'It's pretty terrifying': N.S. woman who recovered from COVID-19 concerned reinfection may be possible
HALIFAX -- Kelly Marshall knows firsthand the toll COVID-19 can take.
Not only was she infected, but her husband and both her parents tested positive. Her father was one of the first people in Nova Scotia to be placed on a ventilator.
"The whole COVID experience was a nightmare," she said.
Marshall recovered in April, but by July was experiencing symptoms again.
"I woke up one day and I felt like I had every symptom again. I had a fever, I had my headache, extreme tiredness, the pain, like the aches," she said.
Marshall went in for a test and received a negative result.
But she says she continues to experience waves of symptoms to this day.
"Last week, the beginning of the long weekend, I started to feel like I had all the symptoms again, but it didn't last long," said Marshall.
Wednesday, Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang, confirmed a home-care nurse who had COVID-19several months ago and recovered has started showing symptoms again.
"The individual's test results have been inconclusive and we are working with our local lab and the national lab to determine if this is a true case of re-infection or not. In the meantime, out of an abundance of caution, we are assuming this is a new positive case," said Strang.
Dr. Lisa Barrett, an infectious diseases physician and researcher, says they aren't certain at this time if Nova Scotia's latest case of COVID-19 is a true reinfection-- but she wouldn't be surprised to see one.
"Respiratory viruses, as we all know, are things that people get over and over each year, sometimes in the same course of the same year. And there's lots of different reasons for that. We're not sure how much like respiratory viruses COVID-19 is yet, but certainly, it's not shocking to expect that reinfection may be a thing," said Barrett.
Even though her family has now recovered, Marshall says it's scary to think they could potentially get reinfected one day.
"It's pretty terrifying. You live through it once and you're pretty happy but to think that you could potentially go through it again is terrifying. Especially when you have someone that almost died from it," she said.
Even if you've had COVID-19, Barrett says it shouldn't make you feel like you're protected and don't need to be as careful as everyone else.
"I think that people hear about reinfection and they often wonder, does that mean a vaccine won't work? So, if our immune response that we generate ourselves doesn't work well for some people, does that mean a vaccine won't work, and it doesn't mean that," said Barrett.
Meanwhile, the latest COVID-19 case in Nova Scotia's central zone is still under investigation.