COVID 'long haulers' celebrate recognition after state adds stories to website

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Thousands of Utahns dealing with symptoms months after being diagnosed with COVID-19 feel they are finally getting recognition.

These "long haulers" said a recent article posted on the state's coronavirus website is helping them feel heard and also helping to connect others to their resources.

"We are real people dealing with this, with families and jobs that some of us haven't been able to return to," said Lisa O'Brien, creator of the Utah COVID-19 Long Haulers Facebook group.

It has been nearly a year since O'Brien was diagnosed with COVID-19. But like a handful of others, her symptoms just did not go away.

"Some of us have experienced crazy heart rates, crazy blood pressure. I lost about half of my hair probably from all the stress my body went through," O'Brien said.

She started the Utah COVID-19 Long Haulers Facebook group, which now has over 2,000 members, as a platform for people to discuss their symptoms and share resources.

"Long haulers have been left out of the mainstream messaging," she said. "Almost this whole time we've got the case count, the recovery counter, the death count, and now we are counting vaccinations. But you know, we haven't really counted those who haven't recovered."

With the state posting about long haulers and sharing some of the stories on their website, O'Brien felt they are finally getting recognition.

"It is great to be acknowledged," she said. "It is great that people know that having these long-term symptoms is a real risk."

She hopes articles like these will help give those in similar situations hope and a place to turn to.

"We don't have all the answers of course yes we are still learning a lot but we do know bits and pieces," she said.

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Ashley Moser
Ashley Moser co-anchors KSL 5 Live at 5 with Mike Headrick and reports for the KSL 5 News at 10. She was born and raised on the island of O’ahu and worked as a reporter in Hawaii and a handful of cities across the U.S.


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