Ottawa Public Health is apologizing for any confusion caused by sharing information on its website about possible COVID-19 immunity during the pandemic.
Information posted on the health unit’s website said people who recovered from COVID-19 “will likely be protected from reinfection with COVID-19 for months to one to two years, and perhaps longer.”
On Sunday, the health unit said, “we’re sorry” on Twitter and updated its Frequently Asked Questions section on its website. The move came two days after Ottawa Public Health issued a tweet on Friday about antibodies and people who have recovered from COVID-19.
In the Frequently Asked Questions section of the website on Friday, Ottawa Public Health had said, “People who have recovered from COVID-19 infection have antibodies to fight future COVID-19 infections.”
Ottawa Public Health noted “people who recovered from SARS infection acquired in the 2003 epidemic (an infection caused by a very similar virus to COVID-19) had protective antibodies reported as long as two years after their first infection. One SARS survivor was found to have protective antibodies 17 years after infection.”
“So, people who have been infected with COVID-19 will very likely be protected from reinfection with COVID-19 for months to 1 to two years, and perhaps longer – we will know more about this as time goes on but this is a safe assumption.”
The information has been deleted from the Ottawa Public Health website.
On Sunday, Ottawa Public Health said on Twitter that the Friday tweet about antibodies and people who have recovered from COVID-19 was written “a few weeks ago and it was based on our info at the time (info which has since been updated).”
“We’re sorry for any confusion we may have caused.”
Ottawa Public Health updated the Frequently Asked Questions section under the question, “Is there a possibility that a person who gets the virus once can get it again?”
The health unit writes, “People who have recovered from COVID-19 infection have antibodies to fight future COVID-19 infections but it is not known how long this immunity will last.”
“But the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 illness has only been known for a short period of time and more evidence will come to light in the coming weeks and months.”
Ottawa Public Health once again encourages everyone to follow public health recommendations to limit the spread of COVID-19, including practicing physical distancing, wash hands frequently, never touch eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands and wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible.