In light of the ongoing battle against COVID-19, Kern County recently received a surprise visit from the United State Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.

As the nation’s doctor, Adams oversees the 6,000-member U.S Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and guides public health officials through general advisories and action reports on issues regarding advancing the health of the nation. During his visit, Dr. Adams encouraged our community to follow public health guidelines to maintain the positive gains made in Kern County: Wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance to slow the spread. According to Dr. Adams, the “Three W’s” make a significant impact in blunting the transmission of the virus.

While in Bakersfield, Dr. Adams visited the Kern County Public Health Services Building, isolation units at Kern County Fairground and Kern Medical Center.

I’m encouraged to hear our surgeon general highlight the decline in positivity rates nationwide and the progress undertaken by the federal government to develop a vaccine. Also, the surgeon general was pleased with the local partnership between the city of Bakersfield and Kern County to resolve public health concerns.

In the recent months following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay at home order, the board of supervisors expanded COVID-19 testing and ICU bed capacity at our local hospitals through relief funds from the CARES Act passed by Congress in March.

One of the many accomplishments this year serving as District 4 supervisor is collaborating with Public Health Director Matt Constantine, the California Farmworkers Foundation, and Good Samaritan Hospital to form a contract with the county for the use of CARES Act funding to create a mobile field testing clinic for farmworkers. The initiative is the first of its kind in the nation and addresses the public’s concern of disparities in positivity rates for vulnerable populations. It’s a rewarding feeling to hear the nation’s doctor praise the mobile testing clinic’s effort at combatting the virus. When the public works together as a community, we can improve the health and livelihood of our loved ones and reopen our economy.

While District 4 continues to make significant strides in slowing the spread of the virus, I encourage you to remain committed to practicing public health guidelines from the CDC, California Public Health Department, and Kern County Public Health Department. Furthermore, the Kern board of supervisors is working in close consultation with County Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop and Public Health Director Constantine to voice our concerns with Gov. Newsom’s office about the state’s new four-tier reopening blueprint. I share the same concerns and frustration with the small businesses in my district struggling to keep their business open due to the inconsistent communication from the state on which sectors of the economy are eligible for loosened restrictions of activities. To slow the spread, I look forward to working with the board to find additional help to District 4 and to the county as a whole.

If you have any questions about this or any other matter, feel free to contact us at district4@kerncounty.com or at 661-868-3680. Have a safe week.

David Couch represents Kern County’s 4th District.