Most individuals who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop antibodies against the spike and nucleocapsid proteins of the virus 1-2 weeks after symptom onset. A study published in the Lancet Healthy Longevity, presents estimates of reinfection in staff and residents from 100 long-term care facilities in England who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies at study entry and then tested regularly for SARS-CoV-2 infection using PCR, suggests that antibodies provide high levels of protection against reinfection for up to 10 months in both staff and residents.
Despite the large number of primary infections of SARS-CoV-2 that have been reported worldwide, there have been relatively few cases of reinfection. Studies in hospital staff suggest reinfections are uncommon, but it is uncertain whether these findings are the same for those who live and work in long-term care facilities due to the differences in health status, age, socioeconomic background, and levels of exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
It is prudent to maintain our current practice of assessing residents for signs or symptoms of infection, minimally, daily. Document these assessments in the medical record, report any changes immediately, stay well, stay informed, and stay tuned!