St. Luke’s launches program for COVID “long-haulers”

Written by on April 19, 2021

St. Luke’s launches program for COVID “long-haulers”

By Brittany Sweeney

April 19, 2021

Image by Darko Stojanovic from Pixabay

Infectious disease specialists say one in four people who develop COVID-19 will have recurring symptoms after a month. St. Luke’s University Health Network has just rolled out a program to treat so-called “long-haulers.”

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Dr. Dennis McGorry, St. Luke’s senior regional medical director, says it’s a multi-faceted approach starting with their primary care team and including cardiology, pulmonary, psychiatry, and physical medicine.

“A patient may receive certain kinds of tests as they enter our post-COVID protocol. There might be some testing that is needed and one of the first things we will want to do is see where they are in their process and make sure they have the appropriate evaluation, including lab work, there might be some imaging involved such as CAT scans. On rare occasions, a patient might need an MRI of the brain,” McGorry says. 

First, patients go to their primary care physician, he says, and then, if needed, they’re sent to a COVID recovery clinic to treat the prolonged effects of the virus.

He adds long-haulers of all ages, even children, are coming in for treatment.

“We’ve developed protocols and apply them across all of our primary care team to make sure that we do not miss one of these very important medical issues besides the prolonged COVID symptoms,” McGorry says. 

Long-haul symptoms may include extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and joint pain among other things, including neurological conditions.

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