COVID-19: Q&A for Texas Oncology Patients and Caregivers
March 06, 2020
At Texas Oncology, the health of our patients is always our priority. Whether you’re a patient, a caregiver, or are close to someone with cancer, you may have questions about COVID-19, also known as novel coronavirus.
Very Important: If you have fever, cough, shortness of breath, or any other symptoms, you should contact Texas Oncology before visiting our clinics for scheduled appointments. Many locations are only permitting patients in our clinics at this time. Patients who need a caregiver for special circumstances such as mobility, translation, or disability should contact our staff. We ask that you not bring your children with you to your appointments at this time.
As a cancer patient, am I at additional risk for catching COVID-19?
Patients with compromised immune systems, including many cancer patients, are more susceptible to viruses, including COVID-19. Some cancer therapies, such as targeted drugs, steroids, as well as some cancer types, like blood cancers, can result in a weakened immune system.
As a cancer patient, if I am at higher risk, how can I protect myself?
You, your caregivers, and close contacts can take proactive measures to protect yourselves and those around you from COVID-19 and the flu, including these common-sense prevention steps:
- Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds and frequently. If soap and water are unavailable, use alcohol-based hand rub.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue. Throw tissues in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Stay home if you are not well.
- Avoid large crowds while receiving therapy.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces with household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Call Texas Oncology first if you have concerns.
Should I wear a facemask?
All patients and visitors are asked to wear a mask or face covering in Texas Oncology clinics. The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public when social distancing is hard to maintain.
What precautions is Texas Oncology taking in light of the COVID-19 situation?
Texas Oncology is closely monitoring COVID-19, including the latest updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
To reduce risk of exposure, we have implemented new protocols: and changes to how we operate, including:
- Hand hygiene (washing hand with soap and/or alcohol-based sanitizers)
- Urging patients with fever, cough, or shortness of breath to call before coming to scheduled appointments
- Screening patients for symptoms at entrances to our locations
- Postponing non-urgent appointments
- Providing information for patients who may need COVID-19 testing
- Reinforcing guidelines for use of personal protective equipment, e.g., facemask, gowns, gloves
- Isolating patients who come into our locations exhibiting respiratory or flu-like symptoms.
What should I do if my caregiver has traveled to China or other locations where the COVID-19 outbreak is severe?
You should avoid contact with anyone, including a caregiver, who has traveled to locations where the COVID-19 outbreak is severe for at least 14 days upon their return. If you or anyone you have already been in contact with have traveled to these locations, please contact Texas Oncology before visiting our clinics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regularly updates travel advisories and information related to travel and COVID-19.
If your caregiver or close contact is sick, encourage them to seek medical attention, and avoid contact with them until they are well, e.g., free from fever for at least 24-48 hours.
Where can I get more information?
As the COVID-19 situation changes, we will keep our staff and our patients updated. For more information on COVID-19, Texas Oncology recommends the following resources:
Latest Update: 4/10/2020