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!

Updated Visitor Policy Guidelines June 1, 2021

COVID-19 Visitor Policy Updates (3/24/2021)

COVID-19 Pre-Appointment Screening for Patients (3/10/21)

COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Minnesota Oncology Patients (1/26/2021)

CDC Updates: How to Protect Yourself & Others (11/9/2020)

See the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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.


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 safety measures such as screening all patients and staff, distancing when possible, and enhancing cleaning protocols.
  • 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.
  • Telemedicine appointments are available and will be offered when appropriate.

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:

Know how it spreads

COVID-19 spreads easily from person to person, mainly by the following routes:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, breathes, sings or talks.
  • Respiratory droplets cause infection when they are inhaled or deposited on mucous membranes, such as those that line the inside of the nose and mouth.
  • People who are infected but do not have symptoms can also spread the virus to others.

Less common ways COVID-19 can spread

  • Under certain circumstances (for example, when people are in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation), COVID-19 can sometimes be spread by airborne transmission.
  • COVID-19 spreads less commonly through contact with contaminated surfaces.

Everyone Should

Wash your hands often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • It’s especially important to wash:
    • Before eating or preparing food
    • Before touching your face
    • After using the restroom
    • After leaving a public place
    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • After handling your mask
    • After changing a diaper
    • After caring for someone sick
    • After touching animals or pets
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid close contact

  • Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.
  • Outside your home: Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
    • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus.
    • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people.
    • Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others

  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • The mask is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Do NOT use a mask meant for a healthcare worker. Currently, surgical masks and N95 respirators are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.
  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.

Cover coughs and sneezes

  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and disinfect

  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
  • If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • Then, use a household disinfectant. Most common EPA-registered household disinfectantsexternal icon will work.

Monitor Your Health Daily

  • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.
  • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.
  • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.
  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.

Protect Your Health This Flu Season

  • It’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter. Healthcare systems could be overwhelmed treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. This means getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever.While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19 there are many important benefits, such as:
  • Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.
  • Getting a flu vaccine can also save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.

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