(CBS DETROIT) – The novel coronavirus as we know of has been around for six months, even less in the United States.

Since it’s still new, there are many questions surrounding the virus. The main one being can you contract the illness more than once?

Rhea Conley says the virus showed up at two different times in her system.

“On the 23rd of March is when I woke up, shortness of breath, just said I can’t take it I’m going to emergency.”

Conley says when she arrived at Beaumont Royal Oak, doctors determined she had an upper respiratory infection. Although she had all the symptoms of Covid-19, at that time hospitals were swamped with cases and short on tests. So they told her to assume she had it and self quarantine at home.

“Didn’t get tested till April 2, and that was negative,” said Conley.

But an antibody test taken about a month later was positive, meaning Conley did at some point have Covid-19. Now fast forward to June, Conley says she was tested again for coronavirus, because an upcoming doctors appointment required testing prior to the visit.

“June 11, took that test, came back positive,” she said.

Conley says she was blown away by the positive test, because she had zero symptoms and didn’t think the virus could reappear after someone recovered.

So the question is, can someone contract Covid-19 more than once? Doctors say there’s no clear cut answer.

“There’s really no good data in the US about this, because Asia had the disease before us so they have the most data on this. The data right now looks like you probably don’t get a second infection within a short period of time,” said Ascension Health Infectious Disease Expert, Dr. Leonard Johnson.  

Johnson says there’s a new test being studied in Asia on whether or not remnants of the virus still in the body after recovery, is active or contagious. He says this virus is still new and they’re learning more about it all the time. As for Conley, she says she feels fine, and is glad that no one in her family contracting the virus from her.

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Comments (17)
  1. Redwan says:

    False positive

    1. Rhea says:

      Yes that’s possible too, but my doctor believes the 1st swab test taken in April was a false negative and the virus is just still in my system…my point is that we just don’t know so better to be safe than sorry.

      1. Ed Scott says:

        I agree. It’s likely your body just never cleared the virus the first time. It doesn’t sound like you got sick twice. At least I hope not!

    2. Desiree says:

      Are you saying a false positive on the first or second test? Certainly these tests do generate false positives and false negatives, and I’ve not seen the error rates for these tests.

      But consider, some viruses go into hibernation and reactivate, such as the herpes virus, and this one might also do that. Secondly, you can get sick from some virusus multiple times, such as the cold or flu virus. I’ve seen nothing stating these kind of infections can’t happen with Covid. So as far as I know, she got it twice.

  2. Sam I Am says:

    Yes. false antibody test. Lots are getting tagged by the FDA as do not distribute. Unreliable.
    Stories such as this need to be verified before publishing. Alarmist tactics.

  3. someonewhoactuallyreads says:

    Test is sensitive and likely simply detected remaining dead virus fragments from her original illness. (This is what occurred previously when media was reporting Koreans being infected twice.) Especially likely as she has no symptoms.

  4. Mr Rand says:

    There is a problem with the testing in this case. For all that has been published about testing for the COVID-19 disease and the SARS-CoV-2 virus the results are off and false positives, or false negatives are resulting because the test sensitivities are too broad and not finding enough stuff that is really present, or stuff that is present that looks like SARS-CoV-2 virus but is not that virus. The disease, COVID-19, is symptom driven, or should be. There three thing a play here, the virus, the antibodies against the virus and both may be co-present, or no virus but antibodies, or virus but not in the body fluids circulation systems. A whole lot more needs to be researched and a lot of research needs to be revisited before a decent vaccine can be made, Hopefully, when we do have a vaccine, this country never again allows essential preventative medicines into this country made in China or anywhere under the Chinese Communist Party’s influence.

  5. A Real ERMD says:

    Misleading article. Never had PCR confirmed COVID-19 first time. Lots of false positive IgM antibody test results. I estimate about 15-25% in my clinic. Almost certainly did not have COVID-19 in March and had false positive IgM later.

  6. dsaf says:

    First antibody test was a false positive. She had some other illness the first time around. This is a misleading story.

    1. Alan Allen says:

      Hey idiots, you cannot have a false anitbody positive. You can have a false positive for the virus but not the antibodies.

      1. dt60093 says:

        Where did you get this absurd notion? Before you spread more misinformation, read https://immunology.sciencemag.org/content/5/47/eabc6347.

  7. Mateo Luiz says:

    Team Hysteria at it again….

  8. roygbiv says:

    Sloppy reporting all over the place. She never tested positive the first time, could have been another virus. Positive antibodies, don’t know when the primary infection was. Now late positive nasal swab after positive antibodies, likely viral RNA fragments. Why are we even testing with nasal swabs if antibodies are positive? We don’t do this for any other virus. Stop trying to exaggerate and scare people. Do a little research before you publish this trash.

  9. I believe that the Covid-Virus has been around much longer than just a few months. Most people were calling it as having the Flu since there was no test to show otherwise. I had a mysterious virus three years ago with the exact same symptoms of Covid-19. It took weeks to get over it. The only difference is that no one in the family got sick so it was not highly contagious like Covid-19.I think it mutated from that point on…

    1. Speak says:

      Yes, they’ve been reporting since the beginning that this type of virus has been around for a very long time, hence why they have called this specific one COVID “19”, because it’s the specific strain discovered in 2019. There have always been many other versions/mutations of it, MERS, SARS, and several others are all coronaviruses, and have been infecting people forever. This specific strain has -not- been around in humans, though, as we’d have had the same outbreak as now. We have had milder outbreaks of SARS, etc., but were thankfully able to get those under control.

  10. Jack Howarth says:

    The author obviously doesn’t understand the concept of false positives in clinical tests.

  11. Edward Sullivan says:

    My local hospital systems recommend against Antibody tests because they are only 50-50 coin flip reliable.
    So this headline and story is irresponsible and shady journalism.

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