Coronavirus Guidance for Elderly/Vulnerable

Vulnerable Populations COVID-19 V2 (1) Opens in new windowElderly and vulnerable populations are at the highest risk of experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of sickness caused by the novel coronvirus, called COVID-19, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that current studies suggest that serious illness occurs in 16% of cases with older people and vulnerable populations with certain underlying health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes at greater risk.  It is crucial to reduce exposure of these individuals to COVID-19 to prevent infection. 

Vulnerable Populations

  • Older adults (65 and older) 
  • Individuals with compromised immune systems
  • Individuals with pre-existing health conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes.  


Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after initial exposure that include Fever, Cough, and/or Shortness of Breath. If you or someone you know is showing symptoms associated with COVID-19, call your healthcare provider immediately. Tell your healthcare provider about your recent travel or contact and work with them to determine if testing is needed.

Coronavirus Symptoms GraphicsFind up-to-date information from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC)

Slow the Spread and Preventative Actions

Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness. Find up-to-date guidance for people at higher risk and special populations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

✓ Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay away from large gatherings and crowds.

✓ Stay home as much as possible. Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks.

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

✓ Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then toss the tissue in the trash.

✓ Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth especially with unwashed hands.

✓ Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

✓ Get a flu vaccine to prevent influenza if you haven’t already done so this flu season.

✓ Assist vulnerable individuals with delivery of groceries or other needs. 

✓ Encourage vulnerable individuals to prepare with a 2-week supply of medication, food and other supplies

✓ Avoid exposure to anyone who is symptomatic and don’t have visitors who have fever, cough, or sore throat; arrange a phone call instead.

✓ Maintain a healthy distance of six feet when in contact with the general public and avoid crowded settings.

✓ Encourage vulnerable individuals to avoid touching surfaces and to use hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol content) after touching surfaces

For people who are well, wearing a face mask is not on the list of recommended practices to prevent infection. While they can be effective in preventing the spread of disease if worn by someone who is infected with a virus, they are not currently recommended to protect oneself from becoming sick.


Find up-to-date recommendations for populations more vulnerable to COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), encouraging these populations to get ready for COVID-19 now.

Find up-to-date additional guidance to slow the spread of coronavirus for homes, schools, workplaces, community and faith based organizations, large events, healthcare settings and first responders from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Don’t Make Assumptions

The CDC has tips on stigma and resilience. Be mindful to not make assumptions or stigmatize individuals based on their age, ethnicity or disability. Social stigma is often a result of fear and anxiety which can lead to discrimination against people who may be associated with an infectious disease. This can result in harmful social and financial impacts to individuals and the community at large.