The top team of medical professionals at the UH COVID Recovery Clinic have made it their mission to help people with lingering COVID symptoms finally recover

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David Rosenberg, MD, MPH, is the medical director of the University Hospitals COVID Recovery Clinic at UH Ahuja Medical Center. (Photography: Felicia Berger)

By Laura Briedis

For those suffering from lingering effects of COVID for months, or even years, Dr. David Rosenberg says there is hope and you will get better.

As the medical director of the University Hospitals COVID Recovery Clinic at UH Ahuja Medical Center, he leads a team of medical professionals ranging from pulmonologists and cardiologists to sleep medicine doctors and behavioral health experts who all work together to treat patients as a whole person to help them feel better.

Commonly referred to as COVID long-haul syndrome, Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PACS) is defined as having symptoms at least three months after first contracting COVID. Recent studies have shown that up to 30% of individuals infected with COVID-19 will continue to have health problems for months after their body has cleared the virus.

One of the most common complaints is fatigue and weakness, though symptoms run the gamut from brain fog and memory issues to shortness of breath and heart palpitations to insomnia and depression. The impact on patients’ health can range from mild to severe, with the latter being totally debilitating.

“We want patients to know that long-haul COVID is real and not just in their mind,” says Dr. Rosenberg. “Also, certain individuals are more susceptible for developing long-haul COVID. Specifically, it is more frequent among those whose acute illness is greater in severity. Also, it is more common in women than men, older children than younger children and among underserved individuals.”

He cautions that there is a misconception that the current variant with less severe symptoms won’t result in long-haul syndrome. However, even those with mild symptoms can still have long-term issues.

“The one thing that remains constant is that those who have been vaccinated have less risk of getting long-haul COVID,” he says.

Pathways to Healing
The UH COVID Recovery Clinic is dedicated to the thorough evaluation, diagnosis and multidisciplinary treatment of patients with lingering health problems.

“We don’t just refer patients to various specialists. Instead, our clinic is integrated where medical professionals caring for long-haul COVID meet and confer regularly to discuss cases and topics pertaining to the disorder,” says Dr. Rosenberg. “We offer patient-centered care, where the nurse practitioner becomes the quarterback of the team and works with a multidisciplinary panel to call upon different medical care specialties and is always there to talk with patients and listen to them.”

Since COVID can affect multiple organ systems in the body, the care may include pulmonary/cardiac rehab, physical therapy services, general pain management, sleep therapies and behavioral health intervention for depression and anxiety.

Dr. Rosenberg says the mind-body component is critically important for long-haul COVID patients, so they have accessibility to integrative health services including relaxation techniques, coping skills, stress management and even acupuncture to help with chronic pain.

A Second COVID Clinic in Geauga
Since the UH COVID Recovery Clinic opened in Beachwood in August 2021, hundreds of patients have been successfully treated, and now plans are underway to open a second clinic later this year in Geauga.

Nurse practitioner, Carrie Schwemley, will be seeing patients at UH’s second COVID Recovery Clinic opening later this year at UH Geauga Medical Center, a campus of UH Regional Hospitals.

“We are expanding our services to other areas to extend our reach and help more patients recover from COVID,” says Dr. Rosenberg. “In Cuyahoga County alone, it is estimated that 350,000 people have had COVID and very possibly up to 20% of those have had long-haul COVID.”

Heading up the team at UH Geauga Medical Center will be nurse practitioner Carrie Schwemley, who will be the patient’s primary contact and will be coordinating the efforts to get patients on the road to recovery.

Lingering COVID Symptoms?
At the UH COVID Recovery Clinic, patients have access to a network of medical specialists to perform the appropriate diagnostic tests and develop a personalized treatment plan to address physical and behavioral aspects of a patient’s illness, which may include the following symptoms:

• Shortness of breath
• Dizziness and lightheadedness
• Fatigue
• Brain fog
• Insomnia
• Atypical chest pain and palpitations
• Cognition and memory difficulties
• Depression and anxiety
• Muscle aches
• Joint pain and impaired mobility
• Loss of smell and taste
• Headaches
• Diarrhea
• Skin rashes

If you are experiencing long-haul COVID symptoms, call University Hospitals at 440-629-4018 to schedule an evaluation, or visit