Explanation of deaths from COVID-19 even when recovered

The GHA’s Public Health department wish to explain some of the medical reasons as to how deaths related to COVID-19 may be confirmed long after a positive patient is considered as having recovered, for example as has been experienced recently in our Elderly Residential Services. 

The World Health Organisation declared that the name of the Wuhan Coronavirus would become, on 11th February, SARS-CoV-2 and the disease caused by the virus would be known as COVID-19.
The press has often confused the virus with the disease.
The swabbing and PCR analysis tests for SARS-CoV-2 identifies the genetic material found in the virus (RNA), not the virus itself. This viral material deteriorates as the body mounts an immune response, such that after 10 days, the only thing being identified by further tests are fragments of RNA, not of viable virus. This means that a person who tests positive for the virus is infectious for a maximum of 10 days from their positive test result. After those 10 days, the person is no longer infectious even though parts of the RNA may be found up to 84 days later.