As of Friday, 24 September 2021, anyone over the age of five must wear a mask or cloth face covering in a public place, including an educational institution, if you are unable to, or do not maintain a distance of six feet from every other person.Read the most up-to-date regulations here.
This guidance is for carers, friends and family members of elderly and vulnerable persons who are at higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19.
Those affected also include residents of long-term care facilities for the elderly and people with special needs, as well as:
- Organ transplant recipients
- Cancers patients:
- undergoing active chemotherapy
- with lung cancer undergoing radical radiotherapy
- with cancers of the blood or bone marrow e.g. leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma in treatment
- having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments
- having other targeted cancer treatments affecting the immune system, e.g. protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
- who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last six months, or are taking immunosuppression drugs
- Those with severe respiratory conditions e.g. cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
- Those with rare diseases that increase the risk of infections (e.g. severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) and homozygous sickle cell)
- Those on immunosuppression therapies which may greatly increase the risk of infection.
- Pregnant women who have significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
- Others identified as being at higher risk of becoming severely ill if they get COVID-19. (NB: GPs and hospital clinicians have guidance to support these decisions).
Disease severity, history or treatment levels will also affect those in this group. If you require more information on risk levels, please contact your GP or hospital specialist.
People who are at higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 must take further preventative measures to avoid contracting the virus. The more people you interact with, the more closely you interact with them, and the longer that interaction, the more likely you are to get or spread the virus that causes COVID-19.
If you are vulnerable, it is strongly advised that you get vaccinated when possible as the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age and with comorbidities.
What Can I do?
- get vaccinated against COVID-19 – find out how to get your vaccination here.
- meet people outside if possible and maintain physical distancing
- open doors and windows to let in fresh air if meeting people inside.
- wear a mask or face covering when it's hard to stay away from other people – particularly indoors or in crowded places
- ask friends and family to take a rapid lateral flow test before visiting you
- limit the number of people you meet and avoid crowded places
- wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day
- If you start showing symptoms of COVID-19, contact the 24-hour Flu Hotline on 1-800-534-8600 or 345-947-3077 to inform the Health Services Authority and seek medical advice
- If you need emergency help, call 911 right away.
If you are caring for someone vulnerable, here are some simple steps you can take to protect them and to reduce their risk:
- do not visit or provide care if you are unwell, make alternative arrangements for anyone you care for
- only provide essential care
- wash your hands when you arrive and often, using soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- bin used tissues immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- tell the person you are caring for about who they/you should call if they feel unwell
- look after your own well-being and physical health.
Read more on our Elderly & Vulnerable persons FAQs.