By Elizabeth Sanchez, South Kern Sol
The Kern County Public Health Department is preparing to kick off a new COVID-19 canvassing effort in Kern’s most impacted areas, Public Health officials announced Tuesday at the Kern County Board of Supervisors meeting.
To help with these efforts, the Department is looking to hire a number of temporary employees, according to Matt Constantine, the Director of Kern Public Health. These employees will go door-to-door to inform residents of the importance of testing and testing sites near them. Constantine said the employees will be deployed in the 25 most impacted Census tracts the State has identified as “disadvantaged.”
“We are hopeful that this approach will make a difference in those important Census tracts,” said Constantine.
According to Constantine, the employees will make every effort to reach out to the residents in these areas. If they are not able to speak with them in person, the employees will mail out testing information and call homes to inform residents of upcoming testing sites near them.
“We are going to make (testing) very easily accessible by Census tract,” Constantine told the Board of Supervisors.
The team will also be providing personal protective equipment and informing residents of preventative measures.
Constantine said Public Health’s epidemiology team will work with the Latino COVID-19 Task Force to organize testing sites and share data.
This week, the State announced one of Kern’s metrics did not meet the red tier standard. If this continues for another week, Kern will be forced to revert back to the purple, or most restrictive, tier.
“Our numbers are unfortunately not expected,” said Constantine. “This has been occurring through the nation.”
If Kern County reverts back to the purple tier, restaurants will have to, again, shut down for in-door dining, and churches will have to stop holding in-person services. Other businesses will also be affected.
School districts that have yet to reopen will have to remain closed for in-person instruction if Kern reverts back to the purple tier. Schools that have reopened while Kern was in the red tier will be able to continue to remain opened.
The Kern County Public Health Department announced 208 new cases of COVID-19 in Kern, bringing the total to 35,818. This is the highest number of cases the Department has announced in one day during the month of November; however, all tests collected during this time may not yet be reported.