MASON CITY — An infectious disease specialist at MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center in Mason City says testing positive for the antibody connected to COVID-19 does not mean that you can’t get the novel coronavirus again.Dr. Sandra Crosara says it’s just not known at this time how long people are immune to COVID-19 once they’ve had it. “One would probably think that if I had an antibody test positive today, I would be immune and I can go back to work and not worry about getting the virus. However, I don’t know how long people are going to retain that protection, and that’s the important part. That tells me that I cannot tell you that you are safe, because I don’t know how long you are going to retain the protection.”Crosara says people can fall into a false sense of security if they think they had COVID-19 earlier in the year and believe they can’t get it again. “This might be a temporary protection and we don’t know how long exactly. For all coronaviruses similar to this, but different, not as aggressive, we have seen antibodies lasting for up to four months or six months, but no more than that. It’s not enough for us to say that you’re going to be immune for a long time.”Crosara says MercyOne employees should have access to the antibody test later this month, with the hopes of making it available to the general public at some point in the near future. “This test might be available for the public, but not until late this month at least. I’m not in a position to determine when, but I’m expecting that in a month or so it might be available for the public.”According to the Iowa Department of Public Health’s coronavirus data website, 305 antibody tests have been given in Cerro Gordo County, with only three positive tests. In the area of Cerro Gordo and the eight surrounding counties plus Kossuth County, there have been a total of 2015 antibody tests given with 20 positive results.Crosara made her comments during the weekly Cerro Gordo County COVID-19 press conference which you can view below.