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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. 

Support for patients who are at high risk during the pandemic

BC Care Bundle Supporting High Risk Patients

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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