Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Minneapolis Radiation Oncology (MRO) is committed to doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our patients and staff. We have implemented an internal COVID-19 Task Force that is continually monitoring, evaluating, and updating procedures. And we’re following recommendations from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), the American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and other federal, state and local agencies.
Some people with cancer might have a higher risk of getting COVID-19 and the increased risks associated with having cancer. Take steps to protect yourself. Ask your MRO doctor or nurse about special recommendations based on your own health or type of treatment.
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers you may find helpful. Please keep in mind that the situation for COVID-19 is changing daily, so these recommendations may change.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, is a new type of virus that can cause mild to severe infections in the lungs, especially for people with weakened immune systems. Currently, there is no cure or preventive vaccine for COVID-19 but experts around the world are working to develop a vaccine.
How does COVID-19 spread?
Like the common cold or flu, COVID-19 spreads quickly and easily. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the droplets can get into the eyes, nose, or mouth of people nearby. These droplets may also land on surfaces that people touch before touching their own eyes, nose, or mouth.
How can I protect myself?
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizer with 60% or more alcohol until you can wash your hands with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth without washing your hands first.
Clean and disinfect surfaces often. Regular household wipes and sprays will kill the virus. Be sure to clean places that people touch a lot, such as door handles, phones, keyboards, and light switches.
- Practice “social distancing.” Avoid handshakes, hugging, and standing or sitting close to people who are coughing or sneezing.
- Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, exercise, and manage your stress to stay as healthy as you can.
If you are sick, follow these steps:
- Stay home. Avoid others in your home as much as possible.
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. If you use a tissue, put it in the garbage right away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow crease.
- Call before going to your medical appointments. Let them know about your symptoms or if you have had contact with a person with COVID-19.
Call your doctor right away if:
- You have a fever higher than 100.4 degrees F.
- You feel short of breath.
- You develop a cough, runny nose, or congestion.
Should I wear a mask?
Experts believe that wearing a mask won’t help in preventing the disease, however, it will help prevent infected people from spreading the disease. Ask your doctor or nurse if you should use a certain type of mask because of your own health or occupation. If you arrive at a clinic or MRO therapy center with respiratory symptoms, please ask for a mask.
What if I care for or live with a cancer patient?
If you are caring for or living with someone with cancer, follow the preventive steps carefully to protect yourself and them. If you become sick yourself, call your doctor to see what more you should do to protect your loved one.
What about people accompanying a patient for their treatment?
If you are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19, do not come to the clinic. Find someone who is not sick to accompany your loved one at their appointments. To protect everyone, we may limit the number of people who can accompany the patient. Please check with your MRO care team.
How is MRO protecting me from COVID-19?
We’re taking steps to keep infected patients separate from those who may be at risk. We’re also taking extra steps to clean and disinfect surfaces throughout our clinics. You’ll find “sanitation stations” at all entrances, with tissues, hand sanitizer, and masks.
At each appointment, your care team will ask about your overall health and any recent travel. If you have symptoms, we may ask you to wait in a separate room or to reschedule when you’re feeling better.
Will you still care for me if I get sick?
Yes. At MRO, your fight against cancer is always our mission and our top priority.