NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Long Islanders who survived COVID-19 have started their own support group to help each other deal with the lingering effects of the virus.
Aida Vazquez says after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in March, she experienced a high fever, shortness of breath and a skin rash. She survived, but months later, the virus still affects her everyday life.
Vazquez says a support group that meets over Zoom has helped her significantly.
“I'm still suffering from brain fog. I have the hair loss. I have suffered from a lot of anxiety, depression and fear,” she says.
“It’s just scary to know that I'm still suffering so many months after I was diagnosed with COVID,” she added.
The founder of the support group, Lisa Penziner of Paragon Management, says 50 people have joined the group so far.
“They have an opportunity to meet each other to talk about their experiences but what we try to do is get past their experiences and talk about moving forward,” Penziner said.
She notes that the support group has been popular with people from all over the Tri-State area, and even internationally.
“Over the past six months we've had people that have attended from New York City, from Brooklyn, Long Island mainly. I even had somebody from the Philippines,” she said.
Penziner says the support group is there to help, and if you need to talk to somebody, it’s important to seek out groups.
“Please get help, not only to try to find a support group, but to reach out to a psychologist, psychiatrist or call your local crisis center,” she said. “Some of these people tell me they're in such dark places and they shouldn't be, we should be able to get out of this and get past this.”
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran recently raised awareness of a virtual support group, which she stressed is a free resource available for the almost 50,000 coronavirus survivors in the county.