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COVID-19 Advice for Our Patients

by Mackenzie Gignac

Our team at Melbourne Blood Specialists is committed to the health and safety of our patients. The evolving COVID-19 outbreak is being monitored closely by our team of healthcare professionals as we continue to work to provide the best treatment options for our patients.

Our office will remain open, however, with patient safety in mind new limitations have been enacted. All further consultations will be conducted by phone. In exceptional cases physical consultations can still occur, but only when a physical examination is critical.

New precautions are set in place for any patient visiting our office. You will be asked to wash your hands before entering with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Additionally, we ask that if patients need support from a family or friend for a physical appointment that they only bring one other guest to follow social distancing guidelines.

Patients should not attend our office and should self-isolate if:

  1. You are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 including:

  2. Cough

  3. Sore throat
  4. Fever
  5. Fatigue
  6. Shortness of breath

  7. Have been in contact with someone that has tested positive or has risk factors for COVID-19 such as overseas travel in the past two weeks

How does COVID-19 affect my cancer treatment?

If you are a patient and you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, please let us know ASAP so we can reassess your treatment plan.

For any patients that might test positive for COVID-19:

  • If you have been on stable oral drug treatment for at least 3 months and have been doing well with your cancer under control, our doctors ask that you stop your cancer treatment until you fully recover from COVID-19.
  • For patients receiving intravenous chemotherapy treatment, please contact us to speak with your doctor to determine how COVID-19 affects your medical care plan.
  • In all cases, please contact our office ASAP to let us know about your COVID-19 diagnosis.

How does COVID-19 affect people with blood cancers?

If you have Leukaemia, Lymphoma or Myeloma, you are not at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 than others. However, having a blood cancer weakens the body’s immune system which does put you at a higher risk of developing more severe symptoms than someone who is healthy.

What can I do to stay safe?:

  • The best way to stay safe is by avoiding exposure to the virus and staying at home unless necessary
  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands frequently with soap and water or cleaning your hands with at least 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Do not touch your face, eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Ensure you cover your mouth and sneezes with a tissue or into your elbow when you are sneezing or coughing
  • Avoid close contact and maintain 2 meters or 6 feet of distance between yourself and other people
  • Clean and disinfect your home and other frequently touched surfaces such as phones, keys, laptops, and doorknobs
  • We also recommend that you contact your local GP or pharmacist and receive the influenza vaccination as soon as possible.

Should I wear a face mask out in public?

There is increasing data that wearing of masks may reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The highest protection comes from specialist N95 or P2 masks, followed by surgical masks. However, these masks are difficult to purchase as they are required for the protection of doctors and nurses in hospitals treating infected patients.

Simple cloth masks or other face-covering materials do assist in reducing the risk of droplet transmission, and we recommend all our patients wear them whenever they are outside their home. Be sure to wash them often (preferably in water at 60 degrees Celsius or hotter) to keep them clean.

The CDC demonstrates how you can make your own face covering for your safety during the COVID-19 outbreak here.

COVID-19 Resources for further information

New information of COVID-19 is frequently evolving day-by-day. We recommend checking in on these sources to review coronavirus public health advice news.

At Melbourne Blood Specialists health and safety of our patients is our top priority. Our team is here to stand by you when you are not feeling well. Our team will still work to continue to serve our patients with the highest standard of medical care during these times.

A Very Happy Easter to all our Patients. We hope that you managed to spend time with your loved ones, even if this is by Facetime or Zoom.