After a tumultuous year, we as a community will hopefully get to relax and enjoy Christmas with our loved ones. During this Christmas season, I am thankful for the opportunity to reflect and contemplate about the negative and positive aspects of this year.

Although communities in Kern County are not holding large gatherings with friends and family members, we are still finding ways to make adjustments to enjoy this annual holiday. Whether it is reading a new book, singing Christmas carols, driving around your neighborhood to enjoy the shining lights and decor, or cooking your favorite recipes, be creative this year. Do not hesitate to contact your family members and tell them how much they mean to you.

With the first COVID-19 vaccine administered at Kern Medical on Dec. 17 and additional shipments of the vaccine at hospitals (or on their way) throughout our county, we can look forward to defeating this virus in the near future. Over the past several months, each community in District 4 took initiative practicing the safety guidelines from public health officials at the Kern County Department of Public Health.

Our united effort contributed to reduction in the spread of the virus and increased ICU availability at our local hospitals. The board of supervisors expanded COVID-19 testing capacity through collaborative efforts with our incorporated cities, unincorporated areas and community organizations. Due to the recent spike in cases across California, we will not let our guard down. Instead, we must continue to implement our safety and prevention methods to minimize negative impacts arising from the pandemic regarding the economy, public health and the operation of schools.

This Christmas, I am grateful that our County Administrative Office developed the Kern Recovers programs to fund county priorities focused on distributing relief to small businesses and nonprofit organizations. I look forward to celebrating New Year's Eve with you. Lets begin 2021 with optimism and finish 2020 with Christmas cheer.

Feel free to contact the District 4 office at 661-868-3680 or at district4@kerncounty.com if you questions regarding this or any county matter. Merry Christmas!

David Couch represents Kern County’s 4th District.