95-year-old Central California great-grandmother beats COVID-19

"She's known to be stubborn, so COVID couldn't stand a chance."
PORTERVILLE, Calif. -- A 95-year-old COVID-19 survivor in the Central California's South Valley area is hoping her story will inspire others to socially distance and wear a mask.

Family members are still unsure how Bernice Chacon contracted the virus, but they say if you have a parent or grandparent living in your household, it is important to take note of any slight changes from appetite to energy levels.

They're just thankful Chacon survived a virus so many others have not.

Chacon, the family's matriarch, was determined not to let a COVID-19 diagnosis end her journey.

"When they told me I was going home, I said 'great.' I kept bugging them every day," she said.

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Chacon's children say their mother's fighting spirit is what got her through two weeks in two hospitals.

"She's known to be stubborn," her son Mario said. "So COVID couldn't stand a chance."

This was something they feared they wouldn't be able to say last month.

"It was really scary for all of us because at some point, we really thought we were going to lose her because her sister had just passed away and she was 93," Mario added.
It was Jan. 11 when they first noticed a change in their normally upbeat mother. After rushing Bernice to the hospital, she was sent home diagnosed with pneumonia in one of her lungs. A few days later, she got worse.

"She wasn't eating, sleeping a lot. We knew something was different," said her son Philip.

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Chacon was admitted to Sierra View Medical Center, where she tested positive for COVID-19.

A week later, she was transferred to the Porterville Alternative Care Site. She doesn't remember much about her time in the hospital but says "prayer, a strong will and family" got her through.

The Valley native who lives in Porterville with her son and daughter-in-law can now add survivor to her list of titles, which includes grandmother of 19 and great grandmother of 35.

She is still on the road to recovery. Her son and daughter in-law are monitoring her vitals daily, but they say this is her third day using a walker. She's regaining her strength to celebrate her 96th birthday next month.

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