Nevada man may be first documented COVID reinfection case in US

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Nevada State Public Health Lab is studying a potential case of COVID-19 re-infection. This is after a 25-year-old man in Reno tested positive twice — once in April and once in June. 

Dr. Mark Pandori with the State Public Health Lab said they now know that re-infection can happen. What they don’t know and what they cannot generalize, is how often this could happen.

Here’s what we do know about the case in Washoe County:

  • The patient was symptomatic and tested positive for COVID-19 in April.
  • After recovering, he was tested twice —those came back negative.
  • In June the patient was taken to the hospital with symptoms, and tested positive again.

After analysis and identity testing, it was determined that the results were from the same person with a genetically distinct virus.

Dr. Pandori says there are at least three other cases out there like this — two in Europe and one in Hong Kong.

“As more and more of these cases start to crop-up, and that will happen, what will then be possible is we’ll be able to try to determine if this is something specific to the virus or whether its something that happens rarely that we sometimes see with other viral infections,” Dr. Pandori said.

When it comes to vaccines and immunity, Dr. Pandori says we cannot generalize anything off of one case. As more cases are found, he says collectively that could have an impact on the development of a vaccine and how often it is administered.

For those that have recovered from COVID-19, Dr. Pandori says they need to continue to wear a mask, frequently wash their hands and distance themselves from others.

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