For 50 days, a Canadian woman was diagnosed with COVID-19 eight times. Tracy Schofield, a local of Cambridge, Ontario, shared she first began exhibiting symptoms on March 30. She had a fever with chills and difficulty breathing.
The Cambridge woman was temporarily relieved to hear that her eighth test resulted negative after testing positive for the novel coronavirus 7 times.
"I cried because I was so happy," she said, but that feeling was short-lived.
This contributed to the growing evidence that the coronavirus can affect varying people in different ways. Factors that vary from patient to patient are severity of the symptoms, the length of the infection, and the recovery process. More is yet to be learned about the respiratory illness.
Schofield, who is a nurse, still had some lingering symptoms. She is now fretting that the coronavirus could result to long-term health issues.
The woman is reportedly preparing for her tenth test.
Schofield underwent quaratine in her room 2 weeks following her first test, maintaining social distancing from her 17-year-old son. Her fever rose to 104.1 degrees Fahrenheit with a loss of sense of taste and smell.
"I still to this day have shortness of breath," she said after over 50 days since testing positive. "COVID-19 has taken a lot out of me, and it continues every day."
She worried further, "I just want someone to be able to tell me something. Give me an answer. Am I going to have it forever?"
Before being declared recovered, the World Health Organization (WHO) policies indicate that a patient must get a negative result twice successively. Unfortunately, it was detected that the coronavirus was still strong in her body in her 9th test.
The 2 consecutive negative test results for the coronavirus should at least be 24 hours apart to be declared cleared of the virus.
She is not the only individual to have reportedly been diagnosed with the coronavirus over a long duration. An Australian filmmaker , 35, also tested positive for 3 times in a span of 2 months.
A 62-year-old woman in India tested positive for the illness twenty times throughout a 48-day stay in hospital. She was eventually discharged after receiving a negative result.
After 14 days, the Region of Waterloo Public Health officials ordered her to be released from quarantine, according to Schofield. She has also been cleared to return to work.
Health officials have cautioned that such coronavirus tests are prone to produce false positives and negatives. Some test kits accurately detected only 70% of the time; a third of patients would get a false negative, early anecdotal reports suggested.
"You're only giving a small sample from your body," according to Brian Dixon, a professor of immunology at the University of Waterloo, Canada. "So it may have been that they just missed it on that case. That's why they do it twice. They want to be sure that they caught the right sample and you are negative."
Each individual responds differently to the coronavirus and some may be infected for a longer duration than others, Dixon said.
"It's hard to say what's normal," he explained. "We all have a particular immune system that's individual."
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