California Senator hosts a town hall meeting about COVID-19

Mariah Arviso, Reporter

California state senator, Shannon Grove, held a town hall to give an update and discuss community concerns about COVID-19 on April 17. 

There were a variety of speakers that gave public updates about the growing numbers of COVID-19 cases, and the assistance that is, or will be, given to those affected. Matt Constantine, Director of Kern County Public Health, gave the numbers of positive cases in Kern County as well as those who have recovered. As of Friday, April 17, there were 547 Kern County residents that tested positive with 212 residents who have fully recovered from COVID-19.  

“With help of the state, [we have] received some trailers that we have set up at the fair grounds to help provide isolation to those that are homeless and affected by COVID[-19],” Constine said.  

Mary Barlow, Kern County superintendent of schools, discussed the school closures and that they will stay closed for the remainder of the school year. If schools do provide summer school, they will continue to practice distant learning.  

“[With all] the kids in Kern County, we have a wide variety with about 30 percent living in poverty, 73 percent that are eligible for free and reduced meals, and 22 percent are English language learners,” Barlow said.  

Barlow explained that although some schools were able to give chromebooks to their students, not every school has the resources necessary to do the same. She is hopeful that the schools will be open for the next school year, but if they do, schools will continue to practice similar but less extreme measures to prevent another outbreak of COVID-19.  

Every speaker explained the importance of following Governor Gavin Newsom’s orders. Senator Grove applauded the Governor as well as the residents of California for helping reduce the spread of COVID-19.  

“When you look at San Francisco and New York, they are very similar in the way people live, but the pandemic outcomes are vastly different, so I thank the Governor and his entire team that the number one thing we did was help California through these tremendous ways,” Grove said.