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CLEVELAND (WJW) – COVID long haulers now have increased access to specialized care at the Cleveland Clinic’s reCOVer Clinic.

Treatment options recently expanded to patients outside of its hospital system who are seeking help from across the state and country.

“I think the most surprising thing we’ve found is the volume of people who are suffering from this,” said Dr. Kristin Englund, director of the reCOVer Center of Excellence for Long COVID.

“Numbers right now estimate that we have about 19 million adults in the United States suffering from long COVID, so the numbers are huge.”

The reCOVer Clinic is home to 18 specialties designed to diagnose and treat patients experiencing a variety of complex symptoms.

“We hear about COVID having the loss of sense of taste and smell, but there are some patients who go to the other extreme as well,” said Dr. Englund. “They can’t eat and they lose tens of pounds because food tastes like garbage.”

Since opening in February 2021, the reCOVer Clinic has seen more than 2,500 patients, a mix of vaccinated and initially unvaccinated patients.

“We’re also seeing people who were wonderfully healthy prior to getting COVID,” said Englund. “They were athletes, they were functioning lawyers working full time and now they’re really at some point, at some times, disabled.”

Research is underway at the Cleveland Clinic to learn more about the causes and possible cure for long COVID.

In order to be seen at the reCOVer Clinic, patients must have a positive COVID test with new or ongoing symptoms for 28 days.

“Unfortunately, the numbers are continuing to rise in those with long COVID,” said Englund. “So this is not going to be done in the near future. We’re going to be dealing with this for many years to come.”