David R Darley, Gregory J Dore, Lucette Cysique et al
The Medical Journal of Australia, December 2020
The findings in a nutshell
This paper describes a study conducted by researchers from St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney and the University of New South Wales. It covers a group of 78 patients who all tested positive for COVID-19 at a St Vincent’s Hospital testing clinic. The intention of the study is to follow this group of patients over 12 months to better understand long-term disease impacts and whether there is an association with the initial severity of the disease.
The paper, which is the first update at four-months post-COVID-19 infection, concludes that there are significant gaps in our knowledge about the longer-term impacts of the virus. Studies like this, where a cohort is followed and observed at various intervals will increase our knowledge and understanding of expected recovery and longer-term health impacts.
The assessments will be repeated at milestones, ending at 12-months post infection. We will continue to track this local study with interest.
Implications for Australian workplaces
If employees have tested positive for COVID-19, it is important for employers to understand that their expected recovery trajectory is not known. As a result, they may require support several months, or even a year, after they appear to have recovered to attend medical appointments, or to rest and recover. Through studies such as this we hope to build our understanding of COVID-19 which will enable us to be able to predict long-term health and functional impacts on work and plan accordingly.
To find out more about High rate of persistent symptoms up to 4 months after community and hospital-managed SARS-CoV2 infection read the full article here.