This page is designed to help you find basic information and updates on COVID-19. For the most current and up to date information, please check the Centers for Disease Control website, CDC.gov Opens a new window. The majority of the information below is directly from the CDC’s webpage with information for people with disabilities. To view the information directly at Disability and Health Promotion | CDC.gov Opens a new window, follow the links in the text.
Coronavirus disease Opens a new window is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus is thought to spread mainly among people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It is also possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. There is no specific treatment for COVID-19, but you should seek medical care to help relieve your symptoms. If you are sick and not sure whether you should seek medical attention, you can use the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker tool.
Prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick
- Stay at home if you are sick, except to get medical care. If you need medical attention, call ahead.
- Avoid public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis. If you must use these forms of transportation, follow CDC guidelines on using transportation Opens a new window.
- Separate yourself form other people and pets in your home.
Know Your Risk For Severe Illness
Everyone is at risk of getting COVID-19. Older adults and people of any age with serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more severe illness.
Most people with disabilities are not inherently at higher risk for becoming infected with or having severe illness from COVID-19. However, some people with disabilities might be at a higher risk of infection or severe illness because of underlying medical conditions Opens a new window. All people seem to be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if they have serious underlying chronic medical conditions like chronic lung disease, a serious heart condition, or a weakened immune system. Adults with disabilities are three times more likely than adults without disabilities to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer than adults without disabilities (CDC.gov Opens a new window).
Disability groups and risk
If you have one of the disability types listed below, you might be at increased risk of becoming infected. You should discuss your risk of illness with your healthcare provider.
- People who have limited mobility or who cannot avoid coming into close contact with others who may be infected, such as direct support providers and family members
- People who have trouble understanding information or practicing preventive measures, such as hand washing and social distancing
- People who may not be able to communicate symptoms of illness
For more information, refer to CDC’s information on COVID-19 and people with disabilities Opens a new window.
If you or someone you care for are at higher risk Opens a new window of getting very sick from COVID-19, take steps to prevent getting sick Opens a new window. In addition to practicing everyday preventive actions, people with disabilities who have direct support providers can help protect themselves from respiratory illness in the following ways:
- Wash their hands when they enter your home and before and after touching you (e.g., dressing, transferring, personal hygiene activities, food prep, etc.), or when changing linens or doing laundry.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (e.g., counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom
fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, bedside tables), and equipment such as wheelchairs, scooters,
walkers, canes, oxygen tanks and tubing, communication boards and other assistive devices. Refer to CDC’s General Recommendations for Routine Cleaning and
Disinfections of Households. Opens a new window
Learn more about proper handwashing.
There are some additional things people with disabilities can do to prepare during the COVID-19 outbreak:
Plan what you will do if you or your direct support provider gets sick. Create a contact list of family, friends, neighbors and local service agencies that can provide support in case you or your direct support provider becomes ill Opens a new window or unavailable.
Plan at least two ways of communicating from home and work that can be used rapidly in an emergency (e.g., landline phone, cell phone, text-messaging, email). Write down this information and keep it with you.
Have enough household items and groceries so that you will be comfortable staying home for a few weeks and at least a 30-day supply of over the counter and prescription medicines and any medical equipment or supplies that you might need. Some health plans allow for a 90-day refill on prescription medications. Consider discussing this option with your healthcare provider. Make a photocopy of prescriptions, as this may help in obtaining medications in an emergency situation.
Wearing a Mask
Masks Opens a new window are an additional step to help slow the spread of COVID-19 when combined with every day preventative actions and practicing social distancing in public settings (CDC.gov Opens a new windowOpens a new window). CDC recommends that people wear masks in public and when around people who don’t live in your household. Masks should NOT be worn by children under age 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove their mask without assistance. Do NOT use masks meant for healthcare workers. Surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that must be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
- Key times to wear a mask Opens a new window video (text only, no sound)
- How to wear a mask Opens a new window
- How to clean your mask Opens a new window
- How to make a mask Opens a new window
- Considerations for wearing masks Opens a new window
Alternate forms of COVID-19 Information
- Plain Language Information on COVID-19 Opens a new window from the Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center Opens a new window designed by and for people with developmental disabilities (available in 11 languages). English PDF Opens a new window / Spanish PDF Opens a new window
- ASL Video Series on COVID-19 Opens a new window
This information is constantly evolving. Please check back for updates periodically. If you have found additional COVID-19 resources that you find helpful, please contact us.
CDC. (2020). Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Retrieved September 30, 2020, from
Coronavirus Disease 2019 Opens a new window
CDC. (2020, June 1). What You Should Know About COVID-19. Retrieved September 30, 2020,
from What You Should Know About COVID-19 Opens a new window
CDC. (2020). People with Disabilities. Retrieved September 30, 2020, from
People with Disabilities Opens a new window