Thursday, September 3, 2020, BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – In an effort to prevent a spike in the spread of COVID-19, Adventist Health Bakersfield, Delano and Tehachapi Valley along with hospital leaders in the Northern San Joaquin Valley are encouraging people to avoid large gatherings during the upcoming Labor Day weekend. “We know from previous holiday weekends during the pandemic there has been an increased spread of COVID-19 following large groups of family and friend gatherings,” said Dr. Ronald Reynoso, Chief Medical Officer for Adventist Health Bakersfield and Tehachapi. “We know people want to come together and visit during the long weekend. But, right now, it’s also important that we do so safely.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and COVID-19 spreading.” Contact tracing and hospital data confirm that following holidays, such as the Fourth of July, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has jumped. Local healthcare leaders hope for the communities they serve not to repeat that this Labor Day weekend. “It is critically important that individuals act responsibly to prevent another surge. Each of us has the power to help avoid another sharp increase in cases. Just stay away from large gatherings and use healthy practices,” said David Butler, President of Adventist Health Delano. The timing of this holiday is significant because it immediately precedes the traditional fall flu season. The healthcare system is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic while bracing for the expected dual challenge of a flu surge. A high rate of spread of both viruses can strain supply chains for personal protective equipment. And, because they share some common symptoms, an uptick in individuals sick with either disease will also stretch the already-limited COVID-19 testing capacity. ###

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