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Local man has COVID-19 after taking 5 tests with different results

MONTGOMERY COUNTY – Nick Nichols of Montgomery County tested positive for the coronavirus on June 29. He said the virus ran its course in about five days. But in his quest to return to his business, he took three tests in three weeks: all still showing positive for coronavirus.

The problem is Nichols said he’s been at home feeling fine for weeks.

“Trying to do the right thing for society and confined to my house but I not able to live life,” he said.

On Tuesday, Nichols went to a different facility to take a COVID-19 test and the results came back negative. He retook the test at the same place Wednesday morning and again the results were negative.

"Called my doctor and asked them, 'What do I do?' And they told me, 'We don't know what to do.'"

Dr. Joseph Petrosino, the chair of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, said the difference in results likely comes down to testing methods and basic biology.

The three positive tests came from nasopharyngeal swab tests. They probe deeper into the nasal cavity and results are more accurate. The two negative results were produced by rapid antigen tests. He said those tests, along with nasal swab tests, are far less accurate.

"If a rapid test was used then I would trust that one less than if a reference laboratory PCR assay was done," Petrosino said.

He also said that even after a COVID-19 patient has recovered the virus can still be present in their bodies for up to several weeks. While they likely may no longer be positive or contagious.

Petrosino concluded that Nichols was likely no longer positive or contagious and should be able to return to his business.


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