County Convenes Special Hearing on Long COVID


SAN JOSE – Santa Clara County Supervisor and Chair of the Health and Hospital Committee (HHC) Joe Simitian will convene a HHC special hearing on “long COVID” on Tuesday, October 26 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Long COVID is when symptoms continue for more than 12 weeks after a COVID-19 infectionsevere or mildwhich cannot be explained by another cause.

“The hearing will be specially structured to provide a learning opportunity for the entire community, and to help folks assess an uncertain COVID future,” said Simitian.

A recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that one third of study participants reported post-acute COVID-19 sequelae (conditions which are the consequence of an earlier disease) or long COVID after recovering from the initial phase of the illness. The four most common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficult or labored breathing
  • Distorted sense of smell or taste
  • Muscle or joint pain

“For the past year or so, we’ve heard about people catching COVID-19 and developing lingering symptoms they just can’t shake,” said Simitian. “It’s an emerging public health concern that isn’t widely understood, so I’m gathering some of the folks who are most knowledgeable about this challenge to discuss long COVID. Our County needs to be well positioned to address the long-term health needs of our community, and residents need to know what our County is doing to address the need and just what services are available to them.”  

The special hearing will include two expert panels discussing long COVID and the County's response.  The discussion will be moderated by Supervisor Simitian and Health and Hospital Committee Vice Chair Supervisor Otto Lee. Panelists include:

  • Brian Block, MD, Assistant Professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, the Associate Director of the Medical ICU, and the Associate Director of Critical Care Ultrasound at UCSF
  • Hector Fabio Bonilla, MD, Co-Director of the Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome (PACS) Clinic, Clinical Associate Professor, Medicine - Infectious Diseases at Stanford Medicine
  • Emily Hough, 2021-22 U.K. Harkness Fellow in Health Care Policy and Practice at Brown University School of Public Health
  • Supriya Narasimhan, MD, Chief of Infectious Diseases Division and Hospital Epidemiologist at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
  • Angela Suarez, MD, Medical Director of Primary Care at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

County Executive Dr. Jeff Smith, Deputy County Executive Rene Santiago, and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center CEO Paul Lorenz will also attend the to answer questions and provide insight into the County’s response to long COVID. The hearing will be structured with public comment after the panels to accommodate the public and the panelists.

“While the long-term impacts of COVID-19 are not yet fully known, long haulers are living everyday with ongoing symptoms,” said Simitian. “Medical professionals and community members should be aware of the information we have thus far, where to go for care, and approaches to prevent or treat long COVID.”

The long COVID special hearing will be streamed live on Tuesday, October 26 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on the Santa Clara County Government Chambers (SCCgov chambers) YouTube channel. For those who cannot watch live, a video of the hearing will be available on the County YouTube channel and at


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