County of Kern services during COVID-19 pandemic
From our Supervisor
April 11, 2020
My family and I are praying for health and comfort for our communities and our nation during this unprecedented time. The COVID-19 Pandemic has had far-reaching effects on our health care systems, our economy and our daily lives. The operations of government on all levels, including the County of Kern, has been drastically altered over the past several weeks, and no one knows for sure how long the current situation will continue. As your Second District Kern County Supervisor, I want to assure you that your county government is still working to serve you. In addition to our brave men and women who work for our public safety departments, such as Sheriff and Fire, and our healthcare workers at Kern Medical who serve on the front lines treating the sick and injured, other county departments are also providing many important services during this crisis, and I’d like to highlight several of those for you. It’s an honor to represent you on the Board of Supervisors. Stay well, and God bless.
– Zack Scrivner, Supervisor, District 2
Aging & Adult Services
The safety and wellness of our community is always the top priority for Kern County. Aging & Adult Services preforms an essential role by providing many services to seniors in our community. Adult Protective Services (APS) is still doing face-to-face interviews and investigations into claims of abuse. APS is also coordinating with community partners to provide food referrals and homeless assistance to at-risk seniors and dependent adults. Regarding senior nutrition, all 16 senior centers are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but seniors can pick-up a meal at the center if they make a reservation by calling (661) 868-1000.
Aging & Adult Services is working with City Serv to accept donations of non-perishable food items, paper goods, and cleaning supplies. You may drop-off donations at City Serv at 1431 L Street, in Bakersfield. Donations are accepted Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. Delivery to a senior will be arranged if they are not able to pick it up themselves. An Information and Referral line is available to all seniors, disabled adults and care providers. To contact the Information and Referral line, please call (661) 868-1000.
The U.S. air transportation system is experiencing an unprecedented decline in passenger travel as nations across the globe, states and cities limit business and recreational activity to deter the spread of COVID-19. The decline has arrived at Meadows Field Airport, as United Airlines and American Airlines are reducing their planned flight schedules for April and May 2020.
If you need to travel, please contact your airline for the latest departure information. Flight activity has not changed immediately but is planned to transition over the next 1-2 weeks. This has not been communicated to the Airports Department as a permanent change in service, but as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meadows Field Airport has been determined to be an essential service provided by Kern County. Airport staff are maintaining safe and secure operations while practicing social distancing recommendations. Some employees are able to work from home. We are regularly disinfecting hard surfaces in the William Thomas Terminal and have re-arranged the furniture to support social distancing.
Animal Services facilities are currently closed to the public as a preventative measure to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Typical services such as pet licensing and adoption are not available to the public during this state of emergency. Animal Control officers are still on duty working normal shifts and will respond to emergencies any time of the day or night. To report a dangerous animal or abuse, please call (661) 868-7100 during normal business hours. For after hours complaints and reports, please call (661) 861-3110. Under the instruction of Nicholas Cullen, director of Kern County Animal Services, a drive-through animal fostering event occurred which resulted in temporary homes for over 130 animals.
According to the Kern County District Attorney’s office, price gouging, “occurs when an individual or business raises prices on emergency items more than 10 percent after the declaration of an emergency.” A state of emergency was declared by Governor Newsom on March 4, and by President Trump on March 13. Price Gouging complaints can be made to the District Attorney by downloading and completing the Price Gouging Complaint form at http://www.kerncounty.com/home/showdocument?id=4186. The form is one page in length and can be completed within a few minutes.
Employers Training Resource/Job Center
Kern County businesses have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Kern County’s Employer’s Training Resource Center has partnered with the City of Bakersfield, the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce and the Kern Economic Development Corporation to provide additional resources for local businesses. ETR has set-up a business resource guide and hotline for businesses to call. The ETR hotline is (661) 336-6860. The business resource guide can be found by visiting: http://www.americasjobcenterofkern.com/pdf/Community-Resource-Directory.pdf
Kern County Library locations are currently closed to the public, but staff is finding new innovative ways to provide service through these difficult times. Kern County residents can access books, audiobooks, music and movies by visiting: http://www.kerncountylibrary.org/elibrary/
The Kern County Library’s virtual programming features story times for children, book clubs, music clubs and online STEM events. To check out the many amenities offered through virtual programming, please visit: http://www.kerncountylibrary.org/virtual/
If you have your library card, then you can still utilize the Library’s online resources for research purposes or to access of digital records. Kern residents may request an electronic library card via email. To apply for an electric library card, please visit: http://www.kerncountylibrary.org/contact/ and select the “eLibrary Card” option. Although library locations are currently closed, each branch location still serves as a WiFi hotspot for use by the community from outside the building and in parking lots.
The Kern County Parks Division manages several recreational sites throughout the county. These include eight regional parks, 40 neighborhood parks, golf courses and landscapes. Parks are a priority for public health and well-being. They are remaining open through the COVID-19 pandemic, with the exception of overnight camping. The restrooms are closed at all park locations, except for Hart Park, Lake Ming and Buena Vista. Park Rangers are still operating at full force, protecting our beautiful parks and the community members that visit them. For more information on Kern County Park facilities, please visit: http://www.kerncounty.com/government/parks/facilities
Since March 13, Kern County Public Health has fulfilled more than one hundred personal protective equipment (PPE) requests. This includes over 100,000 N95 masks, 87,000 isolation masks, 13,000 medical gowns, 2,000 protective goggles, 10,000 bottles of hand sanitizer and thousands of protective gloves. As our top priority, these supplies have gone to First Responders and health care workers.
On March 20, the California Department of Public Health issued new COVID-19 testing recommendations. Five groups have been identified that should be tested: hospitalized patients with symptoms, residents/staff of long-term care facilities with symptoms, individuals with high risk for infection with symptoms, residents/staff of correctional facilities with symptoms and health care personnel with symptoms.
“Any person with mild respiratory symptoms, who do not otherwise need medical care and are not in one of the above mentioned groups, should not be tested. That is the recommendation from the California Department of Public Health. These individuals should provide care for themselves at home. And importantly, asymptomatic persons should not be tested for COVID-19,” said Matt Constantine, director of Kern County Public Health.
The Kern County Department of Public Health is in daily communication with health care service providers. None of our local providers are running low on testing kits. This past weekend, March 28 and 29, Omni saw a decrease in patients seeking medical screening and testing for COVID-19.
Results from testing of the coronavirus have been drastically reduced to within 48 – 72 hours.
The County of Kern has been preparing an Alternative Care Site (ACS) designed to house symptomatic patients suspected of being infected, and those who have tested positive for COVID-19, in the event that hospitals can no longer provide services due to a surge in cases. The ACS will allow for the care of 250 patients and scalable up to 1,000 patients. Kern County Public Health plans to have the ACS operational by April 30.
For up-to-date information on the COVID-19 virus, please visit: http://www.kernpublichealth.com/2019-novel-coronavirus/
Individuals can review a County map of positive COVID-19 cases by geographical region at: phweb.kerncounty.com/images/PHBriefing/COVIDGeographicRegions.pdf
County residents can view the updated list of “essential County services” at: http://www.kerncounty.com/government/list-of-essential-services
Public Works remains an essential service throughout the county. The majority of landfills are either fully open or running at 50 percent scheduled hours of operation. To view landfill and transfer station hours of operations, please visit: http://www.kernpublicworks.com/. Kern Sanitation Authority is still functioning as normal. Road and traffic crews are maintaining critical repairs to keep county roads operational and safe. To report potholes and other road damage, please call (661) 862-8891, or visit: http://www.kernpublicworks.com/transportation/report-road-damage/
Kern Regional Transit is operating on a reduced schedule to adjust to a 75 percent drop in ridership due to the closing of schools statewide. To view Kern Transit routes and schedules, please visit: http://www.kerntransit.org/routes-and-schedules/
Building permit applications are still being accepted electronically. Enforcement of Code Compliance violations is currently on hold, though complaints are being accepted and emergency situations are addressed. To report Code Compliance violations, please call (661) 862-8603.
Due to county buildings being closed to the public through May 1, the April 10 Property Tax deadline is being extended to May 4. However, even after county buildings open, it is strongly recommended by the Treasurer and Tax Collector that you do not come into the office to pay your property tax bill.
To submit payment online, please visit: http://www.kcttc.co.kern.ca.us. Your online payment may be done with e-checks, debit and/or credit card. Debit and credit card transactions have a 2 percent processing fee.
To pay with a check, please mail to KCTTC Payment Center, P.O. BOX 541004, Los Angeles, CA 90054-1004.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the veterans Services department has successfully switched to telephone and e-mail based appointments.
veterans seeking services from Kern County can now handle their cases electronically and sign forms via a digital app. veterans that have any questions or require assistance can email veterans Services at: [email protected] or visit: http://www.kerncounty.com/government/veterans-service/contact-us.
To leave a voicemail with your contact information and a brief message, please call (661) 868-7300.