SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A local hospital is opening a physical therapy clinic for people with lasting symptoms from COVID-19, also known as long-haul COVID.
Leaders at Memorial Health say they saw a need in the community to assist people with lasting COVID symptoms. Up to one-third of COVID patients can start to develop lingering symptoms up to four weeks after infection, experts say.
“Some of the most common symptoms are shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle weakness, brain fog, difficulty swallowing if they happen to be intubated,” said Carty Powers, manager of outpatient therapy.
Physical therapists at the clinic will offer strength and endurance exercises to get patients back in physical shape. Speech therapists will also be available to work with patients having memory issues.
Powers says the clinic has been in development over the past month.
“We just kind of came off our peak hospitalizations here in the area,” she said. “We had up in the hundreds of patients here at the hospital and then of course those at home with COVID recovering at home. So I think that now is a great time to reach out to all of the patients and get them back to where they were.”
Patients will be seen a couple of times a week for anywhere between eight to 12 weeks, Powers said. As for the clinic itself, the staff is prepared to stick around for as long as patients need them.
“It appears we might just continue to have peaks of high hospitalizations and increase in cases,” Powers said. “This might just be something we deal with for a year, two years I guess. Nobody knows, really.”
The clinic is currently looking for patients. You do have to be referred by a physician, but it’s open to anyone in the community suffering from long-haul COVID.