People at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19

The information provided here should be used in conjunction with information from the Australian Government Department of Health website (external site), HealthyWA website and the Department of Communities COVID-19 support: Disabilities services (external site)

For practical support and information, anyone can call:

  • 13 COVID (13 268 43) 8am to 6pm, 7 days a week.
  • National Coronavirus Helpline 1800 020 080 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with additional options for priority groups
People at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19

The risk of serious illness can increase if you’re pregnant, obese, living with multiple health conditions, or are 70 years of age or older and are diagnosed with COVID-19. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are also at higher risk.

There are several treatments, illnesses, conditions and other factors that increase the risk of serious illness:

Residential aged care facility residents

People living in residential aged care are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.

WA Health is committed to ensuring that our partner organisations and other affiliates in aged care are well supported to deal with COVID-19. 

We are especially keen to ensure people who we know are more vulnerable to COVID-19 receive the ongoing safe and high-quality care they need.

Find more COVID-19 information for aged care and community care providers (external site).

People with disability

People living with a disability are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19. The following resources provide additional guidance and information.

Department of Communities resources:

People who are pregnant

If you are pregnant, you are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill or requiring hospitalisation due to COVID-19.

The best way to protect yourself and your baby is to get vaccinated. While the risk to your unborn baby is relatively low if you get COVID-19 while pregnant, there have been some instances where babies were born prematurely and needed hospitalisation.

If you have any concerns or need to know more, talk to your GP or treating specialist.

Find out more about getting COVID-19 ready for families (including during pregnancy).

Aboriginal people

Aboriginal people and those living in remote communities are at greater risk from COVID-19.

People in remote communities are at a higher risk from COVID-19 because:

  • there are often higher rates of other health issues
  • it can be harder to access health care
  • people in the community can be very mobile and travel often
  • people in remote places often rely more on outreach services.

Aboriginal people and those in remote communities are a priority. We need to work together to keep you and your community safe.

Check:

Reduce your risk of COVID-19

The Staying safe page provides advice on how to reduce your risk and follow COVID safe principles.

If you experience COVID-19 symptoms:

  • Get a COVID-19 test, quarantine and contact your doctor for advice as soon as possible (even if you are still waiting for your result), or call HealthDirect on 1800 022 222.
  • If you feel short of breath or very unwell in any other way, go to your nearest hospital emergency department.
  • In an emergency, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

If you have a positive COVID-19 test result

Contact your GP or specialist as soon as possible, even if you have nil or mild COVID-19 symptoms, to make sure you are given the right advice for your situation.

Consider registering for WA COVID Care at Home, a free service which provides at-home care and monitoring for people who are at greater risk of requiring hospitalisation due to COVID-19.

The management of COVID-19 in people who have high or moderate risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 may be different to the advice provided to the general community

COVID-19 care plans

Complete a COVID-19 care plan for everyone in your household, and for other people in your care.

COVID-19 Care Plans can be downloaded from the Staying safe page. 

COVID-19 treatments

There are currently treatments for COVID-19 for people aged 12 and over who:

  • Are at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
  • Have symptoms of COVID-19 that started within the last 5 days*

Check the Looking after yourself page on HealthyWA for more information on over the counter and prescription treatments for COVID-19.

Who will assess whether I am eligible and approves treatment?

Your GP or treating specialist will assess whether you meet the eligibility criteria for additional treatments. GPs can now prescribe Molnupiravir.

WA COVID Care at Home can also assess an individual and refer them for treatment.

What happens if I test positive to COVID-19 and I am at a high risk of serious illness?

Contact your GP or specialist as soon as you have tested positive and/or have developed symptoms, to check whether you meet eligibility criteria for a treatment. Some treatments for COVID-19 need to be given within 5 days of symptoms starting to be effective.

Your specialist or GP will be able to assess whether you meet eligibility criteria.

If you test positive, you can also register for WA COVID Care at Home, a free service which provides at-home care and monitoring for people who are at greater risk of requiring hospitalisation due to COVID-19. If you can’t register online, call 13 COVID (13 268 43) for help.

Coronavirus information helplines: 13 COVID (13 268 43). Interstate callers: 1800 595 206. International callers: +61 8 9118 3100.