Kern slides back into the Purple

Kern slides back into the PurpleAfter briefly enjoying a step toward normalcy amid COVID-19 closures, the state announced today that Kern, along with 27 other California counties, is moving back into the most-restrictive Purple Tier (Tier I) of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Six weeks after moving into the Red (Tier II), Kern County’s adjusted case rate has climbed from 6.3 to 8.9 per 100,000 residents, placing us back a tier. All other metrics continue to qualify for the red tier.

"Kern County’s testing rate has increased from l92.5/100,000 residents to 197.7/100,000 this week," said a Kern County Public Health press release. "Unfortunately, testing rates have increased throughout the State which has caused the State’s testing median to increase to 272.41/100,000 residents.

"Based on the current Kern testing rate and the State’s median testing rate, Kern needs approximately 686 additional tests each day to avoid the artificial adjustment to our case rate. Testing is also a valuable resource for controlling the spread of COVID-19 through identification and early isolation of those who are infected."

According to California Governor Gavin Newsom, the spread of confirmed cases in the state is "faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer."

"We are sounding the alarm," he said in a press release. "The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes."

Moving back into the purple tier means the closure of bars and breweries and a return to outdoor-only seating for restaurants. Movie theaters and other family-entertainments centers are also required to close and places of worship are mandated to return to ouddoor services. For details, see covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy.

"Holidays usually mean gathering with friends and extended family, attending parties, hosting dinners, traveling, and celebrating time-honored customs," said a state release. "But some holiday activities promote congregating and mixing of households, which increase the risk of transmitting COVID-19."

Regarding private holiday gatherings, state guidance to help prevent viral spread is as follows:

– Masks and physical distancing required

– No more than 3 separate households attend (including the host’s)

– Gatherings should be 2 hours or less

– Those with symptoms must not attend

– Those at high risk of severe illness strongly encouraged not to attend

– Singing, shouting, chanting, cheering, or exercising strongly discouraged

Public officials and health spokespersons continue to urge members of the community to wear masks when in public, wash hands regularly, practice physical distancing and limit mixing with others outside their household.

"Now is the time to do all we can – government at all levels and Californians across the state – to flatten the curve again as we have done before," said Newsom.

Story First Published: 2020-11-17