Military officer who recovered from COVID-19 tests positive again

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 27) — A military officer from Zamboanga del Sur has tested positive for coronavirus again on Monday, after being previously declared free of the disease.

The officer, one of the first two declared positive cases in the province, was discharged from the Zamboanga del Sur Medical Center (ZDSMC) on April 7 following negative COVID-19 test results.

ZDSMC Chief Dr. Anatalio Cagampang Jr. said a follow-up exam revealed that the officer tested positive for the virus again. Cagampang however said that the latest test may have only detected “remnants of the virus.”

Department of Health spokesperson Maria Rosario Vergeire earlier said that a recovered COVID-19 patient may test positive again when the test detects remnants of the virus, which she said would be no longer infectious.

The officer reportedly traveled from Taguig City to Zamboanga City on March 14, and later to Labangan town, before manifesting symptoms of the viral illness. He exhibited cough, sore throat, fever, and colds and was subsequently housed in the ZDSMC isolation area on March 17.

Zamboanga del Sur COVID-19 Task Force spokesperson Dr. Robert Capatoy said he plans to transfer the patient back to the isolation facility for continued monitoring and further testing.

The health department earlier announced it is currently studying the possibility of reinfection among coronavirus patients.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has debunked claims of a one-time infection, saying there is still no evidence suggesting that people who have had COVID-19 would be immune to a second infection.

Stringer Leah Agonoy contributed to this report.