Experts talk long-term effects of COVID-19

Saturday, August 29, 2020

During Blytheville Mayor James Sanders’ Wednesday COVID-19 press conference, Mississippi County Health Officer Valencia Andrews-Pirtle spoke about the importance of following COVID-19 directives as well as addressed long-term effects of those who were hospitalized for COVID-19.

Pirtle said, “Today we heard comments about how we are doing as far as kids going back to school. In particular the comment was made about the athletic taskforce and how some students are not practicing the directives for COVID-19. That is very important and very alarming.”

Pirtle continued, “We believe that with the directives for sports, the kids will be safer. It’s important because I know that kids have tried to practice this summer but they must follow the directives. If you’re wearing your mask above your nose, school will continue but everyone has to participate.”

Pirtle said there have been large exposures at two (unidentified) Arkansas colleges.

“It’s important for the parents to tell the kids what’s going on. There have been two large exposures at two colleges in Arkansas. One because of a party and another from a sports teammate that tested positive,” said Pirtle.

Pirtle said although a recommendation was made by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to not test anyone that does not show symptoms, Arkansas will continue to test people that are exposed because of increasing cases.

“This morning the CDC made an announcement about not having to test asymptomatic people,” said Pirtle. “Arkansas Secretary of Health Dr. Romero said that we have not changed our stance on testing people who are asymptomatic or who are exposed. If you think you’ve been exposed, get a test. Arkansas is in the red zone, we have an increased number of cases so we are not following what was mentioned this morning by the CDC.”

As to long-term effects, Pirtle said that they have been seeing patients that were once hospitalized with COVID-19 experience some side effects.

“COVID has a crazy way of affecting your lungs which are connected to your heart. Myocarditis means inflammation of the muscle of the heart and we are seeing a lot of that. Now, because we are so far into COVID-19, we are having our old patients come back that have been hospitalized from COVID. Some are still in the hospital or rehab and we are seeing these side effects that we’ve never really seen before,” said Pirtle.

Pirtle explained,“People just can’t get to the same energy level they had and I think a lot of it is because with pulmonary problems or lung problems of COVID, you get scar tissue, your lung becomes a sponge that’s stiff and it can’t move as well. That fatigue is hard to get past. The myocarditis is something that has been seen in younger people and people that are athletes as well.”

“We are not really seeing those that were asymptomatic experiencing those long-term effects. It has really been those that were experiencing the shortness of breath or were hospitalized for COVID-19.”

As of Friday morning, Mississippi County has a total of 1,304 positive COVID-19 cases, 123 active cases, 1,161 recoveries, 9,042 negative cases and 20 deaths.