Arizona Oncology Cancer Centers Are Open; Deemed Critical Public Infrastructure
In light of the “stay at home” order announced by Governor Doug Ducey, on March 23, 2020, we wanted to reassure you that Arizona Oncology remains open to provide medically necessary, life-sustaining care. We are committed to the health and safety of our community and have implemented rigorous policies and procedures to limit the exposure risks of any individual visiting our clinics. For most patients, the benefit of proceeding with their prescribed treatment plan outweighs the exposure risk posed at this time.
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. If you any question or concerns about your treatment, please contact your provider. If we have any flu like symptoms that includes fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing or difficulty breathing call your primary physician.
COVID-19 and Our Promise to Patients
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 Arizona Oncology first if you have concerns.
What precautions is Arizona Oncology taking in light of the COVID-19 situation?
Arizona Oncology 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 Arizona Oncology’s existing protocols for flu season. During flu season, we emphasize an array of preventative measures that protect our patients and sta from exposure to illness. These include:
- Hand hygiene (washing hand with soap and/or alcohol-based sanitizers)
- Isolating patients who come into our locations exhibiting respiratory or flu-like symptoms.
Additionally, the following restrictions are now in place:
- To ensure your safety, the safety of other patients and that of our staff, we are pre-screening everyone who enters our facilities.
- If you are not feeling well, but it isn’t due to COVID-19, you may be asked to wear a mask to reduce the risk of spread to others.
- New Visitor Policy: For the safety of our patients and staff, effective April 3, 2020, no visitors will be permitted into the clinic. Family members and caretakers may participate in the appointments remotely by phone or video conference if desired. We know this may cause some inconvenience to you, but our efforts right now are focused on the health and safety of our patients, families and employees. Thank you for your continued understanding and cooperation.
Very Important: If you have flu-like symptoms, you should contact Arizona Oncology before visiting our clinics for scheduled appointments. This includes fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing or difficulty breathing.
Screening at Arizona Oncology Clinics
To protect the safety of our patients and staff, all patients, caregivers and visitors are screened as they enter our clinics.
- Temperatures are taken.
- A series of screening questions are asked, including:
- Have you recently had a fever, cough, or shortness of breath?
- Have you traveled internationally or domestically in the last 14 days?
- Have you recently been in contact with a person who may be sick with COVID-19?
If a patient, caregiver or visitor presents as high-risk in the screening process, a healthcare provider will talk with them about next steps.
Should I wear a facemask?
The CDC does not recommend that the general public wear facemasks. Facemasks are recommended for patients who have flu or other infectious illnesses, including coronavirus (COVID-19).
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 Arizona 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 sta and our patients updated.
For more information on COVID-19, Arizona Oncology recommends the following resources:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: cdc.gov/coronavirus
- World Health Organization: who.int/coronavirus
- Arizona Department of State Health Services: https://www.azdhs.gov/
We also recognized the stress of today’s changing environment. If you have anxiety there are resources to help.
Social Service Providers
Community Information and Referral, (877) 211-8661, https://211arizona.org/
24-Hour Senior HELP LINE – 602-264-4357 (HELP) The Senior Help Line is the 24-hour information and assistance resource and central intake of the Area Agency on Aging. There are many aging services available in Maricopa County, but seniors and their caregivers can become overwhelmed by the multitude of choices. The Senior Help Line can assist in navigating these resources.
The State of AZ is continuing to provide meals for children 18 and under. . . please visit https://www.azhealthzone.org or text FOOD to 877877
Mental Health Supports: We recognized the stress of today’s changing environment. If you have anxiety there are resources to help. If your symptoms have become unmanageable on your own, it's important to seek out help immediately. Professionals at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a national nonprofit with local chapters in each state, can assist you in finding the appropriate resources to manage your anxiety at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email@example.com.
Phoenix Crisis Hotline, 1-800-631-1314, 602-222-9444
Northern AZ Crisis Hotline, 1-877-756-4090
Tucson Crisis Hotline, 520-622-6000, 1-800-631-1314
Peer Support Line, Warm Line: 602-347-1100