DOH studies data collection, management of 'long Covid' cases

By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

February 7, 2023, 3:40 pm

<p>Department of Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire <em>(PNA photo by Yancy Lim)</em></p>

Department of Health officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire (PNA photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA -- The Department of Health (DOH) is studying how it can manage cases and collect data about patients who experience "long Covid", a health official said Tuesday.

In a media briefing, DOH officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire said the agency recognizes the presence of long Covid -- described by the World Health Organization as the continuation or development of new symptoms three months after the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection which may last for at least two months with no other explanation.  

“Wala ho tayong (We don’t have) database for long Covid because it is quite impossible for us to do that as of now because patients are not really reporting their symptoms after they have experience long Covid,” she said.

“Though meron tayong ginagawa ngayon na maliit na pag-aaral, ito po ay ginagawa ngayon ng University of the Philippines [UP] but ‘yung institutional na pangmalawakan wala pa ho tayong nagagawa (Though we have a small study now, this is being done by UP. But for the institutional, we don’t have it yet) as I have said there is this limitation,” she added.

The DOH has noted that the definition of long Covid must be established primarily as “it could be any symptom an individual feels after Covid-19” which may also be a symptom of the disease a patient may already have prior to Covid-19 infection.

Long Covid symptoms can include fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive dysfunction and over 200 different symptoms that can have an impact on everyday functioning.

It can be prevented through vaccination, wearing of well-fitted masks, frequent handwashing, social distancing and ensuring proper ventilation of indoor spaces.  

“So, pag-aaralan ito ng ating Department of Health, kasalukuyan nagko-konsulta na tayo sa mga eksperto para ‘yung definition ang unang-una nating pagtatrabahuhan so that we can be able to collect the data and we can be able to manage these individuals,” Vergeire said.

The country has logged a total of 4,073,826 cases and 65,851deaths so far.

A total of 73,960,026 individuals have been fully vaccinated against the disease and 21,390,548 have received their booster doses. (PNA)