High-Risk Groups

In many communities where there are a number of local cases, the health departments are recommending that individuals from high-risk groups stay at home and avoid participating in public gatherings. The specific recommendations are listed below: 

  • Adults over 60
  • Individuals with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease (including asthma), diabetes, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, endocrine and metabolic disorders, neurological, neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions
  • Individuals who are pregnant or had a recent pregnancy
  • Individuals with weakened immune systems (see notes on IBD patients below)


How do you know if you have a weakened immune system?  

The terms weakened immune system or immune suppression are general terms that describe the lack of an appropriate response by the body to fighting diseases and producing organisms that may be harmful such as viruses and certain bacteria. Having a weakened immune system can occur for many reasons including medication, recent surgeries, age, genetics, or having a chronic illness. Patients with IBD experience many of these factors, and can have a weakened immune system.

However, not all IBD patients have a weakened immune system. Each IBD patient is different and may be taking different medications. Talk to your GI provider about your medications, your health status, and any precautions you should be taking related to COVID-19. 

Coronavirus and the GI tract

According to two papers published in the journal Gastroenterology, patients with COVID-19 may also experience gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal discomfort prior to the common respiratory symptoms.1,2 The gastrointestinal symptoms that have been observed globally are less common and there is variability based on the populations and cases that were observed. Talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns or questions related to your symptoms.

This information was developed by members of the Foundation's National Scientific Advisory Committee

Last updated: 8/25/2021



1. Gu J, Han B, Wang J. COVID-19: Gastrointestinal manifestations and potential fecal-oral transmission. Gastroentrology, 2020. Article in press. https://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(20)30281-X/pdf. Accessed March 6, 2020

2. Xiao F, Tang M, Zheng X, Liu Y, Li, X, Shan H. Evidence for gastrointestinal infection of SARS-CoV-2. Gastroenterology, 2020. Article in press. https://www.gastrojournal.org/article/S0016-5085(20)30282-1/pdf Accessed March 6, 2020.