Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Updates

COVID-19 and Cancer Treatment

Information for Patients & Families

This information is specific to Northwest Territories cancer patients. Your main source of information on COVID-19 and health is the Department of Health and Social Services website and their webpage on the Coronavirus.

The global COVID-19 pandemic is changing daily. We will update this information as things change.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

As a cancer patient, am I more likely to get COVID-19?

At this point, we cannot be sure if cancer patients are more likely to get sick with COVID-19, but you may be at higher risk for more severe symptoms of COVID-19 if your immune system is weaker from the cancer and treatment. To better understand how to keep yourself safe, follow the COVID-19 Prevent and Prepare document.

I am on chemotherapy and I have a fever. What should I do?

If you have a temperature of:

  • 38.3°C (100.9°F) or higher at any time or
  • 38.0°C (100.4°F) to 38.2°C (100.8°F) for at least 1 hour

Then follow the directions from Medical Daycare Unit on your Triage Letter.

Call the Medical Daycare Unit contact number you were given. If you can’t get through or it’s after hours, go to your nearest Emergency Department or Health Centre. When you get there, give the nurse your emergency letter and tell them that you are on chemotherapy.

I am on immunotherapy and have developed a cough, shortness of breath or fever. What should I do?

If you have:

  • a fever or 38.9°C (102°F ) or higher that lasts longer than 24 hours
  • a cough or
  • difficulty breathing

Follow the directions the Medical Daycare Unit gave you.

Call the Medical Daycare Unit contact number you were given. If you can’t get through or it’s after hours, go to your nearest Emergency Department or Health Centre. When you get there, give the nurse your emergency letter and tell them that you are on immunotherapy.

Appointments and COVID-19 Screening

Please note: You will receive a screening phone call before your appointment at the Medical Daycare Unit or Cross Cancer Institute.

What can I expect when arriving at Stanton Territorial Hospital’s Medical Day Care Unit for my chemotherapy or immunotherapy appointment?

Use the hand sanitizer immediately upon entering the Hospital.

Screening staff at the front entrance will ask you and your support person screening questions. This will help us limit people’s exposure to COVID-19 within our hospital and keep patients and staff as safe as possible.

There may be line-ups. Please come 5-10 minutes earlier than you normally do. This will give you time for the screening questions and help you get to your appointment on time.

Go straight to the Medical Daycare Unit after screening, no need to stop at registration, they will register you on the unit.

Please respect the need to stay 2 meters or 6 feet away from others at screening desks, reception desks and in waiting areas.

What will happen if I have symptoms when I arrive at the Medical Daycare Unit?

If you have symptoms, call the Medical Daycare Unit before you come so we can assess you by phone first.

If you do arrive to the Medical Daycare Unit with symptoms that may be from COVID-19, we will ask you to wash your hands and put on a mask. A healthcare provider will assess you. They will wear personal protective equipment like gloves, gown and mask. After they finish assessing you, they will contact the General Practitioner Oncologist.

Am I allowed to bring visitors to the Medical Daycare Unit with me?

Yes, you may bring one (1) support person to the Medical Daycare Unit. They will be screened when entering the hospital.

Clinic Visits (Follow-up and Treatment)

Please note: To lower the chances of COVID-19 for our patients and staff, your care team is reviewing your care before your appointment. We are working to set up telephone and virtual follow-up appointments to help limit the amount of people that need to be at the Medical Daycare Unit.

I am worried about getting COVID-19. Do I have to come in for my follow up appointment?

Depending on the reason for your appointment, your healthcare team may offer you a "virtual" visit using the phone, or a video chat. We will only offer this as an option if it is safe to do so. Staff may ask you what technology (phone or computer) you have access to and are comfortable using. Please let them know if you have any concerns.

Should I still go to my cancer treatment appointment?

Treatment appointments are still scheduled. Please plan to come.

If you do not feel well, please call the Medical Daycare Unit 867-669-4368.

What happens if my treatment appointment needs to be cancelled?

If you have COVID-19 or other symptoms that keep you from going to your treatment appointment, your oncologist or general practitioner oncologist will talk to you about the next steps.

If I need cancer medications for home, what do I do?

Call the Medical Daycare Unit like you normally do.

Isolation and Exposure

 

I live with someone who is self-isolating. Do I have to self-isolate as well?

Follow the NWT self-isolation guidelines.

 

Can the Medical Daycare Unit have me tested for COVID-19?

At this time, the Medical Daycare Centre is not testing people for COVID-19. If you need testing, please complete the online self-assessment tool and follow the directions for COVID-19.

 

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • difficulty breathing (e.g. unable to finish sentences because of your breathing, short of breath at rest, unable to lie down because of difficulty breathing); 
  • chest pain;
  • having a very hard time waking up; 
  • fainted or lost consciousness; OR
  • difficulty managing your daily life because of breathing difficulties.

Please call 911 or go directly to your nearest Emergency Department or Health Centre if you are in a smaller community. Click here for contact information for regional NWT Health Centres.

If you think that you have COVID-19, please tell 9-1-1 or call the Health Centre before you go, so that they are prepared for your arrival.

If you have additional questions related to cancer care, you can contact:

  • Cancer Navigators: call toll-free at 1-866-313-7989, or email their team at cancer_navigator@gov.nt.ca
  • Medical Daycare Unit: call 867-669-4368

If you have additional COVID-19 only related questions you can call or email the COVID-19 hotline toll-free at 1-833-378-8297, or email protectnwt@gov.nt.ca