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Vulnerable populations

Current information suggests that older people with chronic health conditions are at higher risk of developing more severe illness or complications.

Patients at higher risk for COVID-19 complications

  • Older people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and lung disease are at higher risk of developing more severe illness or complications from COVID-19. 
  • Most people with COVID-19 recover; however, people with chronic diseases are also at higher risk of death if they become ill. 

How patients can protect themselves from COVID-19 

  • Take the same measures as they do to avoid influenza, colds and other illnesses such as washing their hands regularly and avoid touching their face. 
  • Avoid large gatherings and stay away from other people who are ill. 
  • If patients become sick with symptoms of a respiratory illness, call ahead so arrangements can be made to keep other patients safe. 

Medical supplies and appointments

  • It is prudent to have at least a two-week supply of medications on hand.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued guidance for all Canadians on preparedness and COVID-19.
  • The BC College of Pharmacists has information about visiting pharmacies and accessing medication.
  • It’s important to ensure patients continue to receive medical care for chronic conditions.

Staying home and avoiding large gatherings

  • People with certain chronic conditions (particularly people on medications that suppress the immune system) may consider “protective selfseparation.” This means staying separate from other people as much as possible. 
  • For many people, staying at home for long periods will not be an option. 
  • If there is widespread local transmission of COVID-19, people with chronic conditions should consider reducing their exposure to large gatherings, particularly those where they will be in close contact with others. 

Additional resources

SOURCE: Vulnerable populations ( )
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