Covid-19 patients in ICU take 2 to 3 weeks to recover say Experts

  • 1 week ago

The average time spent by Covid-19 patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is between two and three weeks, while those with chronic medical conditions often take longer to recover from the virus.



This was highlighted by Dr Muna al-Maslamani, medical director of the Communicable Disease Center (CDC) at Hamad Medical Corporation, during a press conference on Wednesday.


She stressed that chronic diseases such as kidney, liver and lung ailments, heart diseases, arterial hypertension, diabetes or medications that cause immunodeficiency are among the risk factors that lead to increased severity of the disease -- and its complications -- due to the impact on the body's immunity and its ability to resist the virus, according to a Qatar News Agency (QNA) report. This also result in an increased need for people with such conditions to enter the ICU.


She said common diseases increase the risk of a person dying from Covid-19, which was confirmed by a study conducted in China, which shows that people who suffer from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, high blood pressure or cancer face a high risk of death from infection with the virus, according to the QNA report. Dr al-Maslamani pointed out that latest studies in Qatar show that up to 20% of the adult population suffers from diabetes, and that hundreds of thousands of people suffer from one or more chronic diseases.


She stressed that since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in China, Qatar's healthcare sector led by HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari has worked quickly and firmly to put in place the necessary measures to combat the virus.


The Ministry of Health has worked to ensure the availability of the necessary clinical capacity and medical treatment for all infected patients, starting from the Communicable Disease Center and then by providing more hospitals affiliated to HMC, she noted.


Further, Dr al-Maslamani said the CDC has worked, since the beginning of the outbreak, to set specific policies for examining patients and determining the level of the virus in order to determine the severity of cases and provide appropriate treatment for each case. “Evidence from around the world shows that while anyone can be infected with Covid-19, people with chronic disease are more likely to develop severe symptoms if they get the virus,” she added.


She explained that since the beginning of the pandemic, the Center has divided cases into asymptomatic cases, mild-intensity cases, moderate-intensity cases and very severe cases. Based on this division, the place where the patient is to be kept is determined, and cases are also sorted based on the patient's vital signs, the need for treatment, the need for life support methods such as ventilators and treatment devices such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy, which requires admission to the intensive care units.


Dr al-Maslamani noted that the symptoms and level of severity vary from one case to another, and that many patients infected with the virus may not suffer from any symptoms at all. Mild-intensity symptoms are usually fever, dry cough and loss of the sense of smell and taste.


She noted that patients without symptoms and those with mild symptoms are admitted to health isolation facilities to reduce the chances of the virus spreading to other people, and they are monitored and provided with medical care if necessary during their isolation.


She also explained that medium and severe cases see the symptoms develop and become more intense, which include suffering from high temperature, having severe difficulty in breathing, a persistent dry cough and severe fatigue. This is in addition to people who suffer from severe symptoms such as lung infections. Such cases are admitted to hospitals designated to treat people with Covid-19 and put them under extreme surveillance in anticipation of a possible deterioration of health, according to the QNA report.


Dr al-Maslamani said the CDC developed a protocol for treating patients with Covid-19 based on new and important global studies. A key aspect of the protocol is the use of blood plasma extracted from patients who have recovered from Covid-19, as an adjunctive treatment for people infected with the virus because patients receive other anti-virus treatments at the same time.


She pointed out that the Center launched a virtual clinic system to follow up on patients recovering from Covid-19, especially the groups most at risk of contracting the disease, including the elderly and those with chronic diseases.They are contacted by phone to check on their condition after recovery from the disease.


She noted that the number of deaths caused by Covid-19 in Qatar is very low as different factors have helped in this regard, the most important of which are the percentage of people in the youth age group and the proactive screening and testing programme, which means that cases can be identified early. Another factor is the availability of an effective and efficient health system that diagnoses and treats patients early to reduce complications.


She stressed the need for community members to play a major role in protecting the elderly and those with chronic diseases from the risk of infection by protecting themselves so that they do not transmit the disease to such persons.