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If you were really sick in January, is it possible you already had the coronavirus? Infection control expert answers your questions

You asked. We got the answers.

CLEVELAND — You've probably seen this question popping up on social media... If you were really sick back in December or January with coronavirus symptoms, is it possible you already had COVID-19 and didn't even realize it? If you already had it, does that make you immune now, too?

We wanted to get the truth behind these questions, so we went to Dr. Shanu Agarwal -- an infection control expert with Summa Health -- to get the answers.

"It’s hard to really say at this point. That would’ve been really early in the time when we had the first U.S. cases. As far as being immune to the disease, we are just not sure of that. Down the road, I think that we would be able to check for coronavirus antibodies, but at this point that question is really unanswerable at this time.

Remember, the virus wasn't detected in this country until mid-January with a case in Seattle. Ohio didn't confirm its first case until earlier this month.

Dr. Agarwal also addressed a few other questions, which we've outlined below...

QUESTION: I’m 66 and feel fine, but I have a 98-year-old mother who lives alone close to me. She’s currently healthy. Is it still OK to visit her once a day if we follow handwashing precautions?

Dr. Agarwal: Loved ones who are older is really at high risk for coronavirus. Unless it is absolutely essential to visit your loved one, I would recommend staying away – especially to follow and support our state and public health officials in what their recommendations are. Your loved one at that age can be at very high risk for catching the virus and becoming very ill from it.

QUESTION: What if you had symptoms, but you’re over them now. Can you still get tested and how do you know when you can leave your house?

Dr. Agarwal: If you did have symptoms, it very well could have been coronavirus. If the symptoms are much better, to test at this point it’s probably not going to offer much. What I would recommend is staying home. Give yourself 14 days. At that point, it would be safe to say that you’re allowed to leave the house.

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