Governor Inslee’s stay-at-home order for Washington state does not apply to healthcare facilities.
While most Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) services are open and operating normally, to support social distancing recommendations, we are postponing non-critical appointments and procedures. Some SCCA prevention and survivorship clinics will also be temporarily postponed until April. SCCA is individually reaching out to patients to notify them of the temporary postponement.
SCCA is exploring all possibilities to continue providing excellent care for all our patients, including the option for telehealth visits. We will continue to keep patients and families up to date about any changes to our operating hours and services.
For more information about which clinics are postponed, please see below.
We are committed to caring for our patients. It is still safe for patients to receive necessary care. If you have a scheduled appointment at SCCA, please plan to keep this appointment unless you are experiencing symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, wheezing, loss of smell or taste, new onset of diarrhea, stuffy nose, runny nose or muscle aches and pains.
If you are a patient who is experiencing these symptoms, please call our COVID-19 Hotline before coming to the clinic at (206) 606-2880 daily from 8 am - 10 pm. We can best ensure everyone's safety if we know about symptoms you are experiencing before you come to the clinic.
Which clinics are temporarily postponed and why?
Most patients seen in these clinics are not in active treatment and don’t have urgent medical needs. All patients currently scheduled in our prevention, survivorship and wellness clinics are reviewed by a clinical provider to identify any urgent medical need. The clinics below are communicating with their patients to notify them of the change and reschedule their appointments.
If you want to be seen in one of these clinics when they return to normal operating hours, please contact (206) 606-6100.
List of clinics:
- Breast and Ovarian Cancer Prevention Program (BOCPP)
- Gastrointestinal Cancer Prevention Program (GICP)
- Women's Wellness Clinic
- Survivorship Program
Below are answers to common questions about COVID-19 that relate to our patients and community. The information on this page is subject to modification, pending guidance from the CDC, WHO and/or Public Health – Seattle & King County.
Are procedures and surgeries still taking place?
In response to the unprecedented challenges placed on the healthcare system by the COVID-19 pandemic, SCCA is postponing non-critical patient visits, surgeries and procedures.
SCCA will not postpone surgeries, procedures, or services in which delay could result in a patient’s condition worsening. We have reached a point in the COVID-19 outbreak in which thoughtful prioritization of critical procedures is necessary.
SCCA physicians perform surgery at the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC), which has canceled non-urgent elective surgeries and procedures. Our staff is coordinating with UWMC to determine which surgeries need to be rescheduled.
Staff will communicate directly with patients affected by the temporary change in operations. In situations where our physicians determine that scheduled surgeries or procedures can be delayed, they will discuss with patients what alternative, non-surgical options are available and prioritize uninterrupted treatment.
As our entire community responds and adapts to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, the health of our patients remains our first priority. SCCA looks forward to resuming normal operations as soon as possible.
What does the Governor’s stay at home order mean for my care?
Governor Jay Inslee announced a stay at home order for Washington state, beginning Wednesday, March 25. This order does not apply to health care facilities. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance remains open and operating under normal hours. The health and well-being of our patients and staff remain our priority. We will continue to deliver world-class care during this time of uncertainty. Any previously scheduled appointments will remain in place unless you have been otherwise notified.
Can I bring children and family members/caregivers to my appointment(s)?
Children under 12 may not visit the clinic. We ask that you bring only one additional person to your appointment(s).
What should I do if I have cold or flu symptoms?
If you must see your team and have active symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, wheezing, loss of smell or taste, new onset of diarrhea, stuffy nose, runny nose or muscle aches and pains, please call our COVID-19 Hotline at (206) 606-2880 before your appointment.
If you are already at the clinic, it is very important that you tell us about any symptoms you are experiencing to ensure your safety and that of other patients and staff who treat you. If patients have symptoms, we are typically allowing them to proceed to their appointments after fitting them with a mask, testing them for COVID-19 if indicated and advising their care teams to wear protective equipment.
Are cancer patients at greater risk of contracting COVID-19?
According to SCCA’s medical director of Infection Prevention, Dr. Steven Pergam, patients with blood malignancies (non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and multiple myeloma) and those who have received bone marrow transplants are most vulnerable because they have the most profound immune deficits.
Patients who are in active treatment for any type of cancer are also at risk. Patients who are not in active treatment should also be cautious. To read more about recommendations for immunosuppressed patients from Dr. Pergam and Fred Hutchinson’s Dr. Gary Lyman, click here.
Can I have a telehealth (video) appointment with my provider instead of coming into the clinic?
If you are a current SCCA patient and your provider decides it is medically appropriate, you may be able to have a telehealth appointment. If it is an option for you, your scheduler/team coordinator will call you to make sure you have the right technology. If you do, they will help you schedule your appointment.
If you are new to SCCA and haven’t seen one of our providers before, you may be able to have a telehealth visit if you live in Washington state.
What is SCCA doing to protect patients?
We are taking the following steps:
- Screening all who enter SCCA clinics through any entrance for fever and respiratory symptoms. Every person will be given an I’ve been screened sticker. Anyone with symptoms will be given a mask and evaluated in a separate area.
- Limiting the number of visitors. This includes:
- Canceling or rescheduling many non-critical patient visits.
- Limiting the number of caregivers that patients can bring to their appointment (one caregiver; no children under 12).
- Keeping all non-essential staff out of the clinic.
- Postponing all patient education events, classes and volunteer opportunities.Some classes are available online at youtube.com/c/SCCAPatientEducation.
- Increasing the frequency of cleaning high-touch surfaces such as door handles and elevator buttons.
- Closing SCCA's retail stores, the gift shop in the clinic and Shine in South Lake Union, as of March 16. Shine is open by appointment only for mastectomy, cane and compression fittings. Call (206) 606-7560 to schedule an appointment.
Should I wear a mask in the clinic?
The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Most places in the clinic have social distancing measures in place, such as stickers on the floor that are 6 feet apart, but you may feel more comfortable wearing a cloth mask while you’re in the clinic. By covering your mouth and nose, it’s thought you are less likely to spread the virus when you are not showing symptoms (asymptomatic) or have early symptoms that aren’t recognized. Wearing a mask also helps make sure you don’t touch your face during the day. It’s important to recognize that cloth masks are thought to provide limited additional protection from infection to the wearer and are not a replacement for social distancing and hand hygiene. Click here to learn how to make a cloth mask.
When you enter the clinic, you will be screened for respiratory symptoms. If staff determine you have symptoms, they will give you a surgical mask and tell you how to wear it properly. If worn correctly, masks can help decrease the spread of respiratory viruses and bacteria.
If my family members/caregivers and I do not have a fever or respiratory symptoms, should we wear a mask in public?
The CDC now recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. By covering your mouth and nose, it’s thought you are less likely to spread the virus when you are not showing symptoms (asymptomatic) or have early symptoms that aren’t recognized. Wearing a mask also helps make sure you don’t touch your face during the day. It’s important to recognize that cloth masks are thought to provide limited additional protection from infection to the wearer and are not a replacement for social distancing and hand hygiene. Click here to learn how to make a cloth mask.
Should I be worried about getting infected with COVID-19 at SCCA?
SCCA has extensive and thorough infection control procedures, and we will do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our community. We have protocols and systems in place to keep all patients, visitors and healthcare workers safe.
Is SCCA testing patients and staff for COVID-19?
Yes. Patients and staff with COVID-19-related symptoms are being tested. We have two set-ups for testing patients and staff. Both are designed to limit the flow of people throughout the building.
Drive-through testing is available for eligible SCCA patients by appointment only at SCCA South Lake Union under specific circumstances:
- If you are an SCCA patient with symptoms and think you need to be tested for COVID-19, please call the COVID-19 Hotline at (206) 606-2880, daily from 8 am - 10 pm. Our nurses will assess your symptoms and determine if testing is needed.
Patients are also evaluated and tested in an enclosed area away from other patients and family members.
Staff are tested at a drive-through location in the parking lot by appointment only.
SCCA will continue screening all who enter SCCA clinics through any entrance for symptoms.
How long does it take for results to come back?
Generally, we can get COVID-19 test results back in 24 to 48 hours.
Have there been any COVID-19 exposures at SCCA?
SCCA has identified patients and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19. We are following the CDC and Department of Health guidelines for notifying people who are at risk of exposure and giving them guidance on next steps. Environmental Services has increased the frequency of cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as door handles and elevator buttons. The disinfectants that we use are effective at killing COVID-19.
Please be assured that SCCA has a robust and strict infection prevention protocol to safeguard the health and safety of our patients and staff.
Is there anything I can do to keep myself, my family and friends safe?
The most important steps to take are:
- Avoid going to gatherings with large numbers of people; heed social distancing guidelines.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Practice good hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food or water systems. However, you can take extra steps to help protect your health while preparing, cooking and shopping for food. Learn more about how from our Medical Nutrition Therapy Services team here (PDF).
- Plan how you will take care of sick family members. Make plans for childcare if you are sick or if your child is sick. Have a thermometer at home so you can check for fever if you or a loved one feels ill.
- Try to get a few extra months’ worth of your prescription medications, if possible.
- Stay informed – check the CDC site regularly for new updates.
More information about the COVID-19 outbreak in our region
Blood drive cancellations due to the COVID-related closures of schools, businesses and events are jeopardizing our region’s blood supply. A healthy blood supply is vital to cancer treatment. If you are healthy and able, please consider donating blood, or at least spread the word about our current need. Find out more about donating blood at Bloodworks Northwest.
The SCCA Patient Q&A handout is now available in the following translated languages:
Information about COVID-19 has been translated into Amharic, Chinese (traditional), Korean, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese by Seattle’s Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs:
- Información importante de COVID-19 en español
- Thông tin quan trọng COVID-19 bằng tiếng Việt.
- 한국어로 된 중요한 COVID-19 정보.
- በአማርኛ ውስጥ አስፈላጊ COVID-19 መረጃ ፡፡
- Macluumaadka muhiimka ah ee COVID-19 ee af-soomaaliga.
- Важная информация о COVID-19 на русском языке.
- معلومات مهمة حول COVID-19 باللغة العربية.
- ข้อมูลสำคัญเกี่ยวกับ COVID-19 ในภาษาไทย
- ព័ត៌មានសំខាន់អំពី COVID-19 ជាភាសាខ្មែរ។
A helpline for non-English speakers is available by calling 1 (800) 525-0127 and pressing #. This helpline is open from 6 am - 10 pm every day. Operators will connect callers with a third-party interpreter. The caller will need to be able to say in English what language they need for interpretation.