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COVID-19 Everything you need to know - March 2021 Update

Feb 17, 2021

At Canopy, we will continue to put in place the necessary measures to ensure that our patients and also our staff are safe and well cared for.

All Canopy patients are to continue to come into their Canopy clinic for treatment. Your nurse or scheduler will advise you of any changes.

If you are coming to the Epsom Clinic, please follow the Mercy Hospital guidelines as follows:

  • EVERYONE MUST scan the MercyAscot COVID QR code upon entry to the building before signing in at Canopy
  • Visitors WILL be requested to stop at booth and self-register. Visitors are: Patient visitors, people coming to Labtests, Couriers, Contractors

At Canopy we will be following Alert Level 1 and 2 protocols in all of our clinics until further notice.  

  • Treatments – If you are currently receiving treatment or are due to start, please continue to come into your designated Canopy clinic for treatment unless advised otherwise by your nurse, doctor or scheduler

  • Consultations – will be via zoom until further notice

    Support people – If in Auckland, you may not bring any support people to your treatment and consultation appointments unless medically required and approved by your consultant.  Outside of Auckland, you may bring one.

  • Face masks – please wear a face mask - our receptionists have spare masks available if required 

  • Reception "sneeze" guards – the reception screens are in place in our reception areas

  • Contact tracing – QR code are available at our clinic entrances and we encourage you to use the "NZ COVID Tracer" app.  Please also turn on blue tooth in the app

Ministry of Health recommendations

Please follow some basic recommendations to help limit the spread of COVID-19

  • continue stringent hand hygiene 
  • sneeze and cough into your elbow
  • if you or a family member are unwell stay home and contact Healthline (0800 358 5453) or your GP about getting a test
  • practice physical distancing of two meters wherever possible
  • you must wear a mask on public transport and it is recommended in public spaces 

For more information from the Ministry of Health, click here.

We appreciate that this a very challenging time for everyone.

For those living alone, working from home, wrangling small children while working from home and those on the front line, the effects of COVID-19 continue to be exhausting, daunting and even a little terrifying.

Over the past few months, our staff and patients have been sharing their favourite mindfulness and meditation apps, blogs and websites for dealing with the stress and isolation of COVID-19.

The following is a list of the most popular. The apps are all free so take a moment and have a look.

And for the kids:

We have put together the following information to try and help answer some of your questions and concerns.

Q: Is it OK for me to get the flu shot?
A: YES. For patients with cancer including those that are currently receiving treatment we are recommending that you get the flu vaccine.

All patients on immunotherapy treatments eg Pembrolizumab (Keytruda), Nivolumab (Opdivo), Atezolizumab (Tecentriq), Bevacizumab (Avastin) are recommended to have the flu vaccination.

The only exception is for those treated with ipilimumab (Yervoy).

If you are receiving Ipilimumab, please discuss the flu vaccine first with your Oncologist. If you have any questions about this, please talk to your Specialist Nurse or Oncologist.

Q: Is the Paxman still available during the COVID-19 lockdown?
A: With immediate effect we are unable to provide the use of the Paxman Cool Cap during the current outbreak. We will be allowing those patients that have already commenced "cool capping" to continue until they have completed treatment.

Q: Will Canopy Cancer Care stay open at all Alert Levels?
A: Yes. As an essential medical service, Canopy will remain open. Treatments will still continue to be delivered in our clinics although consultations may be conducted over the phone.

Q: Can I still bring support people with me to my treatment appointments:
A: For your own protection and that of other patients as well as our staff, you cannot bring support people with you if we are in Alert Level 3 or higher, unless you have a clinical need. If you need assistance, please let your nurse know.

Q: What should I do if I don't feel well and believe my symptoms are similiar to COVID-19?
A: Please contact the triage nurse on:

Auckland/Whangarei: 09 623 6009
Tauranga: 07 562 1319
After hours please contact your Oncologist/Haematologist or the on-call Doctor

Q: What should I do if I have been in contact with someone who is a suspected case (ie is awaiting a test result), or a confirmed case including friends and family?
A: Please contact the triage nurse on:

  • Auckland/Whangarei: 09 623 6009
  • Tauranga: 07 562 1319
  • After hours please contact your Oncologist/Haematologist or the on-call Doctor.

Q: What can I do to reduce my risk of catching COVID-19?
A: Maintaining good personal hygiene is our best protection, please continue to be vigilant:

  • Regular hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds or more
  • Use alcohol-based rubs/sanitizers (minimum of 60% alcohol)
  • Coughing or sneezing into the crook of your arm or a disposable tissue
  • Social distancing of 2 meters where possible
  • Avoid handshakes, kissing, hugging and Hongi

Q: Am I at higher risk of catching COVID 19 if I have cancer?
A: People with cancer, those that are immunocompromised and those that have chronic conditions may be at higher risk of more severe form of COVID-19.

Those at higher risk should avoid non-essential travel, avoid social gatherings and stay at home as much as possible, even as we come out of Level 3.

Q: Should I be tested for COVID-19?
A: If you have any of the following:

  • respiratory symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath
  • and a fever
  • and you have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19

contact the triage nurse phone 09 6236009 or after hours please contact your Oncologist or the Canopy On-call Doctor.

If you are required to have a test your doctor will arrange this for you.

Please do not attend the clinic.

It is important to remember that many people with symptoms similar to COVID-19 will not have the virus. Only suspected cases are tested to ensure our labs are able to cope with the demand. There is no need to test people who feel well and do not meet the criteria above.

Q: What happens if I am a confirmed case of COVID-19?
A: If you test positive for COVID-19 your clinical team will advise you what do next and how this might affect your treatment. Your safety is our top priority.

Q: Will medications and other supplies be available for my treatment to continue
A: We are working closely with all our suppliers to ensure we continue to have access to all essential supplies including medications.

It is advisable to ensure that you have 1 month supply of your regular medications available both prescription and over the counter medicines.

Q: What if my COVID-19 test result is negative?
A: If your doctor has recently tested you for COVID-19, and the result was negative, here are some important things to remember:

You still need to complete your full 14-day isolation period if:

  • you have returned from any overseas
  • you have had close contact with someone with the virus

If you are still sick with the same illness at the end of your 14-day isolation period, you will need to stay in isolation until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours. If you are well, and have been well for 24 hours, you can return to normal daily activity.

If your current symptoms get worse and you feel more unwell, contact your GP or the nurse triage 09 6236009 . If you need to see a doctor for this new illness, please phone ahead (don’t just turn up). Be sure to let them know you’ve recently returned from an area of concern or had close contact with a person confirmed as having COVID-19.

If you are feeling fully recovered from your illness, but then develop a new illness while in self-isolation, please call the triage nurse on 09 6236009 or see your doctor (phone ahead and tell them you have been in self-isolation).

Q: I’ve been told to self-isolate. What does this mean?
A: COVID-19 is notifiable to the Minister of Health Reportable Diseases under the Health Act 1956, and any requirement of Public Health must be adhered to.

Self-isolation is an effective precautionary measure to protect those around you – your family, friends, colleagues – from contracting COVID-19. It means taking simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible, like you would with the seasonal flu virus.

Staying at home means you:

  • do not go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare or university
  • ask someone to get food and other necessities for you and leave them at your front door
  • do not let visitors in — only people who usually live with you should be in your home
  • you do not need to wear a mask in your home
  • if you need to go out to seek medical attention, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others.

For further details around self-isolation, refer to the Ministry of Health.

Q: Can I self-isolate within a household of people who are not self-isolating?
A: Yes, but you need to follow the Ministry of Health guidelines in order to protect yourself. If you are in a home where the others who live with you haven’t travelled or been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, you should minimise close contact with them by avoiding situations where you have face-to-face contact closer than 1 metre for more than 15 minutes. The other household residents do not need to self-isolate provided these precautions are followed.
You should not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, pillows or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and water, place them in the dishwasher for cleaning or wash them in your washing machine.

Q: How is the virus treated?
A: There are no specific treatment for corona viruses. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses. Most of the symptoms can be treated with supportive medical care.

Q: I’m feeling anxious, who can I talk to?
A: If over the following days and weeks you feel you are not coping, it’s important to seek help and professional support. Your family doctor is a good starting point. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, you can also call or text 1737 Need to talk? This service is free, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and gives you the chance to talk it through with a trained counsellor.

We are constantly monitoring advice from the Ministry of Health as the situation continues to change. We will be updating our patients with specific advice as required.

Please continue to follow the recommendations from the Ministry or Health around self isolation, social distancing and good personal hygiene.

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