WINTER PARK, Fla. – On Thursday, the Florida Department of Health reported 10,870 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s overall total to 1,029,030 cases since March.
As the United States continues nine months into the pandemic, doctors’ offices continue to fill up with a growing number of patients long past their positive test who are still dealing with lingering symptoms.
A September report from the World Health Organization suggests “there are many case reports from people who do not regain their previous health following COVID-19,” including those without pre-existing medical conditions.
Drew Harris, of Winter Park, is among them.
News 6 introduced you to Harris, a 32-year-old man without any preexisting conditions, back in June, after he tested positive in March and spent more than two months in intensive care and on a ventilator.
“I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” Harris said.
Harris spoke to News 6 from his home in Winter Park, where he continues to learn how to get around with his walker and his wheelchair.
“I feel woozy today, I have no appetite whatsoever,” he explained. “Yesterday, I was ravenously hungry. It’s really a grab bag of stuff. Random stuff that happened while I had COVID, or had when I was recovering in the hospital after waking up, I’m still dealing with months after being discharged.”
Dr. Victor Herra, an infectious disease specialist and associate chief medical officer at AdventHealth Orlando, told News 6 his staff is seeing quite a few “long haulers,” as they’re called, coming through their hospital doors.
“We know it’s real,” he said. “We are at the stage of trying to understand what those manifestations are and how we can treat them, and as an organization, we’re thinking about this concept of post-COVID care and how to treat those patients.”
To learn more about “long haulers” and to find resources for those dealing with lingering symptoms, click here.
As for Harris and the rest of the growing list of “long haulers,” the wait for their cure continues.
“Take this seriously,” he said. “Even if it’s just a little bit of time to make sure we get rid of it. Put in the work, put in the time, it’s worth it to make sure other people don’t have to go through even a random chance of this.”
If you’d like to help out with Harris’ long road ahead, you can donate by clicking here.