Eighty-percent of cases seem to be mild, but older adults, especially with chronic medical problems, are at a greater risk for severe illness.
Families should not panic, but they should be prepared.
The CDC is now calling novel coronavirus highly contagious and says no one is immune.
There are now more than 500 cases in the US and 19 people have died.
Seniors 60 and older are at a greater risk for serious, life-threatening illness - especially those over the age of 80 and with diabetes, heart or lung disease.
The State Department is urging all Americans to avoid cruises. Older, high-risk adults urged to take even more precautions.
They shouldn't wait until things get worse and should say no to long trips. That includes any unnecessary long plane trips for seniors.
Also, avoid large crowds, especially in poorly ventilated areas, wash your hands, try to avoid touching high traffic surfaces like hand rails.
Loved ones should help seniors keep supplies on hand, such as medication and groceries.
"We want them to make sure they are taking precautions to prepare themselves so that if there is widespread transmission they can stick close to home," said Dr. Nancy Messonier.
Action News hosted a live Facebook chat Monday afternoon answering viewers' questions.
It's also important to keep up to date with news from local health departments so you know what the risk is in your community.