How does New Mexico track COVID reinfection rates?

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – More than 2,200 New Mexicans have had COVID-19 twice. “It does appear that reinfection is rare, but it is documented,” said NMDOH State Epidemiologist Dr. Christine Ross.


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But, Dr. Ross says, it can be difficult to track those numbers. According to Dr. Ross, it takes at least 90 days for a person to shed the virus, which can make tracking reinfections challenging. “Is this real infection, or are we in fact just picking someone up who has tested positive again, because they continue to shed the virus over a long period of time,” said Dr. Ross, during a press conference on Wednesday.

If you’re immunocompromised, it may take longer than 90 days, which means even after those 90 days have passed, you could potentially still test positive for the virus. Dr. Ross says in order to prove it’s a reinfection and it’s not the original case, they have to compare the first positive sample to the second. “It could be very difficult without adding genomic sequencing information,” said Ross.

According to the state’s weekly epidemiology report, there have been more than 7,000 fully vaccinated New Mexicans who have tested positive for the virus since February. That’s compared to 53,000 cases among the unvaccinated in the same time frame.

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