PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — COVID-19 case counts are on the rise again, with infection rates, case totals, and hospitalizations up across the country.
Healthcare leaders are bracing for a possible post-Thanksgiving spike, including people who have been reinfected with the virus.
Now, Pennsylvania’s Department of Health is changing how it will be counting cases to include those reinfected patients.
Starting Monay, the state’s health department will include COVID-19 reinfections as new cases when they release the case count.
Under the new guidelines, anyone who tests positive more than once at least 90 days apart will be counted more than once when the numbers are reported. State leaders always had data on who was reinfected, but previous protocols only required initial cases to be posted. This change comes as health leaders better understand how the virus operates.
“It was a reasonable guess that people would be getting it only once. But now as we’ve seen, it’s much less like the measles and a lot more like diseases that tend to occur like influenza,” Dr. Randolph Peters said.
Now that reinfections will be publicly shared, doctors hope data will help them learn more about the virus and evaluate infection rates. Dr. Peters also says it will offer some insight into natural immunity.
Dr. Peters also pointed out that while COVID-19 numbers may fluctuate, the virus is still evolving and that as long as that happens, information and guidelines surrounding the virus will also change.