Borough’s two hospitals offer help for chronic COVID-19 cases through NYC Aftercare program

KristinDalton

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Borough long haulers, or those who are experiencing lasting coronavirus symptoms weeks and months after testing positive for COVID, will be able to seek care at two facilities on Staten Island through the city’s new program, NYC Aftercare.

Approximately 10% of people who have fallen ill with COVID-19 have a lasting symptom or combination of symptoms for weeks and months after they no longer test positive for the virus. These people are referred to as long haulers or are said to have long COVID-19.

Some have chronic lightheadedness and fatigue, while others have a persistent cough or have suffered from depression and breathing problems. More serious symptoms — like respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurological problems – have also been reported.

Last week, the city announced NYC Aftercare, a program through city Health + Hospitals Test and Trace Corps, that will offer holistic care to New Yorkers with long COVID-19.

“We’ve got to make sure that folks who are still experiencing negative symptoms, having really tough effects of COVID-19, that we are there for them,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said when announcing the program.

On Staten Island, residents can seek care for long COVID-19 at Richmond University Medical Center’s (RUMC) Post-COVID-19 Care Center, located at 288 Kissel Ave.; and Staten Island University Hospital’s (SIUH) Post-COVID Recovery Center, located at 475 Seaview Ave.

Both post-COVID-19 care centers offer full diagnostic evaluations by its respective physicians so appropriate treatment plans based on individual patient needs can be created. RUMC and SIUH will work with an individual’s primary care physician throughout the course of care.

ABOUT NYC AFTERCARE

A city Health + Hospitals Test and Trace spokeswoman told the Advance/SILive.com the NYC Aftercare program will begin by contacting former clients of the Test & Trace program via SMS messaging who said they will had symptoms at the end of their isolation period.

They will then be connected to a “range of resources” and can select which they need based on their individual situation and needs.

Dr. Amanda Johnson of the Test and Trace Corps. said the program will focus on four categories – physical, mental, financial and community – and connect individuals to primary care support, virtual support groups, access to diagnostic testing and other supports.

“Things that were taken for granted before they became infected with COVID-19, like showering, getting up to go to the bathroom, dressing, preparing meals, leave them exhausted. Many work in jobs that require quite a bit of physical labor, and they worry about what it would be like to go back to work while they are still feeling so ill,” Johnson said.

“And at the same time, they are scared of what would happen to them if they don’t go back to work.”

Because long COVID is different for each individual, people will be able to choose what resources and services they need to meet their individual needs. Additionally, as more is learned about long COVID, the program will increase and enhance the range of resources that are available.

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