CORONAVIRUS

Catalonia reports four cases of Covid-19 reinfection, with one patient in intensive care

According to an epidemiologist, a doctor is currently in the ICU after contracting the coronavirus for a second time while on vacation in August

The intensive care unit at the Germans Trias i Pujol hospital in April.
The intensive care unit at the Germans Trias i Pujol hospital in April.Felipe Dana / AP

Catalonia has documented four cases of Covid-19 reinfection, with one patient having been admitted into the intensive care unit (ICU) at the Germans Trias i Mújol Hospital in Badalona in Barcelona province. That’s according to Bonaventura Clotet, the head of Infectious Diseases at the hospital, who spoke to Catalan radio station RAC1 on Monday.

Clotet told the radio station that a doctor at Palamós hospital in Girona province had been admitted into the ICU, but said his prognosis was good and that he was expected to recover. The remaining three cases have only mild infections, he added.

We don’t know how he could have contracted Covid-19
Roca Toda, head of internist medicine at Palamós hospital

According to Roca Toda – who is the head of internal medicine at Palamós hospital, where the doctor was first admitted – the health worker had a mild to moderate case of Covid-19 in March, and was admitted into the ICU with a much more serious infection in August.

The doctor’s situation worsened and he had to be intubated and transferred to Germans Trias i Mújol hospital, where he remains in intensive care. An epidemiological study has been done on the patient, who was on vacation when he fell ill again, and coronavirus tests have been carried out on staff who worked closely with the doctor at Palamós hospital. All results have come back negative.

“We don’t know how he could have contracted [Covid-19],” said Torra, who, like Clotet, called on health workers and the general public to keep up their guard against the virus.

“We believed that most reinfections would be minor,” added Clotet, who said that few serious cases – like that of the doctor from Palamós hospital and another patient in the US state of Nevada – have been documented up until now.

Several cases of Covid-19 reinfection have been announced in different countries, but there is still not enough data to know whether these are exceptional situations

At the end of August, a team of researchers from Hong Kong University announced that they had detected what is believed to be the first case of Covid-19 reinfection: a man who had contracted the disease in April, recovered, and caught a different strain of the same virus in August. The 33-year-old patient had minor symptoms in the first instance and was completely asymptomatic the second time. He tested positive for Covid-19 the second time after traveling to Spain. The reinfection could be connected to other pathogens that can repeatedly infect a person, like the strain of the coronavirus family that causes colds.

Since then, several other cases of Covid-19 reinfection have been announced in different countries. But there is still not enough data to know whether these are exceptional cases or a frequent occurrence.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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