Rise in COVID-19 cases expected to lead to more hospitalizations in Kern County


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Local hospitals are implementing emergency surge plans to prioritize health care to those that desperately need intensive care.

“Pregnant women are being admitted, we’re seeing children in our PICU [and] some in our regular pediatric department,” Dignity Health Chief Nurse Executive Terri Church said. “They’re seeing patients much younger than what they saw in the past.”

After reporting more than 2,000 positive COVID-19 cases, Kern’s infection rate could see a decline, but this is just the calm before the storm. Kern County Public Health Department Director Brynn Carrigan anticipates hospitalizations to continue to increase for the next two weeks in Kern County. Adventist Health hospitals are seeing an increase in wait times.

“We are seeing record numbers in our emergency rooms, so that means wait times are relatively long in some of our emergency settings all over our hospitals,” Adventist Health Kern County President Daniel Wolcott said.

Hall Ambulance Critical Care Division Manager Chris Leone says paramedics are having to transfer more patients to out of town hospitals because local hospitals are full.

“The ER will take anyone we take to them, they just might not admit them,” Leone said. “We’re having to do more transfers, also transfer patients out of town or from hospital to hospital and shuffle a patient to where a hospital bed is available.”

Hospitals also shared that staffing hospital floors with nurses is a bit challenging. Hospitals are having to hire traveling nurses who are charging upwards of $200 to $250 for their services. But even then, these nurses are bouncing from hospital to hospital as they are in high-demand and some hospitals are paying top dollar.

“Our system is taxed right now and we need to do everything we can to not take up a hospital bed if we can prevent it,” Carrigan said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here