New clinics for COVID-19 patients with long-lasting symptoms as doctors learn more


These patients who have been experiencing symptoms for weeks and even months are now being referred to as "long haulers"

CLEVELAND (WKBN/WJW) – We know most people who get COVID-19 recover within a few weeks. However, some are dealing with major symptoms that can linger for months.

These patients are now being referred to as “long haulers.” They’ve been experiencing symptoms for weeks — and even months.

Some people are experiencing fevers, chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue, among other symptoms.

Doctors and nurses are seeing these symptoms continue in every age range and demographic.

Right now, long hauler’s syndrome isn’t really a diagnosis — it’s something doctors are working to figure out. They say it’s been divided into two main groups — people who experience physical damage to their organs and those who have symptoms without any physical change.

A woman from Columbus said she’s been dealing with this for the past nine months.

“Then kicked in the chest pain, the shortness of breath, the heart palpitations. As time went on, I lost complete feeling in my left leg to where it was completely paralyzed. My fingers have gone blue, my hands have tremored,” Elle Sompres said.

She has turned to online support groups for answers and new information that her doctors are encouraging her to share.

Health providers are starting research in the hopes of better understanding what’s going on. To help Sompres and others, clinics are popping up across the country, including at the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Kristin Englund is leading the creation of a long hauler clinic and said they’re seeing fatigue as one of the main symptoms, and it’s not just one age group or demographic either.

Englund said the virus isn’t necessarily still in the body. What long haulers are dealing with now is the body’s response to it.

She said it’s often inflammatory responses that can cause these persistent symptoms.

Englund is hoping to get the clinic started in the next four to six weeks.

“We’re building a core team of a couple of providers who will be doing an initial evaluation on patients,” she said.

Englund said after a patient’s evaluation, they’ll start making specific referrals to specialists who have helped develop what they’re calling the Recover Clinic programs.

They’ll start with patients who are currently at the Cleveland Clinic, then expand later.

Englund said they named it the Recover Clinic because they fully anticipate patients to recover.

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