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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Health Dept. to conduct phone survey on prolonged COVID-19

Information on new or persistent symptoms among people who tested positive for COVID-19 between September 2020 and August 2021 will be collected.

By John McPhaul

As part of the preparations to implement the first survey to estimate the prevalence of prolonged COVID-19 in Puerto Rico, the Department of Health has trained a team of contact tracers from the Office of Epidemiology who will conduct telephone surveys starting this week.

Information on new or persistent symptoms among people who tested positive for COVID-19 during the months of September 2020 through August 2021 will be collected during the phone calls in a joint effort between the offices of the island’s chief medical officer, Dr. Iris Cardona, and Chief Epidemiology Officer Dr. Melissa Marzán.

“We are at the beginning of learning how prolonged COVID-19 is. These are symptoms exhibited within three months of a COVID-19 diagnosis that are present for a period of two months or longer, and that are not explained by other causes,” Cardona said in a written statement. “These symptoms can vary from person to person and change over time. For this reason, this first phase is more than relevant, since it will give us the initial tools to determine the proportion of people who could suffer from prolonged COVID-19 at the local level.”

Marzán added that “as part of the preparatory phase, 22 interviewers were trained with the objectives, methodology and questions of the survey.”

“In addition, information was provided on prolonged COVID-19 and the symptoms commonly manifested in people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19,” she said. “We have a work team that is very committed to public health and aware of the contribution that this effort will have in planning and coordinating the rehabilitation response for COVID-19 survivors in Puerto Rico.”

The Department of Health urges citizens to monitor social networks for more information and to collaborate by answering the survey when contacted by an interviewer.

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