Monday, July 15, 2024

COVID-19 reinfection advice updated

The Ministry of Health has updated its advice for those who experience COVID-19 symptoms more than 28 days after having had COVID-19.  

Under the new guidance, if a person develops new COVID-19 symptoms, and it is 29 days or more since their previous infection, it is possible that they are experiencing a COVID-19 reinfection and they should get tested.

“This reflects a change from earlier advice which was that people would not need to re-test if they had tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days,” the Ministry said in a statement.

It says anyone taking the test should upload their results to MyCovidRecord. Should they test positive, and it has been more than 28 days since they last had COVID-19, they will need to isolate for seven days. 

“This is because there remains a small chance of catching COVID-19 again within 90 days of a first infection, especially if it is a different variant or sub-variant,” the Ministry says.

If it is 28 days or less since a recent infection, a test is not needed.

“The Ministry of Health is constantly reviewing the national and international evidence on reinfections. However, evidence and infection rates vary greatly between countries and the data is very sparse.”

“New Zealand’s experience with COVID-19 has taught us a lot about how effective public health measures are at protecting us from other airborne viruses, such as the flu. Let’s keep practising these throughout winter to keep ourselves and our communities safe.”

The Ministry is also urging members of the public to book a flu vaccination.

The flu vaccine is free to anyone 65 and older, Māori and pacific people 55 and over, and for children aged 3-12.

Read here for more advice on what to do if you think you may have COVID-19 again soon after having had it: Getting reinfected with COVID-19

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