4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020


Henry Ford Health System leaders say long COVID can be worse than initial illness

Posted at 3:07 PM, Feb 04, 2022

(WXYZ) — Henry Ford Health System leaders held a press conference Friday to provide a COVID-19 update—and while most news was trending in the positive direction with the recent drop in cases, there was a plea to the community to not intentionally try to catch the virus. There was also a focus on long COVID as it continues to impact patients across the state.

Symptoms of long COVID, officials say, are wide ranging and can include loss of taste or smell, severe fatigue, cognitive disfunction, mobility issues, respiratory issues, psychological issues, fever and headaches.

“The disease can be worse than the initial illness,” said Dennis. “Intentionally trying to get COVID can put others in harm’s way,” said Dennis Cunningham, Henry Ford Health System's medical director of infection control and prevention.

On Friday, Michigan reported 9,805 new cases over the course of two days, averaging 4,903 cases per day. In the Henry Ford Health System, leaders say they are down to 233 hospitalized COVID patients from 304 earlier in the week. At the peak, the system was caring for more than 500 COVID patients.

Henry Ford currently has a long haul COVID research program. One of their patients, Jeff Whitmer from Sylvan Lake, says some days are better than others as he battles long COVID.

“It’s like going through a 5 or 6 hour basketball practice where you’re constantly running … no matter how much rest I get,” he said.

Jeff said it all started as a mild case of COVID in November of 2020.

“I just really never got better,” he said.

Whitmer said his entire family is now vaccinated against COVID-19. He said his wife and son have had to help take on extra tasks while he continues to deal with long COVID.

“It’s very stressful on all of us,” he said.

Henry Ford Health System Dr. Eunice Yu said it’s rare to see long COVID in patients who are up-to-date on vaccinations with a booster.

“The only way to prevent long COVID is to not get COVID in the first place,” said Dr. Yu. She encourages vaccinations and other preventative measures.

For more information on the Henry Ford program, click here.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.