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COVID-19 Poses Special Challenges to Cancer Care

(MedPage Today) Mar 25, 2020 - While having an unprecedented impact on all aspects of the nation's healthcare system, the COVID-19 pandemic created unique circumstances and challenges for cancer care, according to authors of a review from the early U.S. epicenter in metropolitan Seattle. The first confirmed U.S. case of COVID-19 was reported on Jan. 20 in Snohomish County, about an hour north of Seattle. The first COVID-19 death in the country occurred there, as well.

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Howard S. Hochster, MD (Posted: March 26, 2020)

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There is no question that SARS-CoV-2 will prove to be a major challenge to all health care providers in the coming weeks. At the Rutgers Cancer Institute of NJ we have moved aggressively to reduce staff and patient exposure by seeing as many follow up visits by Telemedicine video chats. We are calling to pre-screen every patient coming in for possible symptoms or exposure, and screening again at the front door. However, we continue to treat all patients on active therapy at this time as "essential services". We are continuing cancer surgery at this time in the same way. At the moment we are prioritizing patients with cancer diagnosis for treatment as usual, and will continue to do so as long as we have the resources.

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