High-Risk Populations


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following groups have been identified with higher risk of getting very sick from this illness:

  • Older adults
  • People with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, lung disease.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) underlying medical conditions that may increase the risk of serious COVID-19 for individuals of any age also include:

  • Chronic kidney disease as defined by your doctor. Patient has been told to avoid or reduce the dose of medications because kidney disease, or is under treatment for kidney disease, including receiving dialysis.
  • Chronic liver disease as defined by your doctor. (e.g., cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis) Patient has been told to avoid or reduce the dose of medications because liver disease or is under treatment for liver disease.
  • Compromised immune system (immunosuppression) (e.g., seeing a doctor for cancer and treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, received an organ or bone marrow transplant, taking high doses of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressant medications, HIV or AIDS).
  • Current or recent pregnancy in the last two weeks.
  • Endocrine disorders (e.g., diabetes mellitus).
  • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders).
  • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease).
  • Lung disease including asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis or emphysema) or other chronic conditions associated with impaired lung function or that require home oxygen. See CDC recommendations for people with asthma here.
  • Neurological and neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions [including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability, moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury].

If you fall into one of the categories listed above, you are strongly encouraged to stay home and practice social distancing as recommended by the MDH. 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

COVID-19 and Substance Use

It is not yet known whether people who use drugs or have a substance use disorder are at a higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19, but there are still some unique considerations to take. See this CDC webpage for info on how to safely start or continue chemical health treatment, ways to reduce risk of infection, and other guidance.


Page last updated on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.