People at Risk for Serious Illness

What Can You Do if You are at Increased Risk for Severe Illness
from COVID

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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:

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