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Dubuque nursing home reports first possible COVID-19 reinfection case in the county

Sunnycrest Manor is one of many long-term care facilities in Dubuque County who has dealt with...
Sunnycrest Manor is one of many long-term care facilities in Dubuque County who has dealt with a coronavirus outbreak.
Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 11:01 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - September 18.

That is when one of the residents at Sunnycrest Manor first tested positive for COVID-19.

“They completed their 10-day course of isolation according to guidelines and then Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) will consider someone clinically recovered after the 28 days,” Tammy Freiburger, the nursing home’s interim administrator, said. “Testing is not normally advised for anybody who has tested positive for another 90 days, so it is not typical that we would test any of our positive residents for another 90 days after they initially test positive.”

She said, though, this particular resident has a treatment plan that required additional testing for them to be removed from an isolation area, so they did two rapid tests.

Both came back negative.

“The resident went without symptoms and again in 11/16 presented with some acute respiratory symptoms and was then evaluated in the hospital and was retested using the PCR test, which can be a little more sensitive, and so that test did test positive,” Freiburger explained.

That was when they considered that this resident might have contracted COVID-19 again.

“I reached out to IDPH and asked them, ‘Here is the case scenario, here is the timeline, here is when they tested positive, here is the test, here is the new onset of symptoms,” she said.

Freiburger said IDPH deferred to the resident’s physician, who classified it as a new infection.

“IDPH said given the information and given what the physician had indicated that they were classifying it as a new infection and that we would treat it as such, so we needed to reinitiate the isolation per the ten days,” she mentioned.

Even though it might look like a re-infection, Freiburger said that does not necessarily have to be the case.

“You cannot be 100 percent certain that that is completely a re-infection or is that a person who may still be testing positive from their original infection?”, she said.

Freiburger said studies show a person who has tested positive for the virus could potentially still test positive up to 90 days later.

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