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UC Health opens up region’s first multidisciplinary clinic for COVID-19 ‘long-haulers’

Three-fourths of COVID-19 patients will have lingering symptoms for up to four months afterward, experts say.
UC Health has the region's first multidisciplinary post-COVID care clinic.
UC Health has the region's first multidisciplinary post-COVID care clinic.(The University of Cincinnati)
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 5:10 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Tri-State residents who contracted COVID-19 and are still suffering symptoms weeks or months later now have a place to go for dedicated care.

UC Health recently announced the Cincinnati region’s first multidisciplinary post-COVID-19 clinic, specifically intended for so-called “COVID-19 long-haulers.”

Long-COVID describes a diverse array of symptoms in patients who have had COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health call the condition “post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection” or PASC.

Symptoms include persistent shortness of breath, fatigue, impaired stamina, chest pain, palpitations, dizzy spells, exercise intolerance, blood pressure swings or impaired concentration.

Three-fourths of COVID-19 patients will have lingering symptoms for up to four months afterward, according to Dr. Richard Becker with UC Health.

Michael Flannery, a local philanthropist and former host of FOX19′s Club Nineteen, got the virus in January 2021.

Flannery was put on a ventilator and, at one point, doctors didn’t think he would make it. He’s feeling better now, but he says he still isn’t 100 percent.

“I get tired,” he said. “Things that weren’t hard to do get me out of breath. Occasional nightmares of not being able to breathe.”

Flannery is a COVID long-hauler.

“Having prolonged symptoms after COVID is not rare,” Becker said. “Secondly, if there is a person with prolonged symptoms, there is a team of specialists that have come together to address their needs. And thirdly, for people experiencing prolonged symptoms, it’s not in your head. It’s not imaginary. We understand that it’s real and we’re here to help.”

The clinic is seeing about ten new patients a week.

“COVID can affect any organ of the body,” Becker explained, “so knowing that we decided the clinic would be multidisciplinary and would include a heart doctor, a lung doctor, a nerve doctor, a joint doctor, an immunologist and a dermatologist.”

Flannery says he’s willing to give it a try.

“At this point, a clinic like that will be taking information, and I want them to see what I’m going through so they can help people down the road,” he said.

Primary care physicians can refer their patients to the clinic by calling 513-475-8521.

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