Who is at Higher Risk?
Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:
People of any age with the following conditions are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19:
COVID-19 is a new disease. Currently there are limited data and information about the impact of underlying medical conditions and whether they increase the risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Based on what we know at this time, people with the following conditions might be at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19:
If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:
Stock up on supplies.
Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
Avoid crowds as much as possible.
Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
What to Do if You Get Sick
Stay home and call your doctor
Call your healthcare provider and let them know about your symptoms. Tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help them take care of you and keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home. Follow CDC instructions for how to take care of yourself at home.
Know when to get emergency help
Get medical attention immediately if you have any of the emergency warning signs listed above.
How do they test for COVID-19?
To diagnose a potential case, healthcare professionals may run tests to rule out influenza and other common infections. Not all healthcare facilities are able to test for COVID-19 at this time. The test involves swabbing the nose and throat, and taking samples of any saliva and mucus that is coughed up. They may also draw blood.
Will I have to pay for testing?
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking important steps to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19-related testing and treatment to ensure all patients who need it have access to care. Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans will cover lab tests for COVID-19 with no out-of-pocket costs, any necessary hospital care, and telehealth services including virtual check-ins and full visits for those living in rural areas.
What Others can do to Support Older Adults
Community Support for Older Adults
Community preparedness planning for COVID-19 should include older adults and people with disabilities, and the organizations that support them in their communities, to ensure their needs are taken into consideration.
Many of these individuals live in the community, and many depend on services and supports provided in their homes or in the community to maintain their health and independence.
Long-term care facilities should be vigilant to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19. Information for long-term care facilities can be found here.
Family and Caregiver Support
Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
Source:Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 10, 2020