Dr. Box contracts COVID-19 for second time; state health commissioner isolating at home


Dr. Kristina Box from July 9, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box has become infected with COVID-19 for a second time, the state health department revealed Wednesday.

Box is recovering at home after the reinfection. She tested positive on a rapid test Tuesday morning after experiencing symptoms Monday night. She’s undergone a PCR test, which will be sent for sequencing to determine if she contracted the omicron variant.

The commissioner is fully vaccinated and received a booster dose in November. Her symptoms included muscle aches, chills, a cough and sore throat. She plans to follow recent revised isolation guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which call for her to isolate for five full days. She can then return to work fully masked on the sixth day if her symptoms are improving.

Box previously tested positive in October 2020, although she said she experienced mild symptoms at the time.

Box is one of an estimated 113,000 Hoosiers to suffer a breakthrough case since Jan. 18, 2021. She is also one of an estimated 15,000 Hoosiers to become reinfected, according to CDC data.

The Indiana Department of Health is urging Hoosiers to get vaccinated, even if they’ve previously contracted COVID-19, to prevent serious illness.

Indiana and much of the U.S. are experiencing a renewed surge in COVID-19 cases brought on by the highly contagious omicron variant. The surge is testing healthcare systems; the state reported more than 3,200 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized. Indiana’s coronavirus dashboard reported 8,533 new cases and a seven-day positivity rate of 20.5% in its Tuesday afternoon update.

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