COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on current information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
Those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include:
- People aged 65 years and older.
- People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
- Other high-risk conditions could include:
- People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma.
- People who have serious heart conditions.
- People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment.
- People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] >40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk.
- People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk with severe viral illness, however, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk.
Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.
Precautions for Persons with Underlying Health Conditions
Anyone with a chronic medical condition or who is immunocompromised and is receiving home-health care should:
- Avoid close contact to anyone that is sick and do not allow anyone to enter your home that is showing symptoms of respiratory infection such as cough, fever, shortness of breath and sore throat.
- Do not allow persons who have traveled internationally or on a cruise ship in the past 14 days to enter your home, whether they have gotten tested or not.
On September 1, 2020, Florida issued Emergency Order 20-009 which lifts restrictions for visitation to nursing homes, assisted living facilities (ALFs), adult family-care homes, adult group homes and other long-term care facilities. Emergency Order 20-009 requires all visitors to wear PPE pursuant to the most recent CDC guidelines, and those not making physical contact still must wear a mask.
See more information about people at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.
Related Outreach Materials
People with chronic or underlying health conditions are more likely to become very sick from COVID-19. Those who have one or more of these conditions should be extra careful:
- Moderate to severe asthma or chronic lung disease
- Heart disease
- Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
- Liver disease
- Autoimmune disease
- Weakened immune system because of smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, cancer treatment, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, or prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications
- Severe obesity
More information on COVID-19 and chronic or underlying health conditions can be found here.
Yes, you should contact your healthcare professional just like you would at any other time. You should not delay in seeking medical care if you are concerned about your health, but call your healthcare provider before visiting the office.
If you are concerned about visiting your doctor, ask about what telehealth services they may offer. Your doctor’s office may ask screening questions, limit the number of people who can be in the office at any one time, require face masks, and introduce other processes to keep you safe.
Call your doctor or your County Health Department if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, have symptoms, and need to be tested. They will decide whether you need to be tested, tell you where to go, and link you to local resources for people who have limited mobility.
The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus (and avoid exposing other people). Here’s how:
- Practice social distancing.
- Wear a cloth face cover in public.
- Clean your hands often.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- Clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces.
See more about preventing and preparing for COVID-19.
The time between exposure to the COVID-19 virus and onset of symptoms is called the “incubation period.” The incubation period for COVID-19 is typically 2 to 14 days, although in some cases it may be longer.
If you have had close contact with someone showing COVID-19 symptoms or has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should call your County Health Department or other health care professional to discuss the steps and precautions you should take.
The CDC recommends self-quarantining for 14 days if you have recently traveled to a high-risk area, even if asymptomatic. CDC guidelines allow for quarantine to end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms occur during 14 days of monitoring.
If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath during self-quarantining, contact your health care professional and mention your recent travel. Your health care provider will help you determine the nearest COVID-19 testing center for you to visit.
CDC guidelines allow for quarantine to end after Day 7 with a negative test taken on Day 5 or after, and if no symptoms occur during 14 days of monitoring.