Health officials on Monday reported that even for mild cases, the COVID-19 disease can cause severe fatigue, brain fog and shortness of breath months after a person gets sick.

Officials are continuing to learn about this subset of people even eight months into the pandemic, said Emily Holman, Long Beach’s communicable disease controller.

Holman said for patients who were hospitalized, the ongoing effects are even worse, including damage to the lungs, heart and other organs.

“These long-term effects associated with people with even mild illness is another reason why you want to try to avoid it at all costs,” Holman said.

In line with what county officials pointed out last week, Holman said the most common underlying health conditions for Long Beach residents who have died of the disease were hypertension or diabetes. Both conditions are very common, she said.

As for underlying health conditions for those under 65 who did not die, the most common was vaping or smoking and the second most common was hypertension.

Holman also emphasized that COVID-19 is far deadlier than the flu; in the last flu season, officials counted 11 deaths related to the flu, compared to more than 200 from COVID-19 in five months.

“No other communicable disease has reached this number of cases before, especially in this short amount of time in Long Beach,” Holman said.

On Monday, officials reported two new deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the total to 203 deaths. They also reported 131 new cases, totaling 10,147 cases in Long Beach. Officials also said 80 Long Beach residents are hospitalized.

Holman said that the demand for testing has dropped since it peaked in mid-July, but the city is still offering 1,600 tests each day. The city’s seven-day average positivity rate continues to hover at 8%.

Countywide, officials noted they’re seeing positive signs of recovery, noting that daily hospitalizations have decreased by 45% from the peak of more than 2,200 in mid-July. There are 1,210 people hospitalized, 32% of which are in intensive care.

Dr. Muntu Davis, the health officer for Los Angeles County, noted that if the county manages to maintain lower transmission rates, “we can start to think” about schools reopening, but warned that a cautious reopening does not mean that things go fully back to normal.

Davis also noted the possibility that the county could once again ask cities to close their beaches on Labor Day to prevent gatherings on the holiday weekend.

Valerie Osier is the Social Media & Newsletter Manager for the Long Beach Post. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @ValerieOsier