Health officials are sharing that while rare, someone who has been listed as recovered from COVID-19 may die from lingering symptoms of the virus.
On Friday, a Winnipeg personal care home shared that while they were not experiencing an outbreak, nor had any active COVID-19 cases, one of their residents who died is being considered a COVID-19 death.
"With heavy hearts, we announce that one of our beloved COVID recovered Residents passed away today. Our sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of our Resident," Saul & Claribel Simkin Centre's CEO, Laurie Cerqueti, says in a statement shared with CHVN.
Cerqueti says that at this time, Public health is declaring the death of the COVID recovered resident as a COVID death, resulting in the centre reporting it as such.
"Just because someone is recovered does not necessarily mean that they did not die of complications from COVID," Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba's Chief Public Health Officer, says. "We have a national definition of a COVID death, and if anyone who meets that will be listed as a COVID death."
A provincial spokesperson says it is rare to move from being considered recovered to a COVID-19 death.
"A medical officer of health will review suspected COVID-related deaths that occur post-recovery on a case-by-case basis and as mentioned, may determine COVID-19 to be the cause or contributing cause of death in some instances," the spokesperson says.
The province says they do not have any data on recovered-turned COVID-19 deaths.
As the pandemic continues, many are watching the 'long-haulers,' people who are considered no longer contagious but continue to exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. Roussin says Manitobans need to look to their usual care provider to care for the lingering symptoms.
"It is not something that is reportable to Public Health," the doctor says. "Public Health does not have a sense necessarily of the proportion of people with the persistent symptoms or issues."
As this is a relatively new aspect of the virus, there is not much data on lasting symptoms. In some cases, a patient could be in the hospital for weeks and labelled as recovered but still requiring ICU care due to the virus.
"We know we still have people in the ICU because of the respiratory distress that COVID had caused."
While Roussin does not know the specific details of the care home's death, he suspects the person died of COVID-19 complications that remained after the roughly 10-day infectious period.