear me Kim here from channel 29 we can Tim go ahead great thanks for taking the time couple of questions I know mr.

all thought was talking about businesses in relation to the math what about government buildings are you guys in for seeing that folks who come into government buildings at the time have faced covering dot yes yes so the County Administrative Office and many of the others all have a requirement that to come into our buildings you must wear a masking okay and then my other question is in relation to be private businesses and again I appreciate that they are private businesses I saw yesterday the governor Newsom basically threatened to withhold 2.

5 billion dollars in next year's budget to counties that don't comply with the different mandates coming down obviously we do have a face mandate and again even though they're private businesses are you guys at all gonna look into more formal enforcement of that math mandate or you still just going to strongly encourage businesses what's the plan going forward if the cases in the state continue moving in a not great direction then we're gonna have Ryan respond to your question thank you hi the state mandated it I mean it is mandated the state California came out and gave that directive and it's mandated we are making sure that everybody understands that that was the directive and I think that one very easy way if you want to talk about enforcement is the participation of businesses in our community that are being frequented by people to have signage asking those folks to wear a mask when they come into their businesses when they leave the businesses and they get in their car they can take their masks off they can take the mask off at home we we're continuing to communicate with with everybody what the state guidance is as it as it relates to kovat you know for for for individual businesses the the the mask directive all of these things we are continuing to engage with the public on individual businesses on and again I would I would just say that I think the governor's statement there was directed at some other counties frankly and some other individuals and other counties as opposed to Curran I don't think it was talking about Kern I think we're doing a good job here making sure that folks are following the state guidance and again it's our our plea and and in request to the business community who is doing a very good job following guidance to please help us you know communicate to your patrons that they need to be wearing a mask when they come in again no shoes no shirt no mask no service thank you guys okay our next outlet is channel 17 anyone on the line with questions can you hear me we can go ahead all right I want to follow up a question I had for Public Health yesterday about sports specifically club team sports also prep sports I've got some local people here who were saying hey it's time to allow teams to practice you know observing guidelines and recommendations and so forth but time to let them back out there and they cite a guidance document in the state about day camps and what they have shared with me and what I preserve be the case in San Diego County among some other counties they've taken the guidance of a de Kamp's applied it to sports teams and allowed those teams to practice on a limited and you know supervisor basis why has Kern County not viewed those guidance documents pertaining to day camp in the same way San Diego County has yeah but we'll have Matt respond to your question thank you morning Bob morning hey this is a timely question we've been working on this actively and this highlights some of the confusion it's coming from the state you've mentioned de Kamp's the guidance for de Kamp's there's also other guidance documents as it relates for to recreational facilities and other outdoor events and they all seem to not address the youth sports component so we in fact have reached out now twice to the state asking for clarification also recognizing that other counties have chosen to go against the order and to allow youth sports in some occasions or at least talking about it we've referenced and evaluated San Diego – the state has very clearly told us in writing that youth sports are not allowed at this time that they are developing guidance documents specifically for youth sports and they expect those to be released soon so at this point we have been reiterating that message from the state highlighting that it is not allowed under that current order and we want to make sure we're doing everything we can to adhere to the order previously we've talked a little bit about some of the discussion from the governor about not following the order and we don't want to be in that position we want to keep our numbers down and again those guidance documents really help provide some actionable practical things that we can do to limit the spread within that those specific industry sectors does that address your question Bob yes thank you thank you making me I follow up on Adam sir came to any question um as I'm sure you're quite well aware President Trump just a few days ago talked about testing and how we perhaps are doing too much testing I'm wondering if you have heard from any current County residents urging you to listen to the president's suggestion on observation and reduce the amount of testing we have not heard from the group that's represented here today we have not heard that feedback if you work you hear that feedback how would you how do you think you would address a county basically going against the president's recommendation so we're gonna have Matt respond so Bob let's see first off testing and early identification is a cornerstone to trying to address this virus if we can test and especially now we're detecting asymptomatic individuals people that don't have symptoms that we're testing and identifying that they're positive they become the potential spreader of this virus without even knowing they're sick and they present a real risk to others so testing those early on identifying them asking them to isolate and then doing that contact tracing is key in prevention of further outbreaks it's also important to recognize the state is judging us on the number of tests that we provide that was a key metric that we had to meet before we could even ask for the stage-two variants that we had enough testing at a certain level to even meet it some counties didn't even meet that minimum level and then therefore couldn't even submit their application for that variance so it remains critical for us to continue that our numbers is at the sites that megan is mentioned are up the drive-through clinic at the fairgrounds those numbers are doing really well we have a new site in Roseman that did more than a hundred yesterday and the day before we are detecting that illness early and I think that is key to flattening that curve and to keeping the numbers below so that our hospital system is able to respond anything else Bob no thank you thank you Matt okay our next outlet is Telemundo do we have anyone on the line with questions hello can you hear me we can go ahead hey that's right here from Telemundo so I've got a couple of questions for you guys first of all as you know over at premix farms in Wasco some 31 workers farm workers tested positive for covin 19 as you know the grape harvest is just about here where thousands of farm workers if they can find them are going to be up here work in the fields of Kern County my question is we've been hearing from farm workers who say that these companies are not giving them the adequate coverings that they need to work out in the fields they're working much closer together than they should be working some of the people affected of copa90 NAT premix farms have contacted us saying hey look the company that failed to notify us in a timely manner that so-and-so had Cova 19 so now we have it and we've and we're afraid of spreading it to our families what is public health doing if anything to address the issue with farmworkers and the and the upcoming grape season where thousands are expected to be out in the fields thanks Jose I think we're going to have yes hang on one second Jose good morning I'm gonna ask him to help me with a response to your question we we share your concerns and these are important individuals that we should protect we have been doing much more outreach to our Hispanic community we have some PSAs that I think you're aware of that becoming out with some of our notable community leaders to help emphasize the need for taking action and being safe we have a big meeting coming up in Delano next week with a number of the subcontractors for farmworkers highlighting the importance to take action now to ensure that as employers they are providing the necessary changes to their environment to their employers employment environment so that we can control it each business presents some unique issues that we're going to have to deal with and clearly that is the part and soul of current County we got to make sure that they are protected also if you don't mind Jose I'm going to ask him to provide kind of the contact tracing and epidemiology side of this question also all right Jose good morning part of our case investigation and contact tracing process includes reaching out and working with employers and other businesses where they have an employee who may have an employee who's positive oftentimes businesses also reach out to us for agriculture in particular we have spent many hours talking with various businesses as well as their subcontractors to educate and help them understand some of the best practices we do know that in certain industries there are limitations on whether or not you can physically distance and we're working with them so that they can develop their internal policies to keep their employees as safe as possible we welcome any concerns that individual employees have so that we can reach out and educate their supervisors and management about you know effective measures to help keep them safe this is something that has been done all along we've worked with a number of employers to help them develop out their written plans and then you know sometimes and we often do provide feedback to them as we hear from patients that we interview about what going on actually you know on the ground where they're working and ensure you go on some workers though specifically at Grimley farms have told us they're afraid to speak out against management because they're afraid of retaliation they would like to see do they have is there a whistleblower line where they can remain anonymous and speak in Spanish to denounce these conditions they say are going on we've heard from numerous people ed Grimley farms about this I understand what death has occurred at grimwade farms so in the larger agricultural industry as you know many of these workers because of their immigration status are afraid to speak out have you guys thought about establishing a whistleblower line so that they can denounce these actions or at least check out these accusations so we currently don't have a specific whistleblower line we do have our call center where we do take complaints we have a number of patients who talk to their the nurses who are following up with them as well as our our other contact tracing staff whenever we speak with employers we never mention names we never say who you know we we take as we always have confidentiality and privacy we hold that to the highest standard we talk to those employers we tell them what we have heard sometimes we are hearing from you know a friend of a friend of a friend that this is going on and we do reach out and we let them know our concerns we hear you know what their what processes they have in place and whether or not those are things that can that there are changes that they would like to implement and help work with them to help them make effective changes I wouldn't call it whistleblower line but we do welcome those questions all of our the vast majority of the staff we have in our call center are bilingual and do speak Spanish so that they can give those reports as well as we have nursing staff who speak Spanish so they can provide that information in Spanish so that we can reach out to those employers to those you know direct supervisors if that's so we always maintain privacy and confidentiality this is what we have heard from as the public health department sometimes from multiple sources and we do try to help educate all of those employers to continue to keep their employees safe all right so a distal annual meeting coming up this will be with labor contractors is that correct Jose I'm just looking at the invitation that we were asked to participate with the California Farm Workers foundation hopefully I'm not speaking out of turn it looks like it's a public meeting it's a covert 19 informational meeting prevention practices facts and myths resources and information social distancing monitoring employee health the notice here says Tuesday June 30th 11:00 to 1:00 at the Hyatt Hotel in Delano so again it's not our event we've been asked to participate we'll have two spanish-speaking individuals I think it also might be presented online but that is coming up and that's the event I was referencing all right I do have one other question from a viewer that contacted us so I just want to add throw it out there and see if this is even even true but according to this viewer this viewer told us they're not even sure if it's a he or she but they tested positive for covert 19 but were allegedly told by public health kern county public health that they were not contagious and that they could go back to work is that even possible so I'll toss him to try to respond to your question as a hi Jose all of our our case investigation staff our nurses reach out to those positive members of our community they assess those members and at certain you know at a certain point they are deemed to be not contagious once they are not contagious they are released back to work so without knowing details about this particular viewer who called you we couldn't say for certain what happened in this case but in general all of the all of our cases are SS and at a certain point in time are assessed as non contagious which is when they are released from isolation and allowed to go back to work okay so essentially you do more information about the specific case is that right sounds like it all right thank you I'm gonna pause and see if any of our other stations have follow-up questions okay that will conclude our briefing for today June 25th we'll see you next week thank you and you've been listening to a live update from Kern County Public Health and County officials on the latest on the corona virus crisis here in Kern County again 74 new cases were announced today here in Kern and one new death was also announced in just under 3000 people have currently recovered from the corona virus a lot to impact from that meeting there we'll have a full recap for you come up today on 17 News at Noon as well as at 5 and 6 for now have a great Thursday.

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