The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Recovered from COVID, yet in it for long haul

- LAURA FALT Laura Falt is director of business developmen­t at

MIDDLETOWN — Over a year into the pandemic, vaccinatio­ns for COVID-19 are providing Connecticu­t residents hope. In all, 977,061 state residents have been fully vaccinated, and U.S. air travel over Easter weekend hit record numbers since before the pandemic.

There have been 325,689 positive COVID-19 cases to date (confirmed and probable), and, sadly, 7,974 residents passed, according to portal.ct.gov.

Of the many that did recover from COVID-19, there are those that have ongoing symptoms, which are commonly referred to as post-COVID “long-haulers.” An estimated 10 to 15 percent of those who had COVID-19 are considered to be in this category — where the virus has cleared, yet they experience ongoing debilitati­ng effects.

Although recovery from COVID-19 can vary in length of time and severity, long-haulers have lingering symptoms that don’t go away. The most common are fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, joint pain and chest pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has studies that are being conducted to see who is most likely to be long-hauler, how common their symptoms are, and whether they will eventually resolve. Other chronic symptoms may include headache, depression, difficulty concentrat­ing and loss of taste or smell.

Hartford HealthCare’s COVID Recovery Center was establishe­d to provide resources for patients with post-COVID symptoms and connect them to appropriat­e services. For informatio­n, contact 860-8273200. Outpatient rehabilita­tion, neurology, cardiology, and behavioral health are among the specialtie­s patients can be referred to.

Another local resource for long-haulers is Gaylord Specialty Healthcare in Wallingfor­d. For informatio­n, visit gaylord.org or call 203-284-2845.

For patients and families, a virtual COVID-19 support group is being run by the National Health Care Associates. If interested in attending, email lfalt@nathealthc­are.com or call 860-335-7526 for the Zoom link. Meetings will be held the second Tuesday of the month from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

According to many sources, the best treatment for long-haulers is to get the COVID-19 vaccine. In a recent article in the New York Times, infectious disease physician Dr. Daniel Griffin from Columbia University stated that about 40 percent of longhauler­s that he has treated had symptom improvemen­t after the receiving the vaccine.

In addition to those who experience chronic COVID-19 symptoms, there is a concern for long-term complicati­ons from the

virus, which can affect organs such as the heart, lungs and kidneys. The CDC is looking at the significan­ce of chronic health

problems related to COVID-19.

Water’s Edge Center for Health & Rehabilita­tion in Middletown. She can be reached at lfalt@nathealthc­are.com.

 ?? Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticu­t Media ?? A nurse prepares a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Stamford Health Vaccinatio­n Super Site in Stamford on April 6.
Tyler Sizemore / Hearst Connecticu­t Media A nurse prepares a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Stamford Health Vaccinatio­n Super Site in Stamford on April 6.
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