Long-COVID: Alberta Health Services estimates 68,200 people have or will develop the disease
More than 68,200 Albertans have or are expected to develop symptoms that health officials believe are long-lasting COVID, according to estimates from Alberta Health Services.
In a statement to CTV News Edmonton, AHS said the figure is generated from an estimated 20 percent prevalence rate in the province, and not from independent analysis.
The provincial health authority says this figure is routinely used internationally to project the number of people who test positive for COVID-19 and who will likely develop symptoms in the long term.
“Long-COVID is not a standardized clinical diagnosis at this time,” said Kristi Bland, spokesperson for AHS. “It represents a wide variety of symptoms that can range from mild to severe, depending on the patient.
“AHS is currently developing a process to track patients with post-COVID symptoms and is also working with Alberta Health to survey Albertans who have had COVID-19 to help us understand the type and duration of symptoms people are experiencing.” , added Bland.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), fatigue, memory problems, sleep disturbances, shortness of breath, general pain and discomfort, and difficulty thinking or concentrating are some- some of the symptoms of COVID long in adults.
PHAC says there have been reports of more than 100 symptoms or difficulties with daily activities associated with a long COVID. The federal agency says 60% reported one or more long-term symptoms, more than 12 weeks after an initial positive confirmation for COVID-19.
According to PHAC, the most frequently reported symptoms of long-term COVID in children include fatigue, muscle pain, sleep disturbances, weight loss, headaches, and difficulty thinking or concentrating.
The World Health Organization says infection with COVID-19 may also increase the risk of diagnosed or undiagnosed long-term health problems, such as lung function, depression, anxiety, and cardiovascular inflammation.
Preliminary results from the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics estimate that around one in 10 people who test positive for COVID-19 may have one or more symptoms of COVID prolonged for 12 weeks or more.
As of December 16, there were 340,916 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta.
The number of cases provided by the province can no longer be relied upon to present an accurate picture of COVID infections, as only certain groups are eligible for PCR testing, and most Albertans are encouraged to self-test at home , without a structure to report these results.