Reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection while living with comorbidities | Western Cape Government


Reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection while living with comorbidities

2 June 2020

As we enter a new phase of the coronavirus pandemic with the easing to level 3, the Department urges all residents to continue to do their part in protecting the vulnerable members of society from becoming infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19).

To date we have had 521 deaths.

Our data reviewed on 26 May (403 deaths at the time) showed that the overwhelming majority of COVID-19 positive people who have died in the province have had one or more comorbidities.  Co-morbidity is the presence of one or more additional diseases or conditions occurring with a primary medical condition.

The most prevalent comorbidities in deaths due to COVID-19 across all age groups were diabetes and hypertension.

People with existing comorbidities are more at risk of being severely ill if they contract COVID-19. Those most at risk include those who are:

  • Individuals with comorbidities, at any age
  • 55 years an older, with or without co-morbidities

Top three comorbidities per age group:

  • 20 – 39 years (30% diabetes, 25% HIV, 20% Hypertension)
  • 40 – 49 years (51% diabetes, 33% HIV, 28% Hypertension)
  • 50 – 59 years (70% Diabetes, 63% Hypertension, 27% HIV)
  • 60 – 69 years (74% Hypertension, 58% Diabetes, 8% HIV)
  • 70 years and older (58% Hypertension, 46% Diabetes, 29% Chronic Kidney Disease)

The successful management of co-morbidities depends on the type of condition the person has. It is therefore imperative that vulnerable residents take extra precautions. Staying home is the best way to reduce the risk of infection, strictly abide by the golden - including frequent hand washing and other hygiene measures and keeping a distance of at least 1.5 metres from any other person.

We also call upon the broader society to assist in protecting these vulnerable groups by keeping their distance and offering to do tasks for them that require them to go into public.

Tips to manage comorbidities to reduce risk of COVID-19 infection

  • Avoid gatherings (crowded places), stay at home
  • Continue with your treatment
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle and eating habits, exercise regularly
  • Reduce personal exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Control your blood pressure
  • Wear a cloth mask and always follow the golden rules of good hygiene (a mask alone is not enough).

Download here : Top three comorbidities per age group​