Long COVID in the Faroe Islands - a longitudinal study among non-hospitalized patients

Clin Infect Dis. 2020 Nov 30;ciaa1792. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa1792. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: Little is known about long-term recovery from COVID-19 disease, especially in non-hospitalized individuals. In this longitudinal study we present symptoms registered during the acute phase as well as long COVID, i.e. long-lasting COVID-19 symptoms, in patients from the Faroe Islands.

Methods: All consecutive patients with confirmed RT-PCR testing from April to June 2020 were invited to participate in this study for the assessment of long COVID. Demographic and clinical characteristics and self-reported acute and persistent symptoms were assessed using a standardized detailed questionnaire administered at enrollment and at repeated phone interviews in the period 22 th April to Aug 16 th.

Results: Of the 180 participants (96.3% of the 187 eligible COVID-19 patients), 53.1% reported persistence of at least one symptom after a mean of 125 days after symptoms onset, 33.3% reported one or two symptoms and 19.4% three or more symptoms. At the last follow-up, 46.7% were asymptomatic compared with 4.4 % during the acute phase. The most prevalent persistent symptoms were fatigue, loss of smell and taste, and arthralgias.

Conclusions: Our results show that it might take months for symptoms to resolve, even among non-hospitalized persons with mild illness course in the acute phase. Continued monitoring for long COVID is needed.

Keywords: COVID-19; Faroe Islands; longitudinal study; persistent symptoms.