People who are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19

While diseases can make anyone sick, some Canadians are more at risk of developing severe complications from an illness due to underlying medical conditions and age. If you are at risk for complications, you can take action to reduce your risk of getting sick from COVID-19.


Who is at high risk?

  • People with medical conditions including:
    • Heart disease
    • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
    • Lung disease
    • Diabetes
    • Cancer
  • People with weakened immune systems from a medical condition or treatment, such as chemotherapy
  • Older adults

Be prepared

  • Learn about COVID-19 and stay informed by visiting
  • Visit your provincial/territorial and municipal health websites to keep up-to-date about COVID-19 in your community.
  • Stock up on the supplies you would need if you were to have to stay home for a few weeks, such as groceries, pet food and cleaning products.
  • Talk with your health care provider about how to protect yourself and ensure you have enough of your prescribed medications and medical supplies.
  • Prepare to stay connected with others by phone or email.
  • Identify who you can ask for support with chores, home maintenance and errands if you get sick.
  • Identify which services are available to deliver food or medications to your home.
  • Monitor yourself for symptoms.

How to reduce your risk of COVID-19

  • If possible, stay home while there is a COVID-19 outbreak in your community and limit the number of visitors to your home.
  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or, if not available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you are outside of your home.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your environment with regular household cleaners and approved hard-surface disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN).
  • Clean touch screens with 70% alcohol (e.g. alcohol prep wipes).
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes and/or food with your hands.
  • Avoid touching high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, handrails and elevator buttons in public places.
  • If you need to touch surfaces in public places, use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand.
  • Give a friendly wave or elbow bump instead of a handshake, kiss or hug.
  • Stay away from people who are sick.
  • Remind others who are sick, or may have been exposed to the virus, to stay away.
  • Change your routine to avoid crowded places, such as grocery shopping at off-peak hours, commuting by public transit outside of rush hour and exercising outdoors instead of in an indoor fitness centre.
  • Avoid crowds and large gatherings.
  • Increase physical distance from others to two arm lengths (or approximately two metres).
  • Avoid cruises and non-essential travel outside of Canada.

What to do if you get a symptom of COVID-19

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
    • a new cough or a chronic cough that gets worse, or
    • a fever (greater or equal to 38⁰C or signs of a fever like shivering, flushed skin, excessive sweating), or
    • difficulty breathing
  • If you develop a symptom, stay home and call your health care provider or local public health unit and tell them about your symptoms.
  • Always call ahead before going to see a health provider or health care facility so that they can keep others from being exposed.
  • The following symptoms should be considered urgent:
    • significant difficulty breathing (e.g., can’t catch breath, gasping)
    • chest pain or pressure
    • new confusion or difficulty waking up
  • If you develop these urgent symptoms, call 911 and inform them that you may have COVID-19 and are at high risk for complications.

We can all do our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19. For more information: Contact 1-833-784-4397