<< Back

How Patients Can Get Help When the Virus Leaves But COVID-Related Symptoms Remain

December 30, 2020

If you’re “in it for the long haul,” it implies dedication and determination. But the 15 percent of COVID-19 patients called “long-haulers” because the virus lingers in debilitating ways would rather not be in it any longer.

According to Dr. Jordan Powner, a pulmonologist and critical care doctor at Hartford Hospital, the percentage of people who cannot shake the effects of COVID-19 once they shed the virus itself is simply an educated guess as thousands more are infected each day. Many people might not seek help for the troubling long-term symptoms either.

“We’re kind of just catching the tip of the iceberg now,” Dr. Powner said of the statistics.

Long-haulers, he said, are those who recover from the basic virus symptoms — even if that recovery included a hospital stay — but continue to struggle with alarming symptoms that can affect their quality of life and even make them more vulnerable to serious conditions.

Dr. Powner and his critical-care colleagues particularly worry about lingering and untreated cardiovascular symptoms, which he said could place COVID-19 survivors at increased risk of stroke or heart disease.

Many people who continue to suffer with the effects of the virus long after they’ve recovered are finding help through the Hartford HealthCare COVID Recovery Center (860.827.3200), created for exactly that purpose.

The COVID Recovery Center team fields calls and helps connect people with whatever services they might need to address their lingering symptoms. These symptoms can include neurological problems such as brain fog or memory issues, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, neuropathy, swallowing problems, muscle weakness or difficulty breathing.

Long-haulers can be referred to Hartford HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Network, Rehabilitation Network, Ayer Neuroscience Institute, Heart & Vascular Institute or other specialty service lines for follow-up care.

For more information, people who have had COVID-19 can call the COVID Recovery Center at 860.827.3200. Anyone with questions about the virus itself, testing or vaccine can call the Hartford HealthCare Community Care Center at 833.621.0600.