Alberta Newspaper Group


The expected post-holiday COVID-19 surge, and the arrival of the Omicron variant, appear to be impacting the Greater Tehachapi area with a number of new cases reported by the Kern County Public Health Services Department and at the California Correctional Institution. On Monday, Jan. 10, Tehachapi Unified School District had to cancel some school bus routes for the day due to COVID-19 related staffing difficulties. Last week the school district distributed free test kits to families and Superintendent Stacey Larson-Everson said she would provide an update on impacts on enrollment and attendance at the scheduled school board meeting at 5 p.m. Jan. 11 — remote only. Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley provided an update on Jan. 11, showing 18 beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, of which two were vaccinated, 10 were unvaccinated and two had an unknown vaccination status. Of those, three patients were in the Intensive Care Unit (two unvaccinated and one unknown vaccination status). The hospital has 24 beds, of which four are ICU. The health department reported more than 350 new cases of COVID-19 in the 93561 ZIP code in the last week and data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation showed a dramatic one-week increase in active cases among both staff and people incarcerated there — nearly 100 new staff cases were recorded over the last week and 14 new inmate cases from the prior week. • Kern County’s level of transmission, per Centers for Disease Control this week: High. • Kern County Public Health estimates that about 53 percent of COVID-19 cases in the county are likely the Omicron variant, which is highly contagious. • At the California Correctional Institution, Tehachapi, and other state prisons, in-person and family visiting was suspended effective Jan. 8. Intake at Wasco and North Kern State Prison has been suspended and prisons throughout the state began modified program operation on Jan. 9 to limit movement between and throughout institutions in an effort to curb transmissions. CDCR on Jan. 10 reported vaccination of 80 percent of the population and 69 percent of employees being fully vaccinated — a significant increase from the fall.