Already had COVID-19? Local health experts say still wear a mask

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 6:56 PM CDT
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On Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting the state’s highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period for the second day in the row with 4,554 cases.

Iowa is reporting 1,330 new cases on Friday. Both states are seeing a significant rise in cases since Monday.

The message we have heard for months to slow the spread remains the same.

“It spreads through droplets in the air so we have to take precautions to avoid the spread of this. Wear your mask, avoid crowded spaces, and social distance especially indoors,” says Dr. Toyosi Olutade, Chief Medical Officer at UnityPoint Trinity.

But what is you have already had the virus? Experts say still wearing a mask and social distancing is paramount.

“We know for sure that four months from the time you got COVID, you are not likely to fall sick with COVID again. However, we do not know how long that immunity lasts for,” says Olutade.

The Rock Island County Health Department agrees.

“We just don’t know how long the antibody protection from having a previous infection could last so if people are taking risks and not wearing a mask and not social distancing, they are putting themselves at risk for another infection,” says Janet Hill, Chief Operating Officer at the Rock Island Health Department.

Trinity hospital says while you are not likely to have COVID again four months from the time you had it the first time, it is still important to follow all guidelines as this is a virus experts are still studying.

“We do not know what happens after four months and it is not like chicken pox where you cannot have it again because we are still studying this virus. Could it be like the flu? Yes, people who have had the flu can have it again. So, it is still to be determined after those four months,” says Olutade.

Hill says, “We have said multiple times that COVID-19 is a new virus and we don’t know a lot about it. We don’t know how long antibodies from a previous infection will offer protection. There have been patients who have been re-infected including one just in recent days so we believe if you had a positive COVID test in the past, you could catch it again.”

Experts are urging the public to stay vigilant.

“We will get through this together but we have to work together to do it,” says Hill.

Copyright 2020 KWQC. All rights reserved.

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