The Shafter Press - Serving the community since 1922

By Toni DeRosa
Wasco Tribune 

Kern County could lose red tier status

 

November 5, 2020 | View PDF



The county could lose its red tier status due to a change in metrics by the governor.

“The governor has created a new metric – positivity rate — and Wasco is currently at 7.5%,” Assistant to the City Manager Mariana Sobolewski said.

Sobolewski explained to the City Council that the state was using 2010 census data and the area with the most positivity in Wasco is where the old farm labor camp was located.

“Kern County cannot go above 8%,” she said. “If we go above 8%, we will end up dropping down to the purple tier again.” She also mentioned cities like Arvin, Lamont and Shafter were facing the same issue.

Free COVID-19 tests will be held in Wasco at the Poso Place Senior Apartments at 830 Almond Court on Nov. 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The tests are for anyone who walks in.

Council member Gilberto Reyna asked if someone tested negative earlier this year, should they repeat the test.

Sobolewski said that because this is a county effort, not just a Wasco effort, everyone should get tested so the negative percentage increases. She said that more people need to get tested and that’s why the COVID-19 Task Force is findingplaces where more testing can be done.

The council members questioned why the information was given to the city at such a late date before any publicity could be done.

“The COVID-19 Task Force put this together,” she said.

“They spent time searching for a location and this was the only one available. They will continue to search for additional locations for more free clinics.”

In other council business, Community Development Director Keri Cobb presented a resolution for the city to adopt.

The council adopted a Safe Routes to School Plan to obtain grants for funding the remaining crosswalk projects for the schools listed in the original resolution that was presented in 2013. The schools include James Forrest Elementary, Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Palm Avenue Middle School as well as collaborating with Wasco High School District, which includes Independence High. The streets in the plan include Palm Avenue and Highway 46. The high school is also putting that location in its Safe Routes to School Plan.

“Since 2013, the city has completed nearly all projects identified in the plan using approximately $2.7 million in grant funding,” Cobb said. “Additionally, since 2013, the new James Forrest Elementary School was constructed and Thomas Jefferson and Palm Avenue Schools were converted to middle schools.”

The 2020 plan update includes new site assessments for Wasco High School, Independence High School, James Forrest Elementary, and updated assessments for Thomas Jefferson and Palm Avenue Middle Schools. Each school site assessment includes an analysis of existing conditions and recommendations for safe routes to school improvements based on community input, school district input, staff input and individual walk audits.

The information in this plan will be used by City Staff in future grant applications for active transportation funds.

 

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