MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — We are learning more about what COVID-19 does to the body even after the virus is gone. Months after beating the virus, some COVID survivors are still fighting to relearn basic tasks.

Hennepin Healthcare is seeing post-COVID patients with longer term effects.

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Reggie McAllister was a healthy 50-year-old when he got COVID-19 in April.

“I just had headache, fatigue, fever. At the end of my shift I took my vitals and it didn’t look good at all,” McAllister said.

He was in the hospital for two months, intubated and his kidney failed. After he beat the virus, he has had to relearn to walk, relearn to cut food, and relearn to drive.

Nine months later, he is fighting the fight in intense occupational therapy.

“I am working hard everyday to be back where I was. I’m working hard everyday. It’s a journey, but I have faith I will do what I once did,” McAllister said.

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He says he is driving short distances again and just started going back to the gym.

“Reggie was hospitalized for an extended period of time but even people who aren’t potentially hospitalized are finding when they return to work, they are having this brain fog, attention skills,” Hennepin Healthcare Occupational Therapist Courtney Mitchell said.

She says some post-COVID patients can face recoveries similar to brain injury patients.

McCallister is driving short distances again and just started going to the gym again. He hopes his story proves, even if you are healthy, this virus can have longterm effects.

“It’s not a joke. I’m living proof that it can kill you,” he said.

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Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield