People at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19

For practical support and COVID-19 information, you can call 13 COVID (13 268 43) from 8am to 6pm, 7 days a week.

For medical advice, consult your GP or call Health Direct on 1800 022 222.

People at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19

All people are at risk of infection with COVID-19, but some groups are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill. These groups include:

  • older people (over 65 years, and over 50 years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people)
  • people who are not up to date with COVID-19 vaccination
  • pregnant women
  • people with other health conditions (for example, lung disease, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, kidney failure)
  • people who are immunocompromised (due to a health condition or certain medication/treatments).
Reduce your risk of COVID-19

The Staying safe webpage on Healthy WA provides advice on how to reduce your risk of becoming infected with COVID-19.

If you experience COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested as soon as possible.

Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations

Everyone aged 5 years and older can now be vaccinated against COVID-19.

People who are at risk of serious illness from COVID-19 are strongly encouraged to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and will provide you with increased protection against COVID-19.

If you test positive for COVID-19

  • Register your positive rapid antigen test (RAT) on HealthyWA as soon as possible.
  • You will receive an SMS from WA Health with a survey. When you receive the text, make sure you answer the survey questions, so they know if you need extra support.
  • Follow the advice on the What to do when you test positive for COVID-19 factsheet on the HealthyWA Quarantine and isolation webpage.
  • Consider registering for WA COVID Care at Home, a free service by telephone that provides at-home care and monitoring for people who are at greater risk of requiring hospitalisation due to COVID-19.
  • Contact your general practitioner (GP) or regular healthcare provider for advice, including whether you are eligible for prescription treatments. Contact your GP or Health Direct on 1800 022 222 for medical advice as soon as possible if you or the person you are caring for develop the following symptoms:
    • mild shortness of breath or coughing when moving around
    • regularly coughing up mucous
    • severe muscle aches
    • feeling very weak and tired but still about to move about
    • little or no urination
    • vomiting or diarrhoea
    • a temperature of 38° Celsius or higher
    • shakes and shivers
    • you feel that you are unable to take care of yourself and others are unable to take care of you (such as showering, putting on clothes, going to the toilet or preparing food).
  • If you feel your symptoms become worse, but are not life-threatening, contact your GP or go to a hospital emergency department. An ambulance is not required unless you are seriously unwell.
  • Call triple zero (000) for an ambulance immediately if you or the person you are caring for develop any of the following severe symptoms:
    • severe shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • breathing getting worse suddenly
    • chest pain or discomfort
    • coughing up blood
    • lips or face turning blue
    • skin cold, clammy, pale or mottled
    • severe headaches or dizziness
    • fainting or feeling like fainting often
    • unable to get out of bed or look after self or others
    • confusion (for example, can’t recall the day, time or people’s names)
    • difficulty keeping eyes open.

Do not wait to see if the symptoms change.

When you call the ambulance (dial triple zero – 000), let the operator know you have COVID-19 so the paramedics know how to treat you safely.

COVID-19 treatments

Anti-viral medications are available for use by patients at risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.

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

Eligibility for anti-viral medications

Your GP or treating specialist will assess whether you meet eligibility criteria for anti-viral medications.

Anti-viral medications should be started within 5 days of developing COVID-19 symptoms, so it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider about this as soon as you develop symptoms or test positive.

Most GPs can provide telehealth consultations to give you advice over the phone while you are in isolation.

Last reviewed: 30-05-2022
Coronavirus information helplines: 13 COVID (13 268 43). Interstate callers: 1800 595 206. International callers: +61 8 9118 3100.