Protecting Those At Risk
We all have a responsibility to work together to protect those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19. Illness due to COVID-19 is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. The vast majority of people with COVID-19 infection do not require hospital care; however, a much smaller percentage of people get severely ill with lung and breathing problems like pneumonia.
Who is most at risk of serious illness?
- People who are 65 years and older
- People with underlying health conditions, such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and kidney disease
- People with weakened immune systems
- Learn more about how to care for at-risk populations here.
What can we do to protect our vulnerable populations?
At this time, there is no vaccine available for COVID-19. This means we must be extremely vigilant and proactive to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.
The virus can spread from:
- Person-to-person through small droplets from the nose or mouth when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person.
- People may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
- People can also be exposed to COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.
How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Based on progression of the virus in other communities, the virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably (referred to as “community spread”) in some affected geographic areas outside of Hawai‘i. To learn more, read the CDC’s guidance to help in the risk assessment and management of people with potential exposures to COVID-19.
You generally need to be in close contact with a sick person to get infected. Close contact includes:
- Living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19
- Caring for a sick person with COVID-19
- Being within 6 ft of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 10 minutes
- Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).
If you think you may have had contact with a person infected with COVID-19, you should:
- Monitor your health during the 14 days after the last day you were in close contact with the sick person with COVID-19.
- Watch for fever, cough and shortness of breath.
- You should not go to work or school and should avoid public places for 14 days.
If you get sick with fever, cough or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are very mild), you should stay at home and away from others. Learn more about symptoms and treatment here.