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Public Health District says post-COVID effects vary, but may contribute to long-term issues

Posted at 6:58 PM, Dec 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 19:58:39-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — After news of a Corpus Christi man who was hospitalized for several months lung, KRIS 6 News asked a local health expert on what the long-term effect can be for someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

“It’s really different for every person,” said Dr. Kim Onufrak, Clinical director and Alternate Health Authority for the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Public Health District. “But it is something that needs to be brought up.”

While symptoms vary person-to-person, Onufrak said shortness of breath is a problem that’s becoming more prominent post-recovery.

“They still feel shorter breath months after recovering from COVID and that’s damage to the lungs,” Onufrak said. “They also feel damage to the heart — we know that people have come in with heart failure — it does predispose you to having heart attacks and strokes, because it does thicken the blood.

Onufrak said many patients who do recover from the virus are sent home with blood thinners as a result. She continues on with other symptoms.

“There’s something called ‘brain fog’ from COVID, and then you have the fatigue, just people still feeling not up to par, just still feeling very weak,” she said, adding that patients can feel dazed even months after recovering from the virus. “So it affects different people in different ways — but there are side effects — and that’s the concerning part — that the majority of people will recover completely, but sometimes it might take a few months or a few weeks for them to get better.”

Although there’s for more hope of a sense of normalcy now than last year, Onufrak reminds the public that this is not the time for people to let their guard down, and to continue following local health guidelines.

“If everybody would practice this, hopefully we can get this under control sooner rather than later,” she said. “And hopefully — 2021 will be a better year than 2020."