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Accommodation and Compliance: Long COVID

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About Long COVID

According to the Centers for Disease Control, some people who have had COVID-19 can experience long-term effects, known as post-COVID conditions or Long COVID and its associated conditions. Long COVID can include a wide range of ongoing health problems and can last weeks, months, or years.

There is no test to diagnose Long COVID, and people may have a wide variety of symptoms that could come from other medical conditions. Also, while most people with Long COVID have evidence of infection or COVID-19 illness, in some cases a person with post-COVID conditions may not have tested positive for the virus or known they were infected. This can make it difficult for health care providers to recognize and diagnose Long COVID.

Some people experience multiorgan effects that can involve many body systems, including the heart, lung, kidney, skin, and brain. As a result of these effects, people who have had COVID-19 may be more likely to develop new health conditions such as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), sleep disorder, fibromyalgia, diabetes, heart condition, stroke, respiratory impairments, mental health conditions, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorder, and chronic pain compared with people who have not had COVID-19.

Long COVID and the Americans with Disabilities Act

The ADA does not contain a definitive list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA defines a person with a disability as someone who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more "major life activities," (2) has a record of such an impairment, or (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, see How to Determine Whether a Person Has a Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

For more information about Long COVID as a disability see:


Questions to Consider:

  1. What limitations is the employee experiencing?
  2. How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance?
  3. What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
  4. What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?
  5. Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the employee to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
  6. Do supervisory personnel and employees need training?

Key Accommodations:

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Provide an alternative mask
  • Allow removal of mask when appropriate
  • Reduce the physical demands of the job
  • Allow rest breaks
  • Reduce workplace triggers
  • Allow time for medical treatment such as use of a nebulizer or inhaler
  • Restructure the job to remove marginal job functions
  • Develop a plan of action to deal with sudden exacerbations
  • Allow telework
  • Allow leave for treatment

Tiredness or fatigue

Difficulty thinking or concentrating (sometimes called "brain fog")

  • Provide a quiet workspace
  • Allow use of noise cancellation or white noise
  • Provide uninterrupted work time
  • Provide memory aids such as flowcharts and checklists
  • Allow the use of apps for concentration, memory, and organization
  • Allow rest breaks
  • Restructure the job to remove marginal functions to allow focus on essential job duties
  • Allow telework

Depression or anxiety


Fast-beating or pounding heart (known as heart palpitations)

Joint or muscle pain


Accommodation Ideas:

Situations and Solutions:

The following situations and solutions are real-life examples of accommodations that were made by JAN customers. Because accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis, these examples may not be effective for every workplace but give you an idea about the types of accommodations that are possible.

Events Regarding Long COVID