xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 54 54">

People at higher risk

Who is at higher risk?

For people with some illnesses and conditions, there is a higher risk of a serious course of COVID-19 – e.g. requiring hospitalisation and possibly intensive care.

The Danish Health Authority has revised its recommendations for people at higher risk based on studies of single cases as well as international recommendations from organisations such as WHO and ECDC and from a selection of countries. These recommendations have been supplemented by professional advice from medical companies. You can read more in Danish in the report Personer med øget risiko ved COVID-19 – Fagligt grundlag. 

For some diseases and conditions, it is well documented that there is a significantly higher risk of a serious course of the disease. For others, there is less evidence of a higher risk from COVID-19, but we know from other types of infections that the risk is higher. We, therefore, conclude that these diseases and conditions may also increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Finally, there are conditions where there is no evidence of a higher risk from COVID-19, but where, based on the precautionary principle, we assume that there may be a higher risk.

The term people at higher risk covers all the following diseases and conditions.

People at higher risk

Who is at higher risk?

We know that some people are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Most of them have a mild course of the disease, but some become so ill that they need to be hospitalised.

It is always an individual assessment, whether you are at increased risk of a severe course of COVID-19, and your entire situation must be included in the assessment.

In general, however, someone who is very old and has several and severe chronic diseases has a higher risk than someone who only has a mild condition of chronic disease. Other social factors, such as your housing situation may also cause you to be at higher risk. 

We currently know that the following conditions and diseases play a part in your risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19:

  • Age
    • 80 years or older.
      It is well documented that you are at higher risk, regardless of whether you are healthy and fit or suffer from diseases and other conditions.
    • 65-79 years old.
      Many fit and healthy people in this age group are not at higher risk. However, chronic diseases or mental and physical illnesses may cause you to be at higher risk.
    • Under 65 years old.
      Very few are at higher risk. You are, for example, not at higher risk if you are only slightly overweight, has well-treated high blood pressure, arthritis, or mild asthma/KOL.
  • Overweight
    It is well documented that the following are at higher risk:
    • People with a BMI over 35.
    • People with a BMI over 30 and one or more chronic diseases.
  • Residents in nursing homes/assisted living facilities
    • It is well documented that residents in nursing homes are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 as they are often elderly and have chronic diseases, functional decline and fragile health.
  • People with certain chronic diseases and people with weakened immune systems
    • Based on the available knowledge about other diseases, particularly influenza, people with certain chronic diseases are assumed to be at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 – at least if these chronic conditions are not well-regulated. This also applies to certain children with chronic diseases. These diseases and conditions are described in more detail in Danish in Sundhedsstyrelsens faglige grundlag om personer i øget risiko.
  • People with no fixed abode
    • People without a permanent residence are presumed to be at higher risk as they often have fragile health and chronic diseases, and are often not able or willing to take advantage of the health services.
  • Pregnant women
    • Based on a precautionary principle, pregnant women and their unborn children are considered to be at higher risk. 

If you are in doubt, please talk to your own doctor or the doctor who treats you about how your risk is assessed based on your overall situation. 

 

Advice for people at higher risk

In general, you can do the things you did before the COVID-19 epidemic, such as go to work, participate in leisure activities and babysit your grandchildren. 

If you took special precautions before the COVID-19 epidemic to avoid becoming infected with infectious diseases, for example if you have a weakened immune system, you should continue to take these precautions. Based on an individual assessment by their attending physician, some people at higher risk may need to take additional precautions.

The Danish Health Authority recommends that people at higher risk: 

  • Pay particular attention to our top five recommendations and ask others to show consideration.
  • Use a face mask when it is not possible to keep 2 metres away from other people in public areas.
  • Consider whether special measures need to be taken at your place of work.

The older you are - and the more and serious chronic diseases you have - the more careful you should be to follow the recommendations. But you must, of course, also take your quality of life into account when you introduce limitations into your life.

Contact your own doctor or the doctor who treats you if you are in doubt about how to deal with your overall situation.

Learn more about how – when – and which face mask to use at On using face masks.

 

Advice for relatives of someone at higher risk

As the relative/loved one of someone at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, it is perfectly natural to be worried. But keep in mind that the risk of infecting others is quite small if you are asymptomatic and that the virus primarily spreads through contact spread – e.g. by touching contact points such as door handles, etc.  

The Danish Health Authority recommends that you:

  • Pay particular attention to our top five recommendations to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Look out for symptoms of COVID-19. Self-isolate immediately if you get symptoms – including mild symptoms or if you have had close contact with someone who is infected with novel coronavirus.
  • Keep 2 metres away from people who are at higher risk. Consider wearing a face mask if you cannot keep your distance. 

When you are with someone who is at higher risk – with whom you do not live or who is not part of your close circle of friends – you have to keep a distance of at least 2 metres. If this is not possible, for example if the person needs care or attention, you should consider putting on a face mask to protect that person.

If you live with someone who is higher risk, you can basically participate in social contexts as usual, for example go to work and attend school or daycare. The same applies if you work in the healthcare, social or elderly sectors or other sectors where you are in close physical contact with other people. However, you should not have contact with anyone who is infected with or suspected of being infected with novel coronavirus.

Learn more about how – when – and which face mask to use at On using face masks.

 

Questions and answers

We have gathered a host of information about novel coronavirus/COVID-19 in our Frequently Asked Question’s segment (FAQ). Here you can find the answer to a range of other questions and keep up-to-date on all health-related recommendations on the novel coronavirus/COVID-19.

Go to FAQ

Hotlines

Several Danish authorities have set up hotlines to answer questions about coronavirus / COVID-19. Follow the link to see which of your questions the various hotlines are particularly well-equipped to answer.
Updated 24 SEP 2020