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Post COVID Support

Many people who experienced a COVID-19 infection continue to experience a wide range of long-term symptoms that can interfere with daily life. This is a condition known as “post COVID syndrome,” and it can cause many individuals to be unable to work or even remain in their homes. This situation can be extremely challenging for those affected, and NYSDOH has been working closely with patients, public health authorities, specialists, and clinicians on ensuring that they receive the support they need to manage their symptoms.

The medical community continues to learn more about these post-acute symptoms, and it can be frustrating for individuals who have a variety of symptoms that don’t fit with or improve after a brief illness. While the vast majority of people recover from a COVID-19 infection, experts know that 10-20% of people develop long-term symptoms. These symptoms can impact a person’s ability to live independently and perform their jobs or other activities, and may result in a loss of income.

A comprehensive care plan, including a multidisciplinary team that can include physicians, social workers, psychologists, and other post Covid support staff, is a critical part of managing these long-term symptoms. This type of care can help prevent long-term effects and ensure that individuals have the resources they need to meet their goals. The AMA’s What Doctors Wish Patients Knew series highlights one such multidisciplinary approach to care, which includes a comprehensive management plan that incorporates standardized, trauma-informed approaches to assessment and treatment of symptom clusters.

While the CDC’s COVID-19 resource page features a number of helpful resources, such as educational materials for health care providers and patients, it is important to recognize that we still don’t fully understand why these symptoms persist. It could take months, or perhaps years, to understand how these health conditions are affecting people. In the meantime, it’s essential for health care providers to be transparent with patients about these challenges.

Patients can also seek out their own self-help and advocacy resources. For example, the Black COVID-19 Survivors Alliance emerged as a Facebook support group in 2020 and has since grown into a national, grassroots organization that focuses on health equity. Likewise, Dysautonomia International hosts global, local, and identity-based support groups for people living with autonomic nervous system disorders, including a New York City working group. This type of peer support is especially important for individuals who have been diagnosed with long-term COVID conditions, and it can serve as a powerful ally against mistreatment or dismissal of their health concerns. In addition, the Office for Civil Rights has provided guidance on how to identify and address discrimination on the basis of a person’s post-Covid conditions.

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