Reporting number of recovered COVID-19 patients ‘isn’t so simple,’ Johnston County health officials say

Johnston County News

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) – Johnston County health officials are stressing the difficulty of correctly reporting the number of patients who have recovered from COVID-19.

The county’s health department releases data daily concerning the virus – including new cases, deaths attributed to the disease and more.

But those health officials said the answer to inquires on recovery statistics aren’t as simple to produce.

“The knowledge of COVID-19 continues to develop and as such there is an amount of uncertainty regarding the length of time, as well as being asymptomatic that must pass before a patient is considered to be ‘recovered,'” said Johnston County Health Director Dr. Marilyn Pearson.

Johnston County health officials pointed to the “widely varying experiences” patients have with the virus as a reason why the term “recovered” isn’t the best classification for some.

“But instead report on those who ‘meet the Centers for Disease Control criteria for discontinuing isolation,'” said Pearson.

The county may begin to release the number of “recovered” patients once the definition of that term becomes more clear.

The Johnston County Health Department also pointed to an article by the Wall Street Journal that details cases of reinfection in South Korea. Not all who test positive for the virus have the antibodies to prevent reinfection.

“There is still so much the world is learning about this disease and how to treat it,” Pearson said. “As the CDC and DHHS work to issue reliable guidance on what constitutes recovery from COVID-19, it’s best to be cautious in describing the status of patients who appear to be regaining their health.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, Johnston County has 119 known cases of the coronavirus and 10 deaths associated with the virus.

RELATED: Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

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