Can Recovered Coronavirus Patients Test Positive Again? Here's What To Know.

Julia Ries

Chiara DiGiallorenzo first started feeling sick on March 6. She’d recently flown to Los Angeles to visit her boyfriend, and she hung out with a friend who was in town from London. Her friend wasn’t feeling well, but she figured he just had a 48-hour bug. Soon after, DiGiallorenzo and a few of her friends started to feel run down. 

“We all had high fevers, terrible body aches and no sense of taste nor smell,” DiGiallorenzo, 25, told HuffPost. Her friends, all of whom are young and otherwise healthy, were able to beat the virus in a few days. But DiGiallorenzo, who has an underlying health condition, was still battling the sickness days later.

When she developed tightness in her chest, she decided to have a doctor check out her lungs and test her for COVID-19. A positive test came back two days later.

For about 10 days, DiGiallorenzo had a fever that ranged from 99.5 to 101.8 degrees Fahrenheit. On March 17, her symptoms cleared, and, according to the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that state you are no longer contagious three days after your symptoms end, she was officially released from isolation. 

But out of an abundance of caution, she got checked out one more time by her doctor. Even though she no longer had symptoms, she again tested positive for COVID-19 — 20 days after she experienced her first symptom. 

“My doctors are pretty unclear as to what my positive test indicates. They explained that it could either be that I still actively have the virus, or it is the dead virus [and] particles shedding,” DiGiallorenzo said. “It’s somewhat of a guessing game.”

In Igdir, Turkey, doctors and nurses gather Tuesday to applaud as a COVID-19 patient is discharged from the hospital. Research has been unclear on how long a patient might remain infectious after symptoms have ended.

Exactly how long COVID-19 lingers and spreads is still somewhat of a mystery.

DiGiallorenzo is right to say it’s somewhat of a guessing game. Researchers don’t know why some people are testing positive for longer than others ― and they’re scrambling to figure out if those prolonged positive test results mean people are still contagious.

A recent study...

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