At-risk Populations

COVID-19 Care: At-Risk Populations

Individuals at risk of severe illness should stay at home and keep away from others who are sick, except in exceptional circumstances. Wash your hands often, particularly after contact with high-touch surfaces. Avoid crowds and closed-in settings with little air ventilation as much as possible. Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, like doorknobs, keyboards, cell phones, and light switches.
  • In households with individuals at risk of severe illness, provide a protected space for those individuals and have healthy people conduct themselves as if they were a significant risk to those individuals. For example, healthy people should wash their hands before feeding or caring for an at-risk individual.
  • Have a plan for if you get sick and stay in touch with others by phone or email.
  • Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs that require immediate medical attention.
  • Family members and caregivers can support older adults by knowing what medications they are taking and ensuring there is an extra supply on hand.
  • Family members and caregivers can support older adults by monitoring food and other necessary medical supplies (e.g., oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, and wound care supplies) and by creating a back-up plan for securing those essentials if they run out.

Individuals most at-risk include, but are, not limited to:

  • older adults and persons of any age with underlying medical conditions, such as persons with a blood disorder (e.g. sickle cell disease or a disorder being treated with blood thinners), an endocrine disorder (e.g. diabetes mellitus), or a metabolic disorder (such as inborn error of metabolism);
  • those with heart disease, lung disease (including asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), chronic kidney disease, or chronic liver disease;
  • those with a compromised immune system (e.g. those who are receiving treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy, who have received an organ or bone marrow transplant, who are taking high doses of immunosuppressant, or who have HIV or AIDS);
  • those who are currently pregnant or were pregnant in the last two weeks; and those with neurological or neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions.
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KDHE also has a phone bank available to answer questions from the public or health care professionals, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The toll-free number is: 1-866-534-3463 (1-866- KDHEINF).