Scrivner speaks on COVID-19's impact on Kern County
Rotary Club of Tehachapi
August 15, 2020
On Aug. 6, second district supervisor Zack Scrivner spoke to the Tehachapi Rotary Club giving county updates related to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. He reported that the financial impact to the county would result in a $25 million budget hole that would likely be felt by all departments, including the sheriff, fire, library and mental health.
To help close the gap, the county will be using some of their reserves but there will be a seven-and-a-half percent cut to all departments except public safety. Even with these measures, an $11 million shortfall is still expected in the next fiscal year.
Scrivner said that over 8,000 criminals have been released from the prison system, many of them repeat offenders.
The county is trying to get more funds to local businesses with annual revenue of less than $5 million; those that did not get the original PPP grants that ended up going to large corporations. They issued 940 forgivable loans in the amount of $75,000 per business.
While the County is trying to flatten the COVID-19 curve, it is expected that there may be another surge in February. The county plans to use $12 million to hire 80 traveling nurses to be used at hospitals throughout the county to increase the number of nurses to one for every two patients instead of one for every four. Hospitals in Bakersfield are reaching maximum capacity.
Scrivner went on to say that there are many other COVID testing sites other than the hospital but the labs just can’t keep up. “We need two- to three-day results,” he said, calling the 14-day wait for results “useless.” He would like to see East Kern County separated from the valley when the Governor is considering the reopening of businesses.
Scrivner complemented Tehachapi businesses, including Walmart, for their response to COVID restrictions.