SANTA MARIA, Calif. - 77-year old Sarah Fausel wears a mask whenever she goes out in public.
But after meeting a recovering COVID-19 patient who wasn’t wearing a mask, she now has questions.
“I asked him why don’t you have a mask on, because it’s required, and he said, ‘because I’ve had the disease so I can’t get it again,'" says Fausel.
Doctors at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria say everyone who has gotten sick with the virus still need to take precautions because they can still get sick.
And even if someone has been vaccinated, they need to still mask up and maintain physical distance.
"It can really take up to 14 days before your body starts producing enough antibodies to fight off infection. So certainly after you receive a vaccine, it’s extraordinarily important that you keep doing what you’re doing for infection prevention," says Dr. Scott Robertson at Marian Regional Medical Center.
So even if you’re vaccinated or you’ve tested negative for COVID-19, doctors say all health protocols still apply.
Doctor say it’s important to note that a negative COVID-19 test in an asymptomatic patient only means that you were negative time at the time sample the sample was collected.
"You could become positive within the hours or following days and so it doesn’t give you a free pass to go out and do whatever you want," says Robertson.
Doctors are reminding everyone, while they are hopeful things will improve before long, there are still hurdles ahead.
"I'm looking forward to things returning to normal," says Fausel.