Three of the four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County could be recovered and released from self-isolation, according to the Shelby County Health Department.

People who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 must be in self-isolation for seven days, according to Hillary Buchanan, the Communicable Disease Coordinator at the Shelby County Health Department. That’s because they must have had it it for a while, were showing symptoms and were tested prior to the seven-day isolation.

At the end of the seven days of self-isolation, the last 72 hours they must have no fever without using medication, and be symptom free.

“They sign an agreement to self-isolate under these conditions,” said Steve Melega, Shelby County Health Department Administrator. “Then they release themselves. We don’t record recoveries here at the health department. Their health provider may send that information to a database. We ‘assume’ that those exposed recover after 14 days, if they are not hospitalized or die.”

Melega confirmed that the first three confirmed cases, if they are healthy, could have self-released. He said that the fourth case should still be in self-isolation.

He explained that they only get a court order to isolate if the confirmed case is still out in the public and not self-isolating.

That would mean of the 40 people tested from Shelby County, 33 were negative, four were positive and three are pending. With three tests pending, 36 of the other 37 were either negative in the first place or now “assumed” to be recovered, with only one case still in self-isolation.

Melega noted that even after confirmed cases have recovered, it may be possible for them to get sick again. He said it depends on the number of antibodies they built up and the load of exposure.

There are also two strains of COVID-19. The “L” strain is more deadly, and the “S” strain is less harmful.

John Curtis can be reached at

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