Calgary clinicians offer services to help COVID-19 'long haulers'
A clinic at Calgary's Peter Lougheed Centre will examine and help treat people who are suffering from the long-term effects of COVID-19, commonly known as "long haulers."
CALGARY -- While many people who contract COVID-19 recover without any long-lasting effects of the disease, a group of doctors in Alberta are offering their services to help anyone still struggling.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) confirmed to CTV News that there are clinics specially designed to treat the symptoms of "long hauler" patients in Alberta. One such facility is set to open at the Peter Lougheed Centre (PLC) in Calgary next month, officials say.
It's the second of its kind in Calgary, with the first opening at the Rockyview General Hospital in September 2020.
Officials say they're designed to help people suffering from the long-term respiratory issues connected to COVID-19 infections.
Researchers say studies have discovered that a relatively large number of COVID-19 patients suffer from long-lasting effects of the disease.
"We know from Europe, especially after the first wave, that a large proportion of patients will have symptoms that last after their acute infection," said Dr. Jason Weatherald, with the University of Calgary's department of medicine, one of the researchers involved with the clinic.
Typically, COVID-19 symptoms clear up within two weeks following infection, but as many as 40 per cent of people may still exhibit symptoms months later, he says.
"'Long COVID' is kind of a colloquial term that encapsulates any persistent symptoms connected to a COVID infection."
Those include issues like brain fog, fatigue, mental health issues and lung damage.
Weatherald says the PLC possesses state-of-the-art diagnostic tools that can help identify conditions in patients so doctors can them offer appropriate avenues of treatment.
While the PLC hasn't yet seen any patients, the Rockyview clinic has had results.
"They've seen about 30 or 40 patients already with long-term COVID symptoms."
He says they're focusing on patients with respiratory issues, but there could be a lot of other problems connected to the long-term effects of the virus that doctors haven't yet uncovered.
"We will try to facilitate care for patients that we see, but part of the message I wanted to get across is there are a lot of resources that people can access if they are suffering from those symptoms including HealthLink (811)."