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Covid-19: people at risk of developing severe forms of the disease

Following the HCSP’s guidelines of 19 June 2020 about work resume for people at higher risk of severe forms of Covid-19, the Ministry of Health asked the HCSP to express its opinion on the possibility to distinguish, among at-risk people, populations "at very high vital risk" for whom specific recommendations could be provided.

The HCSP took into account available data since 19 June, which highlight three comorbidities associated with the highest risk in France: hypertension, cardiac diseases, diabetes. However, data does not make it possible to evaluate the weight of the combination of comorbidities or age on the level of risk, and the multifactorial nature of the risk of developing a severe form.

Since it is impossible to distinguish people at "very high vital risk", the HCSP recommends that:

  • at-risk populations be provided with tailored and explicit information on the risks of severe disease and ways to prevent it. The HCSP reiterates its previous recommendations
  • teleworking be favoured whenever possible. When not possible, on-site working can be allowed when the following conditions are met: isolated and disinfected workstation (at least at the beginning and end of the shift) and protective measures strictly applied (including in collective rooms e.g. restaurant, cafeteria, relaxation room): hand hygiene, physical distancing in outdoor environments (or at least mask wearing when not possible), compulsory wearing of a medical mask in closed environments (whether or not physical distancing is respected);
  • the occupational physician assesses the compatibility of the work conditions with the person’s state of health and may pronounce an occupational eviction if the conditions for a safe return to work are not met.

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