By Julie Giyer
Kern Valley Sun
What has become the biggest pandemic since the Swine Flu in 2009, COVID-19 has struck fear in the hearts of the world. The Kern River Valley is feeling the effects of this pandemic rapidly as events are being canceled, businesses are temporarily closing, schools are closing, and people are afraid to leave their homes.
The world has temporarily become chaotic, and people are panicking. Store shelves have become empty of toilet paper, water, other essentials, and even food. It is important to remember that we are a small community, hoarding of toilet paper, water, and other essentials are going to leave many without. Please do not go overboard! We need to work together as a community to make sure we stand tall through this tragic event. Remember, this is hard for everyone, especially with their being the possibility of people being out of jobs for a while and children being home from school. The shelves will be restocked and we are in no way going to be short on food. The best thing to do is to remain calm and do not go overboard.
Kern Valley Hospital, as well as Clinica Sierra Vista, have testing capabilities for those displaying symptoms of COVID-19. They recommend avoiding contact with people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. If you are sick, regardless, stay home. It is not worth it to infect others. Testing for COVID-19 consists of KVHD taking a swab specimen from the patient which is then sent to a California public health laboratory with the goal of a 48-hour turnaround time. As of March 9, there are nearly 20 authorized lab testing sites in the state, with Quest Diagnostics doing the testing in Kern County for KVHD. KVDH has an adequate supply of facemasks to protect the patients and staff. There are additional facemasks available at the county public health department. KVHD has two sets of filtering equipment that helps keep viruses contained in isolation rooms.
Channel 23, ABC News Bakersfield aired a live feed at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17. Matt Constantine, Director of Public Health Services, announced that a Non-Kern County resident, who was visiting Kern County, has contracted the COVID-19 virus. That resident has been quarantined, and anyone and any place they have come in contact with within Kern County have been reported. It will not be reported as a case for Kern County as the person does not reside here. Five household contacts have been identified and the person is in self-quarantine during the incubation period. The risk in Kern County is low and regular updates will be provided as they come in.
With all of the restrictions being put in place by California Governor Gavin Newsom, it’s best to just be patient. These things are being done to keep the virus from spreading and infecting more people. It is important not to panic, as, with everything else, this too shall pass. It’s what we do in times of crisis as a community that makes us stronger in the end.