At Virginia Cancer Specialists, 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.
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.
Covid-19 Information for Virginia Cancer Specialists patients
Update 1/15/2021 – Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine news and resources in your area – please the links below for more information. Please Note: Virginia Cancer Specialists will not be administering vaccine at the current time, see the links below for information on your status per the CDC and state guidelines, where to arrange for a vaccine and schedule an appointment.
UPDATE: Virginia Cancer Specialists (VCS) is keeping updated on current federal and state guidance for the Covid vaccine rollout plan. Once guidelines are published and the vaccine is available, VCS will update our website with next steps – until then please be advised our office will not write letters of recommendation or advise patients until the state and federal guidelines are published.
UPDATE: Due to the risk of COVID, baked goods or holiday food brought for employees is discouraged this year. Employee potluck lunches and meals brought from representatives is also prohibited at this time.
UPDATE: CDC Currently recommends the following with regard to Face-masks:
Virginia executive order mandates the use of a face covering inside and outside, physical distancing of at least 6 feet and maintaining good hand hygiene as ways to help control the spread of COVID.
Masks with Exhalation Valves or Vents
The purpose of masks is to keep respiratory droplets from reaching others to aid with source control. Masks with one-way valves or vents allow exhaled air to be expelled out through holes in the material. This can allow exhaled respiratory droplets to reach others and potentially spread the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, CDC does not recommend using masks if they have an exhalation valve or vent.
A face shield is primarily used for eye protection for the person wearing it. At this time, it is not known what level of protection a face shield provides to people nearby from the spray of respiratory droplets from the wearer. There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields for source control. Therefore, CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks.
UPDATE: Sites will be conducting temperature checks for all patients and visitors at entrances. For your safety, you will be asked to use a mask, if you do not have one, a mask will be provided. If a person presents with a temperature, you will be asked to return home and further instructions will be given by your health care team.
UPDATE: Due to the impact of COVID-19 the Arlington office infusion suite will be closing on Fridays at least through June. Note our office in the 1635 building will remain open on Monday to Friday but we will be closing at 4pm. Please ensure you are parking in the correct parking lots as the hospital is strictly enforcing access through the hospital. For 1635 building use parking lot A (gold) and for 1701 (infusion) use parking lot C (green).
UPDATE: Our new office hours are: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, if you have an appointment scheduled for after hours, our office will be contacting you directly to reschedule. Thank you, Virginia Cancer Specialists
UPDATE: Arlington Office 1701 N. George Mason Dr. Suite G-101. For the safety of our patients and other patients nearby – all entering through this entrance will be screened before they enter the hospital.
UPDATE: Please call your physician’s office before coming in for your appointment if you have symptoms of a cough, fever, or difficulty breathing; traveled to Europe or China or other areas impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) within the past 14 days; been in close contact with someone who has traveled outside the U.S. to one of the impacted countries; or may have been exposed to the coronavirus. For our patients protection, no visitors under 18 will be allowed in the offices, there is a limit one (1) visitor per patient if necessary. No visitors are allowed in the chemo infusion room
UPDATE: Effective immediately all in-person chemo classes will be cancelled as of today. Our Nurse Navigators or Nurse Practitioners will work with our patients in a brief one to one teaching visit for any patients scheduled from this day forward until further notice. There is an online version of our chemotherapy class here: https://virginiacancerspecialists.com/your-experience/chemotherapy-class/
Virginia Cancer Specialists is closely monitoring COVID-19, including the latest updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC-recommended protocols for healthcare providers regarding COVID-19 are aligned with Virginia Cancer Specialists existing protocols for flu season. During flu season, we emphasize an array of preventative measures that protect our patients and staff from exposure to illness. These include:
- Hand hygiene (washing hands with soap and/or alcohol-based sanitizers)
- Isolating patients who come into our locations exhibiting respiratory or flu-like symptoms.
- ALERT: Updated symptoms also include: GI symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting
Tests for (COVID-19) will not be completed at any Virginia Cancer Specialists office.
Patients – Very Important: If you have flu-like symptoms, which also include GI Symptoms and Diarrhea, you should contact Your Virginia Cancer Specialists Advice Line before visiting our clinics for scheduled appointments. This includes fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing or difficulty breathing.
Also, we are permitting only one caregiver to accompany patients to our locations at this time.
Protect Yourself and Others
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 Virginia Cancer Specialists first if you have questions or concerns.
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 Virginia Cancer Specialists 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 any close contacts are 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 to 48 hours.
As the COVID-19 situation changes, we will keep our patients and staff updated. For more information on COVID-19, Virginia Cancer Specialists recommends the following resources:
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cure Media Group