Unfortunate few catching COVID again

Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 6:20 PM EST
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - As the omicron surge continues, health experts are seeing a small subset of people contracting COVID again. Kelly O’Brien spoke with a group of reinfected folks who agree the virus was worse the second time.

“I got it in November 2020. It was very mild,” said Karen Gilman, who lives in central Vermont.

“I first had it last February,” said Brooke Derouchie of Cadyville, N.Y.

“I had long haul symptoms until about Thanksgiving,” said Kimberly Covert Airoldi of Enosburg Falls.

All three say they were fully vaccinated but are now infected again. “This time around was worse actually, yes. The fever was a lot worse,” Gilman said.

“My throat literally felt like burning knives were cutting it,” Derouchie said.

“This time it came on so strong. I was delirious,” Airoldi said.

New York state health officials say infections are up dramatically during the omicron surge. Officials classify a “reinfected” person as someone who tests positive again after 90 days or more after being infected with COVID. About 3.6% of all COVID cases to date in New York are reinfections. Of those 169,764 cases, 82% (139,235) have been reported since December 13.

“I was surprised when I got it again and now I’m kind of racking my brain going, okay, what do you do to not get it a third time,” Gilman said.

Looking at North Country-specific numbers, the state reports that just over 1,100 cases have been reinfections since mid-December.

“I thought, of all people, I would be the least likely of my co-workers to get sick because I’ve already had it. And I guess maybe that was just ignorance on my part not really understanding perhaps how the virus really works,” Derouchie said.

Health officials say comparing infections to reinfections shows that the chance for reinfections is low. But those living through COVID again offer a word of warning. “Just be informed and pay attention,” Airoldi said.

“You really need to keep your defense up,” Gilman said.

“Both times of me having it, it’s reminded me of the value of just being sure that I recognize what’s going through my body and learning how to take care of myself,” Derouchie said.

Vermont health officials say they have identified approximately 1,200 repeat infections that have occurred greater than 90 days apart since September 2021. They say they are still developing methods to better track these numbers since they started to see an uptick in repeat infections in December.

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