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People at higher risk for serious illness (Coronavirus, COVID-19)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, including:

It is important for these individuals to take actions to reduce the risk of getting sick with the disease. This page includes information on preparation, prevention, and how to help those who may be at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19.

For Seniors, 60 years and older, seeking assistance or interested in learning more about in-home vaccinations, call the Dutchess County Office for the Aging at 845-486-2555. 

Dutchess County Coronavirus Information Hotline:  845-486-3555

New York State Department of Health Coronavirus Hotline

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Frequently Asked Questions and Answers ( 


As more cases of COVID-19 are confirmed in New York State, it will become increasingly important for higher risk individuals to take extra measures to put distance between themselves and other people to further reduce the risk of being exposed.

  • Stay home as much as possible. Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks. Visit the Office for the Aging for more information on available programs and services
  • Have supplies on hand
    • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about getting extra necessary medications to have on hand in case you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
    • If you cannot get extra medications from the pharmacy, consider using mail-order.
    • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
    • Have enough household items and groceries on hand to be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
  • Take everyday precautions
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • Take everyday preventive actions like washing your hands. View these Prevention steps.
    • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
    • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones)
    • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. The risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
    • Avoid all non-essential travel including plane trips, and especially avoid embarking on cruise ships.

Watch for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms. Call ahead to your health care provider before seeking treatment in person!

  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs include*:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19. Call ahead to your health care provider before seeking treatment in person!

Community Support for Those at Higher Risk

Long-term care facilities and home health care providers should be vigilant to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19.

Family and Caregiver Support

  • Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
  • Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
  • If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.