Councillors have called for awareness and support around the issue of long Covid in Hartlepool.

Representatives on Hartlepool Borough Council Audit and Governance Committee raised concerns at their latest meeting over the number of people dealing with Covid-19 weeks beyond the initial illness.

Craig Blundred, director of public health at Hartlepool Council, outlined how “long Covid” is when someone is still suffering from symptoms four weeks or more after getting Covid-19.

He added although they do not have actual figures for how many people are suffering from long Covid in Hartlepool, estimates have been drawn up by the Office for National Statistics, based on the rates of Covid-19 infections.

He said the estimated number of people still unwell after five weeks is 4,699, and after 12 weeks is 3,066, which means “quite a significant number of people ”could be affected by it.

Cllr Carl Richardson stressed it is important recorded figures of how many people are dealing with long Covid in Hartlepool are collated as soon as possible, to help raise awareness to younger residents on the issue.

He said: “What I’m worried about, a lot of young people feel like, yes stuff is going down now, things are getting better.

“In actual fact, long Covid is a dangerous thing, especially for young people, and that’s what I really worry about.

“When people get this stuff they don’t realise, yes they may survive, they may not die, but unfortunately it’s the impact of long Covid.”

Those dealing with long Covid can suffer from issues such as lasting fatigue, persistent pain and breathlessness.

Mr Blundred said they hope to bring figures detailing the number of people suffering with long Covid to a future meeting.

Cllr Rob Cook, chair of the Audit and Governance Committee, also raised concerns over the issue, adding they need to educate residents on it.

He said: “I do have concerns about the long Covid issue.

“People think that long Covid, some people think they have to be still ill and contagious as regards to long Covid, I believe that’s not the case, but they do suffer.”

Mr Blundred also confirmed residents suffering from long Covid do not pass it on to other people in the same way coronavirus is transmitted.

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