An interesting article published by Chen and others looked at the epidemiological and clinical findings of short term recurrence of SARS-CoV-2 by PCR positivity in 1282 discharged cases.  

They found that of 1282 discharged patients, 189, that is 14.74%, tested positive again for SARS-CoV-2 RNA during the 28 day follow-up.  

The median time from discharge to the next positive test was about eight days.

Patients in the group that tested positive again were younger, 34 versus 45 years and with a high proportion of moderate symptoms, 95.7% versus 84.35% in the first hospitalisation than in the negative group.  

During the second hospitalisation, all patients who were tested positive again showed normal peripheral white blood cells and lymphocytes and no new symptoms of COVID-19.  

78.1% further improved on chest CT scan compared with the first discharge yet 25.93% had antiviral therapy. 

They contested that the short term recurrence of positive SARS-CoV-2 in discharged patients was not a relapse of COVID-19 and the risk of onward transmission was very low.  

The patients had no new symptoms and none of their close contacts developed COVID-19.

Dr Paul Ettlinger
London General Practice

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