Health department publishes clinical guideline on long Covid

Up to 20% of people who test positive could end up suffering from persistent symptoms

Flowchart in Catalan health department long Covid clinical guideline
Flowchart in Catalan health department long Covid clinical guideline / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 24, 2021 11:16 AM

A year after the pandemic hit there is still much about the virus that remains unknown. Like, for example, why some people have more severe symptoms than others, or why some patients have ongoing health issues months after their initial Covid-19 diagnosis.

With this in mind, the Catalan health department has published a clinical guideline for the treatment of long Covid, which is thought to affect between 10% and 20% of all those who test positive for the virus.

These recommendations, drawn from the experiences of people with chronic symptoms, as well as medical experts and primary care physicians, are an attempt to "provide a holistic and comprehensive response" to the largely underreported phenomenon, says health minister Alba Vergés—in Catalonia, there are currently slightly over 500 people who have been diagnosed with long Covid.

According to Xavier Surís, a doctor at the Granollers General Hospital, there tend to be more women than men with long-term Covid-related afflictions beyond the first three weeks after testing positive.

"We have very little information," Surís stresses. "The guideline is based on the opinion of experts more so than on scientific evidence because we have very little of it."

The doctor maintains that mental health and rehab specialists should be receiving greater support and that when it comes to treating symptomatic patients, sometimes reducing medication rather than increasing it can be beneficial. "This should be judged on a case by case basis," he says.