Sick Again?

Angie Szumlinski
|
December 29, 2020
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In a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, out of 131 patients in the study, 22 fully met the criteria for discontinuation of quarantine (no significant acute clinical symptoms and 2 consecutive negative RT-PCR tests) presented a new positive RT-PCR test at a follow-up visit after at least 2 weeks. These findings indicate that a noteworthy rate of recovered patients with COVID-19 could still be asymptomatic carriers of the virus. Even in the absence of specific guidelines, the 22 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 again were suggested to quarantine for a second time.

In addition, no other positive cases emerged within their families and close contacts. All patients had observed social distancing measures and worn face masks indoors. In light of these observations, it is very difficult to affirm whether these patients were really contagious.

This study provides a given rate of patients (16.7%) who still have a positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid after recovering from COVID-19. These data suggest that some symptoms continue to be present in a milder form than in the acute phase of the disease, in a high rate of patients but without substantial differences between patients with negative RT-PCR test results and those who still test positive. It is important to highlight that patients with COVID-19 testing positive after recovery represent an important public health problem.

We have heard of false-positive tests, false-negative tests, and positive tests weeks after quarantine. This study affirms what we have thought, we don’t know what we don’t know. Stay the course, stay strong, stay well, stay safe, mask up, and stay tuned!


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