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Lingering effects may extend COVID-19 struggle, says Winnipeg epidemiologist

Wearing a mask or face covering is highly recommended by Manitoba health officials.
Wearing a mask or face covering is highly recommended by Manitoba health officials. Mike Saran via Getty Images

People who had comparatively mild cases of the coronavirus throughout the pandemic may not be fully recovered, says a Winnipeg epidemiologist.

Epi Research founder Cynthia Carr told 680 CJOB that lingering impacts aren’t uncommon among patients who didn’t end up in the hospital or the ICU.

Read more: These Canadians say they suffered COVID-19 symptoms for months

Carr said research shows about 20 per cent of people who got the virus but didn’t require hospitalization are seeing ongoing side effects — even after they’ve recovered.

“Some of the more serious (cases) we’re hearing about are related to our circulatory system, so carrying blood,” she said.

“And constriction of the veins, which of course can lead to opportunity for blood clots — which can lead to stroke.”

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Read more: Individual in Winnipeg youth soccer community tests positive for COVID-19

Carr also said only time will tell if those recurring symptoms will remain after a few weeks or months — which is why researchers are keeping a close eye on longer-term COVID-19 outcomes.

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The list of potential health impacts, she said, is a lengthy one.

“Persistent tiredness, loss of taste, loss of smell, coughing, shortness of breath, headaches.”

“We’re talking about impact to our respiratory system, our lungs, and then throughout our body, our
head… people talking about the impact it has on dialysis, the impact it has on kidneys.”

Carr said while the most severe COVID-19 outcomes are mainly seen in older patients, young people shouldn’t assume they’re immune to the virus — or its lingering effects.

Read more: Province announces 34 new coronavirus cases in Manitoba on Friday

As of Friday morning, Manitoba had identified 34 new cases of the virus, bringing the total number of lab-confirmed cases in the province to 830.

In the Prairie Mountain health region, which includes the city of Brandon, the province is requiring masks in all public indoor places and at all gatherings — both indoor and outdoor — beginning on Monday.

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Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest told 680 CJOB that the impact on his community — which went months without new cases earlier in the pandemic — should give people across the province notice that no one is immune from potential infection.

“It’s a stark reminder for all of us — every community large and small — to not take this for granted.”

Click to play video 'Answering your COVID-19 questions, August 20' Answering your COVID-19 questions, August 20
Answering your COVID-19 questions, August 20