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Kern County updates COVID-19 death data

Individuals older than 65 continue to disproportionately die from coronavirus, the latest update from the Kern County Public Health Services Department shows.

Although people over 65 make up only 11.6 percent of the county’s population and around 9.3 percent of reported cases, they account for 65.7 percent of the deaths that have happened in Kern County due to COVID-19.

Public Health updated its COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday to include 305 new deaths that occurred since around the time of its last update on March 18. The health department reviews death data on a bi-weekly basis to determine if an update would comply with HIPAA, a federal law that protects patient privacy.

Of the 1,331 deaths included in Kern County’s data, only 39 have occurred in people with no comorbidities. Hypertension and diabetes continue to be the most common pre-existing conditions, according to Public Health.

In the latest update, the proportion of Hispanics who have died from COVID-19 fell slightly from 59.1 percent on March 18 to 57.6 percent on Tuesday. The state Department of Finance projects the county’s Hispanic population at 52.6 percent, meaning the group is the county’s most disproportionately impacted race.

African Americans, who make up 6 percent of the county’s population, compose 5.3 percent of deaths locally.

White residents, who make up 34 percent of the population, are 30.2 percent of COVID-19 deaths.

Men still die at higher rates than women. In the latest update, men make up 61 percent of deaths.