The medical profession in New York City was forced to adjust in the last seven months, often on the fly, to deal with what it was learning about COVID-19.
Queens was an early epicenter. But even once the curve had been flattened, more adjustments had to be made as patients recovered from the illness, but continue to be troubled by lingering symptoms, often for a lengthy period of time.
MediSys, which operates Jamaica and Flushing hospital medical centers, has opened a post-COVID Care center in Hollis Tudors, on the edge of St. Albans, to deal specifically with these patients.
“Something began emerging that we call long hauler syndrome,” said Dr. Alan Roth, chairman of family medicine and ambulatory care at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
While the situation in the community has improved vastly over recent months, Roth said there is still work to do.
“Long haulers are patients who had COVID-19, or who we suspect had COVID-19, early on when there was not a lot of testing being done,” he said. “The general symptoms included a range including loss of smell and taste, fatigue, body pain, headaches and what we call mental fog or COVID brain.”
Roth said an example of the latter is when a patient is looking for a word or a phrase that might be on the tip of the tongue, but might need a few seconds before articulating it. Other symptoms include respiratory problems such as chronic coughing or shortness of breath.
The site is at 200-16 Hollis Ave. Roth said it was one of the few clinics and satellite sites that MediSys kept open during the height of the COVID-19 emergency, and that it handed COVID patients exclusively.
Dr. Marwa Eldick of JHMC said the new setup is another example of medicine adjusting to new needs.
“No one had anticipated [long hauler syndrome] because no one had anticipated the pandemic,” Eldick said. “Everyone was in this together, and we wanted to make sure no one felt they were in this alone.”
Roth said the center has specialists for all of the possible needs that have been identified. Patients can be seen by primary care physicians, cardiologists, pulmonologists, neurologists and even mental health specialists.
“Many patients are suffering form depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress syndrome,” he said.