Coronaviruses make up a large family of viruses that have been around for years. They were first identified and described in the 1960s. COVID-19 is a new strain that has potential to cause more severe illness. It is thought to have originated in animals before spreading to humans, similar to two other well-known coronaviruses, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). COVID-19 was first identified in humans in Wuhan, China, in 2019.

How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 spreads from person to person through droplets when a person with it coughs or sneezes close to another person, like the way the common cold or flu spreads.

What are the signs of COVID-19?

COVID-19 causes cold or flu-like symptoms. These may include fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. It can cause serious problems, such as pneumonia and even death, especially in older people and people with other health problems, including cancer.

What you need to know before you arrive at the cancer centre

We are open for patient care. To ensure the safety of our patients and staff, we continue to monitor the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and to proactively ensure that our patients and workforce remain safe and protected. You will be asked about your recent travel history and whether you are exhibiting symptoms of respiratory infection, including:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle aches
  • Nasal congestion/runny nose

Patients and caregivers with questions or concerns, please contact your treating medical / radiation oncologist.

New visitor policy

In our ongoing effort to protect the health and safety of our patients and staff, one visitor will be allowed to accompany adult patients.

We understand that this may be a difficult adjustment for our patients and their loved ones, and we don’t take this step lightly. However, it is a critically important measure to protect our patients and staff.

This change means:

  • One visitor is allowed to accompany adult patients.
  • Paediatric patients should be accompanied by only one adult parent or guardian.
  • All people entering the North Wing will be screened for symptoms such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, nasal congestion, sore throat, body aches, or rash. Any visitor with obvious signs of illness will be asked to kindly leave.
  • If you have symptoms of a cold or flu (cough, fever, difficulty breathing, nasal congestion, rash, body aches, chills, or sore throat), please proceed to the Emergency department and do not enter the North Wing.
  • If you are in treatment, we want you to keep your scheduled appointment if you can safely do so. We have no plans to postpone appointments for patients who are actively being treated for cancer or related conditions.
  • We know that loved ones are a vital part of the healing process. When possible, we encourage you to use your smartphone or other mobile device to stay in touch with your friends and loved ones during your visit.

Thank you for your support during this challenging time, and for entrusting your care to us.

What can I do to help protect myself?

Having cancer may increase your risk for many illnesses because cancer treatment can weaken your immune system. Please be sure that you and your loved ones take steps to prevent infection:

  • Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds. Use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue and clean your hands. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve.
  • Maintain social distance. This means you should avoid contact with other people and keep a distance of at least six feet between yourself and others.
  • Do not shake hands with others.
  • Avoid direct contact with people who are sick.

What should I do if I was potentially exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19?

If you were notified of a potential exposure to someone with COVID-19 and have no symptoms, you may be asked to be screened at your nearest testing facility. You will be given instructions on what you should do. If you have cold or flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing, body aches, or chills), you must proceed to the Emergency department for testing.

Is there somewhere a friend or loved one can wait for me while I’m at my appointment?

Unfortunately, no. At this time due to our strict infection control efforts, only one person is allowed to accompany you.  Anyone else cannot enter the building (parking area excluded).