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Kern County's case rate continues to drop in week before general reopening

Kern County’s rate of new coronavirus cases continued to drop as the county moves within one week of the general statewide reopening on June 15.

At 2.2 new cases per 100,000 residents each day, the county’s case rate slipped lower once again. It is down from 2.4 new cases per 100,000 residents reported last week, according to the Kern County Department of Public Health Services.

The county’s testing positivity rate remained stable, at 1.6 percent. The health equity metric, however, increased from 1.7 percent last week to 2.3 percent. Defined as the testing positivity rate for the poorest census tracts, the health equity metric has generally followed the county’s testing positivity rate until this week.

So far, 269,319 Kern County residents have been vaccinated, 29.2 percent of the total population and 36 percent of the eligible population. An additional 64,996 people have received one dose in a two-dose series, meaning 44 percent of the county’s 12-and-older population is at least partially vaccinated.

The state is poised to allow many venues to return to full capacity on Tuesday.

“When the (Blueprint for a Safer Economy) is retired on June 15, everyday life will feel a lot like before COVID-19, with most places being open and returning to usual operation with no capacity limitations or social distancing requirements,” Kern Public Health said in a news release. “The only exception to this is for ‘mega events,’ defined as an indoor event with more than 5,000 people, which requires verified fully vaccinated status or pre-entry negative COVID-19 test and required masking for those who are unvaccinated.”

The limit on large events will be in place until at least Oct. 1, when the state is expected to reevaluate based on infection and vaccination rates.

Public Health Services offers the Pfizer vaccine at the Kern County Fairgrounds from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Appointments can be made at myturn.ca.gov, although an appointment is not required.

Other vaccinations are available throughout the community. A map of vaccination providers can be found at kernpublichealth.com.

A nurses hotline is also available at 661-677-4177 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for those with vaccine-related questions.

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.