Mar. 28—With about 9,000 new cases of coronavirus a week currently in Ohio, the contagious virus still is a reality, although easy to forget as many daily activities have returned to normal, according to a news release from University Hospitals.

"As time has gone on, we have also learned the reality of long COVID, which can affect individuals for months or longer with debilitating effects, such as fatigue, brain fog, breathing problems and other issues," the release said.

The Clinical Research Center at University Hospitals continues to study the effects of long COVID-19 and currently is enrolling adults 18 years and older who meet one of the following criteria:

—Individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 28 days.

—Individuals who believe they were infected with COVID-19 in the past 28 days.

—Individuals who have never been infected with or tested positive for COVID-19.

"COVID-19 has disproportionally affected racial and ethnic minority populations, including African American, Hispanic, Latino, Spanish, American Indian and Alaskan-Native individuals, who are three times more likely to be hospitalized than White individuals," said Dr. Grace McComsey, vice president of Research, and associate chief scientific officer at University Hospitals, in the release.

McComsey stresses in the release that research studies greatly need diverse participants of all races and ethnicities, because ensuring diversity in clinical trials is key to ensuring health equity and advancing medicine.

The long COVID-19 study is to help learn more about long-term effects of the virus and to understand who is at greatest risk of having long-term effects, according to the release.

Participants will be followed for up to four years, and the study involves collection of blood and other specimens and completion of study questionnaires every three months.

"UH was first in the nation to enroll in the long COVID study, or what's called the 'post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 Longhauler Study," McComsey said. "Moreover, Northeast Ohio should be proud that UH is continuing to lead enrollment numbers throughout the nation."

The study currently has 930 participants and hopes to enroll 1,000, according to the release.

Compensation and a meal voucher are provided for each completed visit, the release said.

Coverage for travel expenses including parking, rideshares and mileage reimbursements also are provided for eligible participants, the release said.

The study will follow participants for up to four years.

For more information, call 440-762-6843 or email [email protected].

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