Kern County still red

State broadens vaccine availability

By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

As COVID positivity trends continue downward in Kern, the county remains “in the red,” and out of the most-restrictive tier of the state’s reopening framework. Additionally, the state has expanded vaccine eligibility to anyone in many areas.

Kern’s county-wide adjusted case rate continues to meet the red-tier metric, dropping to 5 cases per 100,000 residents (down from 7.8 two weeks ago). Testing positivity also continues to drop at 2.6 percent (down from 3.7 two weeks ago) – actually qualifying for “orange,” the next tier down.

While counties normally must meet a less-restrictive tier’s metrics for two weeks before moving, Kern County Public Health announced the possibility that Kern could still progress to the orange tier as early as April 7.

Should California meet its goal of administering 4 million vaccine doses to those in the population’s most at-risk quartile of the state’s Healthy Places Index, the case rate target for the orange tier will change from 3.9 to 5.9 per 100,000 – a target Kern will have been hitting for several weeks.

As far as vaccine eligibility goes, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that anyone from the two HPI quartiles that are most at risk can now get the vaccine. Most of Kern County, including Ridgecrest, qualifies – exceptions being the 93311, 93312, 93314, 93531 and 93287 ZIP codes.

Ridgecrest Regional Hospital and other vaccination clinics are still using myturn.ca.gov to facilitate vaccination appointments.

“The state is expecting providers will continue to prioritize those who are currently eligible; however, it is also giving providers discretion to vaccinate those who live in high-impact areas including families,” said the KCPH release.

As for local numbers, RRH reported that it is nearing 12,000 total tests with only 6 new positives this last week. The hospital has administered more than 5,700 to date. See future editions for updates.

Story First Published: 2021-04-02