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COVID-19 Information for High Risk Patients

We are here to help you prepare and protect you from the novel coronavirus illness that leads to the condition known as COVID-19. ​

COVID-19 spreads easily between people and most people have no immunity to this virus; therefore, it is important that you are aware of what you can do to protect yourself from catching this illness.

What do we know so far about COVID-19?

About 80% of COVID-19 patients have cold/flu symptoms or pneumonia that does not require hospital care.

Additionally, about 20% of patients develop a more severe infection and pneumonia and about 1-2% of patients may die from complications of COVID-19.

Certain groups of patients are at increased risk of severe illness or death.  These risk factors include age and if patients have certain health conditions:

  • Age > 65
  • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
  • Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) or history of a heart attack
  • High blood pressure that is not well controlled or at goal
    • Blood pressure should be < 140/90 for patients age 18-84 and <150/90 for patients age 85+ unless your physician has given you a different goal.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes (especially if A1c > 8)
  • Active treatment for cancer
  • Taking medications that can weaken the immune system

Steps you can take to decrease your risk of COVID-19

  • Minimize your contact with other individuals. This is a practice known as "social distancing." Only leave your home when necessary and do not invite people to your home that do not live there. Try to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others when not at home.

  • If you do need to leave your home, avoid groups of larger than 10 people.  Practice social distancing when in a group setting.

  • Frequently wash or sanitize your hands. Hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or cleaned using hand sanitizer whenever you touch a public surface such as door knobs, light switches or other surfaces.

  • Avoid touching your face. If you must touch your face, perform hand hygiene as above before and after.

  • Clean your phone, computer or other hard surfaces that you touch often at least once daily using a disinfectant wipe approved for use on that surface.

  • Avoid contact with other individuals who have symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing, sneezing, runny nose or fever.

  • Practice good etiquette by coughing or sneezing into your elbow or a tissue.  Clean hands after using a tissue and dispose of it promptly.

  • Avoid shaking hands or physically contacting others in a public setting.

  • Take all your routine scheduled medications and maintain good control over any chronic medical conditions.

  • If you smoke or vape, stop. Smoking and vaping appear to significantly increase your risk of death from COVID-19.

  • If you or your employer have Return To Work (RTW) related questions or concerns regarding High Risk Population policy please contact Marshfield Clinic Health System Occupational HealthWORKS COVID-19 Response team at: occhltcr@marshfieldclinic.org

  • If you have general questions about COVID-19, please call our patient COVID-19 helpline at 1-877-998-0880

  • If you begin to feel ill and need medical advice or believe that you may need an appointment, please call Marshfield Clinic Health System's Nurseline at 1-844-342-6276. Our Nurseline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Looking for more information on COVID-19?

The situation is changing daily, and we regularly update our COVID-19 web page with information and resources you need to protect you and your family.


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