Mount Sinai Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health

Long COVID and the Workplace

Many workers returning to the workplace following COVID-19 infection may have long COVID and require job modification. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines long COVID or post-COVID conditions as “an umbrella term for the wide range of health consequences that are present more than four weeks after infection with SARS-CoV-2.”

These ongoing symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Dizziness with standing
  • Palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Fever
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities

Some of the most prevalent symptoms—including fatigue, respiratory symptoms, cardiac symptoms, and neuropsychiatric symptoms such as difficulty concentrating—may present significant barriers as well as safety concerns to employees returning to work. Therefore, some employees with long COVID may have to return to work with accommodations. These accommodations may include modified work assignment, changes to the work environment, or adjustments to schedules and responsibilities. Supervisors and their employees can work with an Occupational Health physician to determine the level of accommodations that should be made to enable workers to return to work while experiencing long COVID symptoms.