News & Information

COVID-19 Information for At-Risk Individuals

Printable version of this press release from the PA Dept of Health


To slow the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) into Pennsylvania, the Department of Health (DOH) is working with local public health partners to implement after-travel health precautions. There are currently four countries that have a Level 3 Travel Health Notice. Additional countries may be added as the global situation continues to evolve. An updated list of countries can be found here.

It is important to call 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room after coming back from traveling. If you get sick with a fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher), cough, or have trouble breathing, seek medical care; tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms, avoid contact with others.

If you need medical care for other reasons, call ahead to 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) and to your doctor and tell them about your recent travel to an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19.

Who is most at risk?

Older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. Recent studies suggest older people are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19 illness because:

  • As people age, their immune systems change, making it harder for their bodies to fight off diseases and infection; and
  • Many older adults are also more likely to have underlying health conditions that make it harder to cope with and recover from illness.

If you are at increased risk for COVID-19 complications due to age or because you have a severe underlying medical condition, it is especially important for you to take action to reduce your risk of exposure.  

What can i do if i am an at risk individual?

If you are at higher risk for COVID-19 complications due to age or because you have a severe underlying medical condition, it is especially important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of exposure:

  • Stay at home as much as possible;
  • Make sure you have access to several weeks of medications and supplies in case you need to stay home for prolonged periods of time;
  • When you do go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often; 
  • Avoid crowds; and
  • Stay up to date on CDC Travel Health Notices

Supporting at-risk individuals who are sick

It is essential to know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand. You can also monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, dialysis, wound care) they would need and create a back-up plan. Stock up on non-perishable food items to keep 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 other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.

For more information on at risk individuals, visit the CDC website.