Possible COVID-19 reinfections in Matagorda County

   Matagorda Regional Medical Center announced Monday, Nov. 16, there have been 48 new COVID-19 cases reported over the previous 14 days.
   “As the number of new cases trend up in Matagorda County and we prepare for a possible third wave, we would like to share with our community a trend we’re seeing in possible COVID-19 reinfections,” said Leslie Vaughn, MRMC’s Certified Infection Control Specialist. 
   There have been multiple cases of lab-confirmed COVID-19 in Matagorda County among patients who went on to heal from the virus, received a lab-confirmed negative test result, and then appeared to be reinfected 60 to 90 days later after the onset of new symptoms prompted a second lab-confirmed positive COVID-19 test, Vaughn added.
   “Working closely with the MRMC COVID-19 Taskforce, our infection prevention team has notified state health officials of these instances,” she said.
   “It is very important to note that the evidence of reinfection in Matagorda County is anecdotal – meaning it has not been scientifically proven. 
   “Scientifically proving COVID-19 reinfection requires genetic testing of both infections, which rarely happens in the United States,” Vaughn explained.
   “At this time, most health experts consider reinfections to be “possible but rare.”
   “This situation continues to evolve, and we’re acting on new recommendations and information as it becomes available,” Vaughn said.
   “Though most health experts say COVID-19 reinfection is rare, our hospital is working under the assumption that no patient, visitor, nurse, physician, allied health professional, or administrator is immune. 
   “Our intense focus on prevention, proper PPE, and maintaining a safe and healthy environment does not change just because someone may be temporarily immune due to an earlier case of the virus.”
   Vaughn noted that the latest CDC report dated Oct. 27 states that the agency is actively working to learn more about reinfection to inform public health action. 
   Recommendations are also being developed to help public health professionals decide when and how to test someone for suspected reinfection.
   “Residents of Matagorda and surrounding counties can have confidence that the Matagorda Regional Medical Center is actively monitoring reinfection data and recommendations, and that we will continue to implement the most conservative and cautious interpretations of the resulting guidelines moving forward,” Vaughn said.
   “As always, we encourage you to protect yourself and your community by wearing a mask in public places, staying at least 6 feet away from other people, washing your hands thoroughly and regularly, and avoiding crowds and confined spaces.” 

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