State on road to fully reopen

Public Health continues urging vaccinations

By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

Kern County residents are among the 88 percent of Californians in the “moderate” orange tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework. With all counties out of the “widespread” purple tier and less than 12 percent of the population in the “severe” red tier, the state announced it is on track to reopen all businesses.

COVID-19 testing positivity in Kern County remains low enough to qualify the county for the least-restrictive yellow tier. The only thing holding the county back is it’s testing positivity rate of 3.4 percent – still declining, but not below the 2-percent trigger.

But that may not matter come June 15 when the California Department of Public Health announced it will “fully reopen its economy across the state … with common sense health measures,” according to a release.

The only requirements are that there is enough vaccine supply for all eligible Californians who wish to be vaccinated and that hospitalization rates remain stable and low. Health measures like mask wearing and some vaccination requirements will still apply for some sectors.

Meanwhile, Kern County Public Health continues to advise vaccinations as one of the best ways to keep infection numbers low.

According to the CDC more than 87 million people in the United States are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Of those vaccinated, less than .008 percent (that’s 8 out of 100,000) have been infected with half as many needing hospitalization. “This tells us the vaccines are preventing infections and severe illnesses,” said a KCPH release.

“Not only do we encourage residents to protect themsleves against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated, we ask everyone to take the vaccine to help protect your loved ones, neighbors and entire community,” said Brynn Carrigan, KCPH department director. “Vaccines are the safest and quickest way to build immunity against COVID-19.”

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration also lifted its pause on the Johnson & vaccine. The pause came after news of a potential (albeit very rare) link to blood clots. But according to the release, multiple agencies including KCPH, a federal vaccine safety review panel and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup concluded the vaccine was safe to resume.

All California residents 16 and older are eligible to be vaccinated. Appointments can be scheduled through myturn.ca.gov, but are not required. For vaccination locations visit kernpublichealth.com/covid-19-vaccine-schedule.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear a mask when they’re outdoors unless they’re in a crowd, such as attending a live performance, sporting event or parade. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot.

“If you are vaccinated, things are much safer for you,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday at a White House briefing. “If you are fully vaccinated and want to attend a small outdoor gathering — with people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Story First Published: 2021-04-30