Friday 30 October, 2020

‘Long COVID’ seen in 87% of patients, Ministry prepared to respond

Long COVID could affect most patients of COVID-19 for some time after they’ve gotten over the virus. This is the perspective of local health officials who are beginning to understand the long-term effects of the novel coronavirus. 

Symptoms of Long COVID are heart inflammation, an irregular heartbeat, abnormal lung function which can affect oxygen capacity, vertigo, strokes and seizures and mood swings. Regular symptoms of COVID-19 like loss of taste and smell, fatigue and shortness of breath can also persist. 

According to Dr Sana Mohammed, Pulmonologist and COVID-19 Consultant, a high number of patients have expressed the persistence of these symptoms. 

“More than 87 per cent of patients experienced at least persistence of one symptom. Fatigue and shortness of breath are the most common symptoms experienced where more than 50 per cent of patients reported ongoing fatigue,” she said. 

Dr Mohammed says the Ministry of Health is working on ways to ensure that patients experiencing these symptoms have the proper care they need. 

“The Executive Wellness Centre at the Arima General Hospital within the North Central Regional Health Authority has been conceptualised to help manage our patients who may experience Long COVID or health consequences following COVID-19 infection,” she said. 

While it’s still in its early stages, the Wellness Centre clinic has already begun accepting patients. 

More mature COVID-19 patients can be more severely affected by Long COVID but all patients are equally susceptible. Doctors are still trying to figure out what exactly causes Long COVID. 

“It might be due to invasion of the tissues from the virus itself. It might be due to profound inflammation or it might be due to the body’s immune response in the body following infection with COVID-19 or it might be any combination of these factors,” she added. 

Dr Mohammed explained that as more information on or cases of Long COVID arise, the Ministry will prepare itself to respond accordingly. 

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