BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — Many health officials across the country and in Bakersfield have stated that people with underlying health conditions are at a greater risk of dying when contracting COVID-19.
23ABC spoke with local physician Kyle Heber, M.D, of Centric Health on how people with medical conditions can further protect themselves.
"Have other people do shopping for people who are at high risk," said Heber. "[Make sure they are] frequently washing their hands with soap and water and using hand sanitizer if a sink isn’t available."
Heber is one of the many doctors on the front lines treating patients with COVID-19.
These underlying health conditions put people at risk for severe outcomes, which could result in hospital care or death.
Some of the health conditions include heart disease, asthma, or if one has had bypass surgery.
Heber says these previous existing conditions allow the virus to easily thrive and spread versus others who do not have them.
As of Saturday, there are 51 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kern County.
On Friday, 52-year-old Susie Garcia became the first person to contract the virus and die in Kern county.
Her family exclusively tells 23ABC it all took place over ten days.
Her son Hector Juarez shares she had several underlying health conditions that put her at a greater risk.
"In the past, she did have triple-bypass-surgery on her heart. She did have surgery on her leg because she was bitten by a brown recluse spider," Juarez said. "She became close to death many times throughout the years, but she was always a fighter. She definitely fought until this last battle."
The family says her death was unexpected and they believed Garcia would pull through. Juarez says her symptoms all began with a cough.
The family and health officials want to remind the community to take this virus seriously and continue to practice social distancing.