“We have a responsibility to the many New Yorkers who have and may be affected by Long COVID to examine this issue thoroughly using a public health lens,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “That starts by advancing longitudinal study and evaluation to better understand risk factors, presentations and short- and long-term clinical and social outcomes from long COVID. But it also means working in close partnership with providers and community actors who play a central role in our understanding of how Long COVID impacts the everyday life and mental and physical wellbeing of New Yorkers, and to address embedded inequities. This event was an important starting point for this effort.”
The day-long symposium, Long COVID and the Road to Recovery, educated patient care providers, public health practitioners and members of community-based organizations about best practices for the assessment, referral and treatment of Long COVID — a wide range of new, ongoing or returning symptoms patients may develop after their initial COVID-19 infection. In addition, the symposium enhanced participant’s understanding of the specific social support and benefit needs of patients with Long COVID and resources available for referral, including those offered through the NYC Test & Trace Corps’ AfterCare program. This NYC-specific symposium builds on the momentum of the New York State consortium held in February 2022, and emphasized actionable takeaways for providers to complement New York State’s goals.“By listening to and learning from our patients’ experiences, we are continuing to learn how to provide comprehensive care for New Yorkers living with Long COVID,” said Dr. Amanda K. Johnson, Director of Take Care at the NYC Test & Trace Corps and Assistant Vice President of Ambulatory Care and Population Health at NYC Health + Hospitals. “It is time to amplify their voices, not only regarding the impact of this condition and its symptoms on their daily lives, but to establish priorities for what support and recovery should look like.”
Introductory remarks were provided by Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom, NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Dr. Katz and NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Vasan, and then the symposium was conducted in four sessions. The sessions covered patient experience, information about best clinical practices (including diagnostic criteria, patient-centered assessments and treatment approaches that promote a continuum of care and patient empowerment) and existing policies and programs to support the physical and financial impact of Long COVID. They were followed by two breakout sessions for clinical and community-based providers.
A complete video recording of the symposium and detailed meeting agenda, including a full list of session moderators and panelists, is available for all who were unable to attend. In addition, the Health Department circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter to all New York City-based providers detailing how they can comprehensively assess their patients for Long COVID, provide treatment and connect them to specialty care and resources.
If you or a loved one are suffering from or think you may have Long COVID, please call 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319), select your preferred language and press 4 to speak directly to an AfterCare navigator. Please visit the AfterCare website and review the Long COVID recovery guide for more information about Long COVID and the resources available to you.
Patients can also be referred to NYC Health + Hospitals’ COVID-19 Centers of Excellence, which offer dedicated short and long-term follow-up care for Long COVID patients, including pulmonary care and supplemental oxygen, cardiological care, diagnostic radiology services, comprehensive mental health services, and examination rooms with special technology to safely isolate patients who may have COVID-19.
“It was an incredible experience of human interconnectedness to participate in the Long COVID symposium,” said panelist Dr. Emma Kaplan-Lewis, HIV Clinical Quality Director, Assistant Professor of Infectious Disease, Office of Population Health at NYC H+H. “I was glad to be able to hear the powerful stories of the brave individuals who shared their experiences both on the screen and in the chat.”
“Raising awareness and sharing information and resources through a symposium like this was incredibly valuable,” said panelist Rachel Potter, LCSW, Social Worker at Mt. Sinai. “We still have a lot to learn about Long COVID and how to best support these patients.”