GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Health care providers in the Triad feel hopeful when it comes to COVID. People with long COVID who’ve gone through months of treatment are seeing results.

Lora Hinson’s health improved, but she admits she’ll never fully heal.

“The cough and trying to talk it was like impossible. I would get winded. My body still hurt … I could breathe. The nosebleeds. I was getting headaches,” Hinson said.

Hinson first started to feel sick driving to her son’s home in Baltimore before Christmas 2021. She felt terrible and slept most of her visit. She cut her trip short and drove right to the emergency room in Greensboro. 

After she was admitted, doctors tested her for COVID, and the test came back positive. Since she wasn’t vaccinated at the time, she received a monoclonal antibody treatment and went home.

“I love to work out, and I noticed when I couldn’t lift 20 pounds, and I couldn’t breathe. I needed help,” Hinson said.

Hinson describes COVID as a darkness that kept trying to pull her down. Her only escape was through sleep.

She started seeing a clinician at Cone Health’s Long-COVID Clinic on Pomona Drive once a week for four months. The location has since moved to Elam Avenue.

“We’ve had a drastic decline in long-haulers,” said Tonya Nichols, a nurse practitioner at the clinic. 

Compared to last year, the number of long COVID patients seeking help is down 50%. One or two new patients walk into the treatment center each week.

Nichols believes that physical therapy exercises and speech therapy are having a big impact on patients.

“They do cognitive rehabilitation, and my patients say that’s been working wonders for them,” Nichols said. “I don’t think they realize how deconditioned COVID has made them until they start doing physical therapy, and then they’re like, ‘Man, this is really helping.'”

Hinson doesn’t have a cough and has her energy and strength back to compete in bodybuilding competitions again, which is something she loves to do.

However, the effects of COVID still hurt her. She had trouble with her kidneys before the virus, and now she deals with the long-term effects of chronic kidney disease.

Hinson tells FOX8 she’ll continue to wear a mask when she goes out and stay away from people who seem like they could be sick because she worries about reliving the virus again, but she isn’t discouraged.

“It’s a battle of trying to stay up and keep going, and that’s what helps me because I know if I stop, I won’t be able to get back into anything, and I love life,” Hinson said.