The Shafter Press - Serving the community since 1922

By David Couch
Kern County Supervisor 

Couch's Corner - April 9, 2020


Last updated 4/10/2020 at 7:56pm | View PDF

We are going into another week of the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order, and I believe Kern County is doing great in terms of complying with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order.

But our numbers of those testing positive continue to increase. At the time of this writing, we had our first fatality, in our District 4 community of Delano, and I think we all know we’re not done yet. Sadly, there is more to come, but let’s follow the guidelines we’ve been given and stay as safe as possible.

Many of you in the district, as well as many county employees, continue working during this emergency, and I thought I’d give you a quick update on county activities while you do your best to stay safe. Our Public Works Department put out an update on its activities during this emergency. Many of its functions are considered essential.

Other departments still working include:

--Most waste facilities are operating, though some may be operating on a reduced schedule

--Roads and traffic divisions

--Wastewater plants

--Building inspectors, although they have modified their procedures, as has our permitting section, switching to online procedures

--Engineers and construction teams

--Code compliance is closed to the public, but complaints can be submitted online

For more detailed information on public works activities, check out the county website and click on the Public Works Department. Much thanks to this group, all the county departments and our essential employees that keep working through these challenging times.

The department you’re most likely to see in the forefront during this is the Public Health Department, which is leading our county’s response to the emergency.

This week, officials are recommending to us, the Board of Supervisors, that we proclaim a local health emergency. This proclamation gives the Public Health Department greater powers to enforce the governor’s executive orders. In particular, Public Health will have the authority to issue orders related to communicable disease control, develop and implement plans to work with partners to ensure targeted populations have access to medications and vaccines needed to contain the outbreak, and access resources from the state and federal government.

Daily, the department is providing timely updates on how many in the county have been afflicted, tested and where these cases are occurring. This number changes frequently and helps all of us to gauge how severe is this event in the county and where we are being hit the hardest. You can go to the Kern County website at and check this out yourself.

While this emergency is frightening and may make some folks react as if it’s everyone for themselves, I am heartened by the continuing and overwhelming stories from families and workers throughout Kern County who are remaining resolute during this crisis and working together to keep us all safe. You are the heroes in this crisis, and our hearts are filled with gratitude at your willingness to serve your community, save lives and work united. I hope this lesson — that we are all united and that we take care of each other — is the one we take with us once we get past this time of crisis. It’s a lesson we all need to learn.

If you have any questions, our office is working through this crisis and we can help you get your business with the county moving forward. Just call us at 661-868-3680 or email us at [email protected]. Be safe.

David Couch is Kern County supervisor, representing the 4th District, including Shafter and Wasco. The opinions expressed in his column are not necessarily those of the papers or their management.


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