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Woman tests positive for COVID 12 times, misses third Christmas with family

Woman has tested positive for COVID 12 times, will miss third Christmas with family
Woman has tested positive for COVID 12 times, will miss third Christmas with family 02:47

By Jordyn Jagolinzer, WBZ-TV

CHARLESTOWN - COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the state. For Lorraine Hemingway of Carver, it's her 12th time contracting the virus. Now she'll spend her third Christmas without her family.

She says she specifically misses spending more time with her grandchildren. "I look at them and it's almost like they got used to me not being around," said Hemingway.

The first time Hemingway tested positive was in 2020. In 2021, she contracted the omicron variant. Since then, she's dealt with long COVID, a nickname for those who've had an acute case of COVID with long-term symptoms. "I've never been the same," she said.

Despite being fully vaccinated with two boosters, Hemingway suffers from brain fog, headaches, and loss of balance. She stays away from seeing her grandchildren to keep them safe.

"They're all little and I'm missing their recitals, I used to go watch them play hockey and soccer," said Hemingway.

She just finished her second round of Paxlovid treatment. Dr. Shira Doron from Tufts Medical Center said Paxlovid rebound sometimes results in a positive test result.

"Prominent people with COVID that took Paxlovid felt better, worse again, and tested with an antigen test that went to negative to positive," said Dr. Doron, an infectious disease physician.

She adds that PCR tests can stay positive for months which can be confusing when it's likely only from only one infection.

"Was it one, was it two - did I get reinfected, or is it my first infection. Especially when people have symptoms for a long time... but I'd be surprised if people have had more than three or four infections in this world," said Dr. Doron.

With Christmas just five days away, vaccine clinics are packed with people.

"A lot of people are anxious getting together with family and not being vaccinated," said Kristen Simonelli with NEW Health Charlestown.

Their recent vaccine clinic was packed Tuesday Night. Cesar Martinez was there to get his booster shot.

"I want to be safe I want to keep everyone safe and not be that one person that could get it and give it to someone that could cause more damage to them," said Martinez.

If you're wondering if you should get together with family this year, here's Dr. Doron's advice if you have just tested positive:

"If you're days 0 through 10 you shouldn't be gathering with family because you can't eat or drink with your mask on," she said.

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