Choose the health content that’s right for you, and get it delivered right in your inbox.
To help keep more people safe, health authorities around the country and the world are working tirelessly to understand how coronavirus (COVID-19) affects people. What is known so far is that older adults and people who have chronic illnesses or compromised immune systems face a high risk of becoming severely ill from coronavirus.
If this is you, or someone in your family, you can take extra precautions to minimize the risk of illness and stay healthy.
Who’s Most at Risk of Severe Illness From Coronavirus?
From the data we have now, older adults and people who have underlying health conditions are more likely than other groups to get severely sick from the novel coronavirus.
If you believe you're at risk for coronavirus (COVID-19), please contact your health care provider or the local Department of Health. Risk factors that may indicate COVID-19 include fever, cough, or flu-like signs, AND either recent international travel OR contact with someone recently diagnosed with COVID-19.
February data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that in China, 77.8% of confirmed coronavirus cases were among people ages 30 to 69 years old, and about 19% were severely or critically ill. The highest fatality rate of 14.8% was in people over the age of 80.
People With Pre-Existing Health Conditions
If you have a compromised immune system, or someone in your family does, you likely have a higher risk of getting sicker from coronavirus.
People with these pre-existing health conditions “appear to develop serious illness more often than others,” according to the World Health Organization:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Lung disease
Extra Precautions to Take
On March 31, 2020, the White House and the CDC issued an update called The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 30 Days to Slow the Spread. The guidelines recommend that older adults and those with a serious health condition should stay home and away from other people for 30 days.
Just like others in your community, it’s important to follow the recommended precautions to help stop the spread of coronavirus . But if you are in a higher-risk group, it is essential to take these extra precautions while you’re at home to reduce your risk of getting sick.
Have a Supply of Household Goods
As you prepare to stay at home for a while, stock up on the following items:
- Household items and groceries
- Necessary medications
- Over-the-counter medications
- Tissues, soap and hand sanitizer
Create a Backup Plan
Create a backup plan in case you become sick. Think about other medical supplies you use, such as oxygen, incontinence products or supplies for dialysis or wound care, and arrange to have enough on hand if you need to stay at home for a prolonged period.
Coronavirus Warning Signs to Watch For
If you feel sick, call your doctor or set up a video visit with them through the AdventHealth app. Older adults and people who have chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems should seek help as soon as possible — even if their symptoms are mild.
Please first contact your health care provider or the local Department of Health if you are at risk for coronavirus (COVID-19). Risk factors that may indicate COVID-19 include fever, cough, or flu-like signs, AND either recent international travel OR contact with someone recently diagnosed with COVID-19. Health care officials will direct you to the appropriate place for care.
Emergency Warning Signs to Know
Seek immediate medical attention if you develop the following emergency warning signs, says the CDC:
- A bluish color on lips or face
- Difficulty breathing
- New confusion or an inability to arouse
- Persistent pain or chest pressure
COVID-19 Testing Priority for High-Risk People With Symptoms
The CDC has created and distributed coronavirus test kits to U.S. state and local laboratories, and each test requires a physician’s order. After careful consideration of symptoms and medical histories, doctors will determine if people should be tested to see if they have coronavirus.
However, people with coronavirus symptoms who are in high-risk groups — older adults or people who have chronic health conditions or compromised immune systems — are considered priorities for testing, says the CDC.
Extra Guidance — and Encouragement — From the CDC
In a recent video briefing, infectious disease leaders from the CDC described preventive measures to help protect older adults from becoming infected with coronavirus.
“I want everyone to know that you do need to take this coronavirus seriously,” said Admiral Brett Giroir, MD, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. “But do not panic — you are not helpless. In fact, you have a lot of power to protect yourself, your family and your community.”
If you have elderly loved ones, or friends or family members with chronic health conditions, you can support them in several ways, without leaving home.
We’re Here to See You Through This
We’re here for you and your family through this pandemic. Visit our Coronavirus Resource Hub for regular coronavirus updates, answers to your coronavirus FAQs and more important resources for your family.
If you want to see your primary care provider without leaving your house, you can use the AdventHealth App to visit your doctor virtually, in the comfort of your own home.