68% of patients with mild case of COVID-19 get new diagnosis within 6 months, CDC finds

Two-thirds of nonhospitalized COVID-19 patients had at least one outpatient visit that resulted in a new diagnosis within six months of being diagnosed with the virus, the CDC's latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found. 

The study, conducted by the CDC and Kaiser Permanente Georgia, involved 3,171 COVID-19 patients who did not require hospitalization within the first 28 days of their diagnosis. 

Findings showed 69 percent of the study group had at least one outpatient visit between 28 and 180 days after their coronavirus diagnosis. Of those, 68 percent received a new primary diagnosis such as a cough, shortness of breath, chest or throat pain and fatigue, "which likely represent ongoing COVID-19 symptoms," the report said. COVID-19 was recorded as an active diagnosis for 210 of the 2,177 patients with one or more outpatients visits. 

Adults aged 65 and older, women, Black adults, and those with underlying health conditions made up a high proportion of outpatient visits. 

Researchers also found 38 percent of patients who sought medical care saw a new specialist, including cardiology, behavioral/mental health, and pulmonology, among others. 

"Raising awareness among patients, clinicians, and health systems about common new diagnoses and health needs, including specialist evaluation, after acute SARS-CoV-2 infection is important to understand the long-term effects of the illness." 

To view the full findings, click here.


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