Taking the lead in post-COVID care

Medical experts across Yale New Haven Health report that many COVID-19 patients continue to require care for weeks and even months after the initial onset of illness, according to Jennifer Possick, MD, medical director of the Winchester Chest Clinic at Yale New Haven Hospital.

The Winchester Chest Clinic set up the RECOVERY (Comprehensive post-COVID-19 Center at Yale) Program to follow post-COVID-19 patients. While the focus at first was on the minority of patients who experience severe disease, there has been an increasing need to care for those who were not sick enough to require hospitalization, but still suffering months after first becoming infected.

Besides the respiratory issues that are the hallmark of the disease, the virus that causes COVID-19 also acutely affects many other organ systems, and can lead to a number of lingering symptoms. In addition to persistent shortness of breath, cough, chest discomfort, and exercise intolerance, patients recovering from COVID-19 report that they experience other symptoms such as dizziness, profound fatigue, difficulty concentrating, memory deficits, difficulty sleeping, palpitations, muscle weakness and pain and mood changes.

All of this prevents people from resuming their usual activities at home and at work. “It’s really a constellation of symptoms that are different with each patient,” Possick said. “We’re seeing patients who are 30, 60, even 90 days into illness and still limited by residual symptoms.”

The RECOVERY program at the Winchester Chest Clinic is open to referrals for all post-COVID-19 patients who have persistent respiratory symptoms. Patients should speak to their primary care physician for a referral.