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Diagnoses Associated with Elevated Risk of Severe Illness or Death Following COVID-19 Infection

ODP Announcement 20-076 provides information about diagnoses and conditions associated with elevated risk for severe illness when an individual is infected with COVID-19. Emerging evidence has identified diseases and conditions that may elevate the risk of severe illness or death when an individual is infected with COVID-19.

When an individual has one of more of these diagnoses or conditions, COVID-19 infection is more likely to result in serious illness or death. This announcement lists several conditions that do not put an individual at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, but rather are at higher risk of serious illness or death should they become infected with the virus.

It is very important that individuals at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 take actions to reduce contracting the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following steps to avoid COVID-19 infection:

  • Remain at home as much as possible and avoid large gatherings or places where people congregate when away from home.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after having been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Proper use of hand sanitizer includes covering all surfaces of one’s hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
  • Practice social distancing by maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between oneself and people outside one’s household.
  • Keep away from people who are sick or symptomatic.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched services such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • Wear a mask when in public and when visiting with others.
  • Use telehealth services whenever possible.

Additional resources for ways to avoid COVID-19 as well as resources for activities that improve an individual’s overall health and well-being is included. Questions about this guidance should be submitted via email.