What should I know about COVID-19?

By March 13, 2020 No Comments

Here at Harbour, we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation in New Zealand very carefully so we can keep our patients updated. For those of you who would like more information about the virus, we thought it would be a good idea to put together some specific information.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • a cough
  • a high temperature (at least 38°C)
  • shortness of breath.

These symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have COVID-19. The symptoms are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu. For more information about the virus, there are some excellent fact sheets on the Ministry of Health website.

As a cancer patient, am I more at risk of COVOID-19?

We know that anyone with a weaker immune system is more at risk from a case of COVID-19 because they are less able to fight the illness. Anyone undergoing active treatment for cancer, (including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy) has a weakened immune system and should minimise their risk of exposure to COVID-19 infection by following the Ministry of Healths advice for immune-compromised people.

What is Harbour doing?

  • We will isolate any staff member or patient displaying symptoms suspicious for COVID-19
  • If any patient requires treatment in isolation, we have designated consult room three and have specific staffing requirements around personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • If Harbour staff are affected, we have an agreement with a bureau agency to supply additional staff
  • If you are infected with COVID-19, we may need to delay your therapy days
  • If your doctor needs to be in isolation, we will arrange either videoconferencing or review by another specialist, so that your treatment can continue on schedule

We ask for patience and flexibility as some appointments may need to be moved to ensure as best we can the safety of our patients and staff. However, no changes are currently planned.

So, should I cancel my treatments?

Unless you have symptoms of COVID-19, it is still safe to have your treatments.

What if I do have symptoms?

If you do have any of the symptoms mentioned, including fever, coughing or difficulty breathing, please DO NOT enter the clinic and call the Healthline COVID-19 number on 0800 358 5453. Let our nurses know if you cannot attend your appointment.

What if someone in my family has symptoms?

Please call the COVID-19 Healthline number on 0800 358 5453.

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

There isn’t a vaccine available yet for COVID-19. However, several pharmaceutical companies are working on vaccines and treatments. It will likely be around a year before a vaccine is developed.

If you have any questions or concerns about COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to call our nurses on (09) 925 4470.

The Ministry of Health writes that ‘COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways.’ This illness is caused by a type of virus called a coronavirus. The term coronavirus describes a family of viruses that can cause common colds to more severe respiratory diseases, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). COVID-19 is being spread from person to person through droplets, these come from someone infected coughing, sneezing or talking, thus spreading the illness a short distance and potentially to someone else.