Mass Health Secretary: ‘Wear A Mask At Home’ If Family Member Has Underlying Condition or At High-Risk For COVID-19

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BOSTON – Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said individuals who live with family members who have are at high-risk for the virus, you should wear a mask at home.

“Save a life, wear a mask,” said Sudders.

“If you live in a home with extended family members or a family member with an underlying condition, you should wear a mask inside your home,” said Sudders at a press conference on Thursday.

“You have the power to wear a mask,” said Sudders.


Based on currently available information, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advises that those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include people who:

  • Are older adults (coronavirus risk increases as you age)
  • Are living in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • Have certain underlying conditions, particularly if they are not well controlled

Underlying Conditions

These underlying medical conditions heighten your risk, no matter your age, include:

  • Chronic lung disease, including COPD
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Obesity with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more
  • Diabetes (type 2)
  • Chronic kidney disease that requires dialysis
  • Conditions that cause you to be immunocompromised
  • Sickle cell disease

What Is Immunocompromised?

Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised. For immunocompromised conditions such as organ transplant, there is stronger evidence that it increases your risk.

But people with any of these conditions should know they could be at higher risk for severe disease:

  • Cancer treatment
  • Smoking
  • Bone marrow or organ transplant
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Poorly controlled HIV or AIDS
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications

The medical community continues to gather and analyze evidence regarding the risk of severe COVID-19. At this point in time, it is thought that these conditions might heighten your risk for severe disease:

  • Asthma (moderate to severe)
  • Blood disorders, such as thalassemia
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes (type 1)
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver disease
  • Lung damage
  • Pregnancy

Photo courtesy of the Commonwealth


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