Lucy Hubber, Director of Public Health - Nottingham City Council and Dr Hugh Porter, Clinical Director, Nottingham City Integrated Care Partnership gave an update on Long Covid and highlighted the following information:
a) Long Covid was an unexpected consequence of the pandemic and was currently defined as someone who had one or more Covid symptoms lasting for a period of at least 12 weeks. Approximately a fifth of people surveyed reported having had a Covid symptom previously, with over a third reporting persistent symptoms lasting at least 12 weeks, a further tenth on those lasting at least 12 weeks and being reported as ‘severe’
b) Long Covid is appearing in all ages, but more so in women. It was also more prevalent in people who are overweight or obese, people who smoke and those living in deprived areas. However, persistent Covid symptoms were lower in people of Asian ethnicity.
c) Long Covid was a complex and an evolving picture with worldwide research ongoing. Studies have suggested that there are 200 different symptoms listed associated with long Covid.
d) Cases of long Covid had been reported not just in those people who had originally been hospitalised with Covid but also in those who had relatively mild cases of Covid. A National Enhanced Service has been introduced to support upskilling and education in primary care until March 2022 and further information could be accessed on the national website www.yourcovidrecovery.nhs.uk.
e) Long Covid is having a huge impact on individuals and 79 NHS post Covid clinics had been set up across the country offering multi-disciplinary support. With two universities in Nottingham there had been the opportunity to work with them and support and assist with local research into long Covid recovery.
The Chair thanked them both for their updates and explained that she was aware of people who, as consequence of long Covid, had been left unable to work due to the debilitating nature of their symptoms.
The Chair welcomed Lisa, a resident of Nottingham, who had suffered from long Covid. She explained that she had caught Covid in April 2020, at a similar time to her 16 year old daughter. Lisa’s symptoms were relatively mild when she first got Covid. However, these became increasingly worse over the weeks and by the third week she developed a number of more severe symptoms including chronic fatigue, nausea and heart palpitations which lasted for months. After five months off work, she returned to work, but the brain fog and fatigue had made it extremely difficult; the brain fog had left her sometimes unable to read and concentrate and despite having a phased return it had become increasingly more difficult to work.
Lisa’s 16yr old daughter had initially suffered from moderate symptoms, including difficulty with breathing and other respiratory issues. The narrative at the time was that children did not get long Covid, but she had continued experience breathlessness, heart palpitations and fever. Her daughter has since struggled with tics, loss of appetite and continued breathlessness.
It was noted that Lisa was receiving post Covid support but her daughter was not able to access any support due to the continued narrative that young people/under 18ys could not get long Covid.
The Board thanked Lisa for sharing her experience and expressed empathy with her current situation.
It was suggested that the Council through business engagement could pass on messages and advice to ensure employers understand the complexities of long Covid for those returning to the work place.