COVID-19 long haulers say not enough has been done to support those still suffering symptoms months later

Support group for those still experiencing symptoms has thousands of members

Every day, the province and the local health unit report a number of people who have recovered from COVID-19. What isn’t reported is, some continue to suffer some symptoms long after they’re listed as recovered.

Susie Goulding is one of these people. She and a slew of others continue to suffer from some symptoms of COVID-19 long after they’ve been deemed recovered from the virus. “I started off with a very mild for throat, a lot of sinus issues, burning ear, tinnitus, then it terrible cough lost the sense of taste, everything tasted like tin,” she told Barrie 360 from her home in Oakville. “The long term effects that started coming on after the 10th week are very neurological issues.”

“I have a problem focusing, concentrating, a lot of neurological issues with my brain, as far as remembering,” she added. “I’ll be talking about something, and if someone interrupts me, I’ll completely forget what I just spoke about; it’s very hard for me to think of words.” Goulding added it was difficult to carry out some everyday tasks like driving or operating her radio.

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Goulding soon discovered she wasn’t the only one experiencing this. After forming a support group for so-called “long haulers,” the membership grew to include thousands of people. “It’s a safe place for people to be, and to vent, and to ask for help, and to cry, and to ask for peer advice,” she said. “We’re turning to one another, we’re offering a shoulder to cry on and we’re offering acknowledgment. That was a big one. There’s a lot of people who are being told by their doctors that this is all in their heads; for lack of a better diagnosis, they’re being told that they have anxiety.”

“There’s not a lot of research that’s been done,” Goulding added. “We haven’t been followed and we haven’t been addressed yet. I think the government has really dropped the ball.”

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The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s medical officer of health Dr. Charles Gardner agrees there hasn’t been much exploration of these long-haulers’ conditions. “We haven’t been monitoring that, the focused so far is on seeking to control transmission,” Gardner told Barrie 360. “I certainly think that that’s of importance for the healthcare system, for researchers. Certainly of great importance to people who are cases who’ve been affected by this; it’s impacted on their lives.”

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“We are a group of people and the numbers grow daily, and everyone is still very ill,” continued Goulding “There’s a lot of people who can’t work, and really, who just want to get back to their normal life, but are still suffering.”

As of Wednesday, the province was reporting over 57,000 recoveries, while Goulding’s Facebook group, COVID Long Haulers Support Group Canada, has grown to include over 6,600 members.