Kern COVID status holds

Ridgecrest sees minor uptick in positive cases

By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

Kern County Public Health announced Wednesday that the county is still in the “red” tier (Tier 2) of the state’s “COVID-19 Blueprint for a Safer Economy.” It’s been four weeks since the county transitioned from the most severe and restrictive “purple” tier (Tier 1).

Locally, the Ridgecrest Regional Hospital announced a small increase in new cases in its Nov. 2 update. 16 new were detected over the span of a week – 14 in Ridgecrest and two in Trona.

“With the holiday season now upon us, we all play a crucial role in minimizing the impact of the virus in our community,” said Suver in an Oct. 29 release. “Please avoid unnecessary travel, large gatherings and multi-family events, which are proving to be key players in the spread of the virus.

“Recently we have been starting to enjoy some of the looser restrictions and returning to some form of normality; however it is critical that we all do our part to avoid moving back into more restrictive measures.

“We are a small town, without the hospital capacity of our larger neighboring cities and a surge in Ridgecrest and our service area could be detrimental to our efforts. Let’s all remain vigilant in our response and we will get through this together.”

Suver said in a later interview that the uptick appears to have “leveled off” with no additional positive tests over a 72-hour period. But he urged the community to “continue to be safe and practice masking and social distancing to keep our businesses open.”

The county at large has seen a small bump in “adjusted case rate” from 6.3 to 6.4 per 100,000 residents, but its health quartile testing positivity metric has improved from 6.3 to 5.4 percent (see covid19.ca.gov more more on these figures).

The county is holding steady with a 4.2-percent countywide positive test rate, which would actually qualify the county for the orange Tier 3 should the other metrics also improve.

The county has also increased its testing rate from 181 to 192.5 per 100,000 residents, but is still under the state median of 204.

“This increase is encouraging,” said a Kern County Public Health release, “however we need to continue to increase our testing to not only avoid that artificial case-rate adjustment, but also because testing is a very important resource to slow the transmission of this disease in our community.

“With flu season upon us, it is more vital than ever for residents to get their annual flu vaccine. This will not only reduce the burden of flu in our community, but will help preserve the health-care resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.”

Visit kernpublichealth.com/2019-novel-coronavirus for more information.

Story First Published: 2020-11-06