BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Health said on Wednesday, Nov. 11, that some residents have tested positive for COVID-19 more than once, but further investigation is needed to determine whether they are in fact cases of reinfection.
"Our cases are people who have tested positive twice, developed symptoms a second time, most with more than 90 days in between positive results," said Nicole Peske, a health department spokesperson.
The department will be calling the cases "suspect reinfections," as further investigation is required to confirm whether or not the cases are actual reinfections. It was unclear how many cases in North Dakota may fall into the category of suspect reinfections.
Reinfection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, generally means a person is infected with an illness once, recovers, and then later becomes infected again.
Some COVID-19 reinfections have been reported, but they remain rare, the CDC says.
The state of North Dakota is having conversations internally about the definition of a reinfection and how it will make information about the prevalence of reinfection in the state public, Peske said Wednesday.
The CDC has recommended investigation protocol for suspected cases of reinfection, as there has not been conclusive research done on whether simply contracting the virus makes a person immune to it for a period of time.
In other forms of human coronaviruses, cases of reinfection have occurred.
Last month, scientists in Nevada confirmed that a 25-year-old was infected with COVID-19 twice earlier this year. This was the first confirmed case of COVID-19 reinfection in the U.S.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at email@example.com.