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Teen tests positive for coronavirus; 1st confirmed case in Shafter

Self-quaratines at home after diagnosis

The coronavirus pandemic has hit close to home with the information this week a teenager living Shafter had tested positive for COVID-19.

Joel Herrera, 19, confirmed that he has tested positive for the virus last Thursday, making it necessary to be quarantined for 14 days.

He is quarantined in his room, not able to make any contact with the rest of his family. According to Herrera, the rest of his family "are in perfect health." They have not been tested because they have no symptoms but are being quarantined as a safety precaution.

Joel works at a pharmacy in Bakersfield, and part of his job is delivering medications to patients. He believes that this is how he was exposed to the virus.

Herrera said that he didn't have a cough but had been running a fever. His doctor had him tested for the virus because of the presence of the fever. The testing procedure "sucked," Herrera said, including having a long Q-tip put into his nose and swabbed.

"The Health Department told me that after 14 days everything would be normal for me again." He said.

Herrera is finding ways to spend this time in isolation. "I am usually either watching Netflix, scrolling through social media, reading the Bible -- getting my faith stronger -- and trying to stay positive during this time."

He had some advice for fellow residents.

"Take care of yourself. I can't stop repeating this, stay home and don't take this time of quarantine for granted. I am looking forward to being able to spend time with my family and friends again."

The Kern County Health Department only provides coronavirus statistics by region. The valley region, which includes 11 ZIP codes including Shafter and Wasco, had 16 confirmed cases of the disease on Tuesday afternoon. Four of those were in Wasco, one man on a ventilator and his wife, both in a hospital, and a second couple quarantined at home with less serious symptoms.


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