Sask Long COVID—an app to better understand the impacts of Long COVID in Saskatchewan residents

Project Team: Alyson Kelvin

Not everyone who develops COVID-19 recovers quickly. People who experience continuing or new symptoms after initial COVID-19 such as fatigue, difficulty breathing, joint pain, and memory issues are now recognized as having ‘Long COVID'. Long COVID has been reported by between 30-75% of recovering COVID-19 patients. However, there is limited understanding of this illness overall and how to support people in their recovery.

Researchers at VIDO and the University of Saskatchewan have developed a mobile phone/web-based app to understand the COVID experiences of people in Saskatchewan. Using this app the team will learn about the experiences of people:

  • who experienced COVID-19 and have symptoms of Long COVID;
  • who had COVID-19 and but don’t have symptoms of Long COVID;
  • and those who never had a COVID-19.

Participants will be able to report experiences for 12 months using mobile phone/app-based surveys to assess symptoms and limitations in daily activities. By completing the questions in the app, patients will have the opportunity to describe their symptoms and needs and may choose to take part in future assessment and treatment studies.

The project involves a team of diverse scientists and clinicians that have expertise in computer science, respiratory health, epidemiology, and viruses. This includes Drs. Alyson Kelvin (VIDO), Donna Goodridge (USask), Nathaniel Osgood (USask), Josh Lawson (USask), Gary Groot (USask), Scotty Butcher (USask), Mark Fenton (USask), and Segun Oyedokun (USask), as well as health professionals Trent Litzenberger, Jill Hubick and Jaimie Peters from LungSask (formerly the Lung Association of Saskatchewan) who are actively working with people in need of Long COVID support. Importantly, they consulted with Long COVID patient partners to best design the app based on their needs and experiences.

The goal of this study is to gather evidence on the impact of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan to help guide the establishment of provincial health care support and treatment for those with Long COVID. As the app is open to residents outside of Saskatchewan as well, the results may also significantly impact our understanding of Long COVID across Canada and the world.