Our nation’s top doctors continue to warn the worst of the coronavirus pandemic has yet to come, and the same applies in Kern County. But today, a local patient who almost lost their life to the novel virus was able to leave the hospital for the first time in 90 days. 40-year-old Alejandro Rascon fell severely ill and was admitted to Adventist Health in Bakersfield at the end of July. Doctors didn’t know if he would survive.
“He initially was able to do nothing, not even lift up his hand or his legs,” said Dr. Umesh Patel, MD, an internal medicine physician at Adventist Health. “He was on our ICU on the mechanical ventilator for over 50 days.”
Rascon’s discharge is a coronavirus success story months in the making. This comes as coronavirus cases are falling and the test positivity rate has dropped to just 4.3 percent, the lowest total since the county began collecting data. Hospitalizations have also fallen to just five, another record total. Rascon has come a long way from a situation very few emerge from alive, but he isn’t finished fighting yet.
“He’s actually surprised us for the last 14 days since he’s been off a ventilator,” said Dr. Patel. “He has already started to move some, and he has a long recovery ahead of him.”
Doctors were excited to watch his recovery, as he returned from the brink. His loved ones watched in anguish as he labored through his 13-week hospital stay.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” said Martin Manzanares, a close family friend of over 20 years. “It’s been up and down, we didn’t know what was going to happen. Just to hear his voice when he called me, it gave me hope.”
Most patients who die from the coronavirus in Kern County are 65 or older, but experts say they aren’t the only ones at risk. Rasco was young, healthy and physically active when he caught COVID-19.
“This is a virus we’ve dealt with for so many months, but it keeps us surprising,” said Dr. Patel. “But it’s not a disease of age, so we really need to take care of everybody.”
Many health experts warn this winter will bring a new surge in cases, disrupting the progress made in areas like Kern County. Doctors say masks and social distancing are the most effective ways to protect yourself and others. This comes as much of the South and Midwest are suffering from a wave of outbreaks. Rascon’s family and friends say they’re just happy to see him safe.
“It means the world,” Manzanares said. “We’ve been going through a lot of rough times with everything, and this makes it a little bit brighter.”