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Lehigh Acres woman continues to test positive for COVID-19 for nearly 50 days

For the past 3 months, COVID-19 has been tearing across America costing many families the lives of their loved ones.

But the first step to curing coronavirus is getting tested to confirm that you have it. So far in the state of Florida, 898,331 tests have come back negative. Crystal Howard, of Lehigh Acres, was not so lucky.

Howard has continued to test positive for COVID-19 and has been isolated, sheltering in place for 50 days. And that level of disconnect is by no means easy. “It’s extremely depressing. I’ve been crying a lot,” admitted Howard.

She says she began her self-quarantine on April 9, after going to a drive-through testing location and receiving a positive result. However, she says she never experienced any symptoms.

It’s been extremely frustrating for Howard especially since no one can tell her why she keeps testing positive. “Doctors were like, ‘I don’t know why you’re still positive, we’ll test you again next week.’ And I’m still positive. And my last test was at 48 days of being positive, and it came back still positive,” she said.

Although not required by CDC since she has no symptoms, Crystal Howard says she’ll continue getting tested until the tests come back negative.

Dr. Bindu Mayi, with Nova Southeastern University, says Howard’s perpetually positive results could be because the tests are just looking for pieces of the virus.

“So when we do the molecular test, we look for the presence of virus,” Dr. Mayi said. “Why does it stick around? Because our immune system is now neutralizing the virus … It takes time for the nucleic acid to be completely disintegrated and gone.”

Just because the virus is present in Howard’s body does not necessarily mean she can still spread it … Or maybe it does?

That’s why Howard goes with the ‘better safe than sorry’ approach. “I’m thankful, grateful that I didn’t get sick … I’m grateful for that, but I’m scared that I can make someone else really sick,” Howard said.


People with compromised immune systems are more likely to contract COVID-19 as well as often taking longer to get over the virus completely. Unfortunately, nothing can be done to make the virus leave a person’s system any quicker.

More testing will be available in Immokalee on Sunday, May 31.

MORE: CDC – When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19

Reporter:Veronica Marshall
Writer:Drew Hill
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