B.C. opens 3 clinics dedicated to recovery for COVID-19 long haulers
Preliminary research shows some patients suffer permanent damage to lungs caused by coronavirus
Three clinics devoted to helping COVID-19 patients recover from the long-term effects of the disease are now open in B.C.'s Lower Mainland.
The clinics, located at St. Paul's Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver and the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre in Surrey, will provide specialized care while also helping doctors learn more about the lingering effects of infection with the novel coronavirus.
"We know some people who recover from COVID-19 experience long-term health effects. Through the dedication of a large team of experts and health leaders across the province, we are working to ensure that specialized care is available to British Columbians, when they need it," Health Minister Adrian Dix said in a news release.
So-called COVID-19 long haulers have reported an array of symptoms that last for months after they've recovered from their illnesses, including shortness of breath, debilitating fatigue, body aches, coughing, loss of taste or smell, joint pain and headaches.
Health officials say an early study conducted by Vancouver General Hospital, St. Paul's Hospital and the University of B.C. found that more than half of hospitalized COVID-19 patients had abnormal breathing tests three months after they became sick, and one in five had permanent lung scarring.
The clinic at St. Paul's Hospital has already seen more than 160 affected patients, according to the news release.
"We want patients to feel like they are not alone. We are here. We're listening," the hospital's physician lead and internist Dr. Jesse Greiner said.