Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) update: Minnesota Oncology is working to protect our patients and to help prevent the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Please review our updated policies, procedures, and information here. Read Advisory

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates


 

Note: This page will be updated continually with the latest information for Minnesota Oncology patients and caregivers. Please scroll down for the following topics: Telemedicine, Appointments, Visitors, Testing, Disease Information, How You Can Help, and more. Thank you for your continued cooperation and understanding as we work to keep you safe!

Reminder: Minnesota Oncology Visitor Restrictions & Guidelines (9/30/2020)

As a reminder, Minnesota Oncology clinics are no longer permitting guests with patients with the exception of interpreters, those needed for mobility assistance, and new patient consults. We know this may cause some inconvenience to you, but this policy is critical to the health and safety of our patients, families, and employees. Visitors who drop off a patient at our clinics are not permitting to wait in the lobbies or waiting rooms. Due to limited waiting room capacity to allow for social distancing and our visitor restrictions, please wait in your vehicle or return to the clinic building after the patient's appointment is completed to pick them up.

No other visitors will be permitted into the clinic. Please note that family members and caretakers may participate in a patient's appointments remotely by phone or video conference if desired. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. Read more.

How to Properly Wear a Face Mask (9/30/2020)

Everyone is required to wear a face mask in a Minnesota Oncology clinic. Wearing a face mask in public helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 — but only if worn properly, covering both your nose and mouth. Read our mask-wearing tips to get the maximum protection for yourself and others. Here are some reminders and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control on proper use of face masks to keep you and others safe. Read more.


Surgical Services Set to Resume Safely in Minnesota (5/6/2020)

On May 5, Governor Tim Walz signed an order to safely restart elective surgical procedures moving forward. Minnesota Oncology has been providing care throughout this unprecedented time and appreciates the additional flexibility this change will afford to the treatment of patients moving forward. Read more.

Mask Guidelines for Patients and Caregivers (4/15/2020)

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently updated their coronavirus (COVID-19 virus) guidelines to recommend wearing face coverings whenever going out in public. For the safety of all of our patients and staff, Minnesota Oncology requires all patients and caregivers to wear face coverings when coming to our clinics.

Face coverings are material worn over the mouth and nose, such as a cloth mask or bandana.  They are usually made at home using common materials such as fabric scraps or a t-shirt. Minnesota Oncology clinics have been collecting homemade masks from generous donors, so if you do not have a mask available, please request one when you enter the clinic.

Face coverings help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus by keeping droplets from spreading in the air when the wearer breaths out, talks, or coughs. They are especially useful to help prevent people who have the COVID-19 virus but do not have any symptoms from unknowingly spreading it to others.

It is important to note that face coverings are not the same as medical facemasks and are not intended to protect the wearer from exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Due to severe supply shortages, medical facemasks should be reserved for healthcare professionals and others who need this type of protection. Speak with your care team if you would like more information about medical facemasks.

Read more about face coverings
Making masks? Please consider donating to Minnesota Oncology! Learn more here.

Telemedicine (4/13/2020)

Virtual appointments are now available for select office visits. For your safety and convenience, our expert team has begun to see patients through scheduled virtual appointments on a secure platform. Virtual appointments are only available for select office visits and cannot be used for emergency medical care. Visit our Telemedicine page for more information..

Visitor Guidelines Update (3/27/2020):

Beginning Monday, March 30, we are no longer permitting guests with patients with the exception of interpreters, those needed for mobility assistance, and new patient consults. 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 understanding and cooperation.

What Minnesota’s Stay Home Executive Order Means for Minnesota Oncology Patients (3/25/2020):

In light of the Stay Home Executive Order announced by Minnesota Governor Time Walz on March 25, we wanted to reassure you that Minnesota Oncology remains open to provide medically necessary, life-sustaining care. Our office is committed to the health and safety of our community and has implemented rigorous policies and procedures to limit the exposure risks of any individual visiting our clinics. Read the full statement.

Important Information:

  • If you have a fever, cough or shortness of breath, you should contact Minnesota Oncology before visiting our clinics for scheduled appointments. 
  • For the safety of our patients and staff, we are no longer permitting guests with patients with the exception of interpreters, those needed for mobility assistance, and new patient consults.
  • We also ask that patients in the infusion areas (where our most immune-compromised patients are) DO NOT have visitors unless it is necessary for your care.
  • Any non-essential vendors, suppliers, and visitors are currently not allowed in our clinics.
  • We are working to reschedule or delay clinic visits which may not be essential at this time. We are in the process of implementing telehealth options as well. Your clinic will be in contact with patients whose appointments fall into this category.
  • Due to the large volume of calls we are receiving: If your appointment is not in the next 72 hours, please do not call your clinic. We will be addressing all patient appointments at least 48 hours ahead of your scheduled appointment.

 


Appointments

As a result of COVID-19, you may notice changes in our offices in the coming days and weeks. These measures are a part of our commitment to do what we can to ensure the critical care which our patients need is not interrupted. Please note the following changes to our existing protocols and procedures to further ensure the safety of those we serve:

  • We have implemented travel restrictions for our employees.
  • We have mandated that any employees feeling unwell stay home.
  • We ask that all patients experiencing symptoms of a cough, fever or difficulty breathing or those who may have been exposed to the coronavirus please contact Minnesota Oncology before visiting our clinics for scheduled appointments.
  • For the safety of our patients and staff, we are no longer permitting guests with patients with the exception of interpreters, those needed for mobility assistance, and new patient consults.
  • We also ask that patients in the infusion areas (where our most immune-compromised patients are) DO NOT have visitors unless it is necessary for your care.
  • We are working to reschedule or delay clinic visits which may not be essential at this time. We are in the process of implementing telehealth options as well. Your clinic will be in contact with patients whose appointments fall into this category.
  • Due to the large volume of calls we are receiving: If your appointment is not in the next 72 hours, please do not call your clinic. We will be addressing all patient appointments at least 48 hours ahead of your scheduled appointment.

Enhanced Patient Visitor/Escort Restrictions

  • For the safety of our patients and staff, we are no longer permitting guests with patients with the exception of interpreters, those needed for mobility assistance, and new patient consults.
    We also ask that patients in the infusion areas (where our most immune-compromised patients are) DO NOT have visitors unless it is necessary for your care.

  • Foreign Language Translators and Sign Language Interpreters are allowed.

  • Any non-essential vendors, suppliers, and visitors are currently not allowed in our clinics.

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

Minnesota Oncology will continue to closely monitor this global health advisory and follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

How You Can Help

If you are healthy and seeking ways to help in the midst of this crisis, we will continue to share some options here:

Mask Donation
Making masks? Please consider donating to Minnesota Oncology! Learn more here.

Blood Donation

Due to COVID-19, it is highly likely that blood donations are down.  A healthy blood supply is important to our patient population. Please consider a donation to one of these organizations:

Cancer Support Organizations
Our patients rely on financial and emotional assistance from many local cancer support organizations. Due to many cancellations and closures, these organizations are working to continue support to cancer patients and their families in new, creative ways. In addition, many of their regular fundraising events have been canceled and giving, in general, is down during this time of uncertainly. If you are able to support the following organizations, please consider doing so:

  • Angel Foundation - Angels in Action Emergency Fund (created specifically to support local, adult cancer patients impacted by COVID-19)
  • American Cancer Society
  • Firefly Sisterhood
  • Gilda's Club Twin Cities
  • Hope Chest for Breast Cancer
  • Jack's Caregiver Coalition
  • Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance
  • Colon Cancer Coalition
  • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • Komen Twin Cities
  • A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation
  • Rein in Sarcoma