COUNCILLORS in York have lost 500 days of work since the end of 2021 due to staff suffering from long Covid.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request submitted to City of York Council asked the authority how many days it had lost to long Covid.

A spokesperson for the council said that the council had lost 500 days to the virus - and that 13 staff had been hit by it since December 2021.

The council spokesperson said: "As reported in our FOI response we have lost 500 days to long Covid since December 2021. Fortunately, that has only ever affected just 13 staff - with current numbers significantly lower. 

"When any member of our team is dealing with any long-term illness, we have a range of policies in place to support them. We maintain a focus on reducing sickness absence across the organisation, managing sickness absence on a case-by-case basis, which can include phased returns to work, establishing what work-related factors might need addressing, and support during return to work."

York Press: CoronavirusCoronavirus (Image: Newsquest)

The council said staff members are given general advice and Covid guidance - and employees are signposted to support information with regards long Covid on the NHS website.

It also said that there is no specific rehabilitation package available to staff with long Covid, other than signposting to standard NHS care.

As part of the FOI request, a spokesperson for the council said: "Advice would be sought from our Occupational Health provider and reasonable adjustments considered depending upon symptoms and support needed."

Earlier this month, the Press Association (PA) reported that a third of people with long Covid in the UK are likely to have been suffering the symptoms for two years or more.

New figures show that around 645,000 of those with long Covid are estimated to have first tested positive for the virus at least 24 months ago.

This is 30 per cent of everyone likely to have the symptoms at the start of December, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The figure is up from 594,000, or 27 per cent of the total, in November.

Overall, around 2.1 million people living in private households in the UK were estimated to have long Covid last month. This is the equivalent of around one in 30 of the population.

A report published in December by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee said it was “unclear” what impact long Covid might be having on the growing number of economically inactive people in the UK – and recommended further study be carried out to understand the impact of long-term sickness on employment levels.

The NHS said that the most common symptoms of long Covid include extreme tiredness, shortness of breath, loss of smell and muscle aches.