COVID-19 information for patients

At Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), your health and safety are our top priorities. We have thorough safety measures in place to protect you, your caregivers and our staff.

SCCA patients may bring only one visitor to their appointments. Visitors with COVID-19 symptoms are not allowed in SCCA clinics.

The information on this page is subject to change pending guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization, Washington State Department of Health and/or Public Health – Seattle & King County. Some of the information on this page has been adapted, with permission, from UW Medicine’s COVID-19 Vaccines webpage.

Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.

In line with our ongoing commitment to safety, please follow these guidelines:

Call ahead before coming to your appointment if you have:  

  • Recently tested positive for COVID-19 (either from a laboratory or a home test) 
  • Any respiratory virus symptoms  – even if mild
  • Had a recent exposure to or a household member diagnosed with COVID-19

This is an important step in keeping everyone safe. If you come to the clinic without notifying your care team in advance of a positive test, exposure, or symptoms, you may be asked to reschedule your appointment, treatment, or procedure, or be moved to a telehealth visit.

Get tested for COVID-19 if you have:

  • Signs or symptoms of COVID-19 
  • Been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 (within 6 feet of the person for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) or someone in your household has COVID-19 
  • Traveled and are unvaccinated

You do not need to get tested if you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 or haven’t been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Recent updates on vaccine booster doses

On March 29, 2022 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its eligibility recommendation for COVID-19 second boosters, allowing immunocompromised individuals and people over the age of 50 who received an initial booster dose at least four months ago to get another booster dose of an mRNA vaccine. 

Similar to the guidance on the initial booster, a second booster dose can be “mixed and matched.” This means you may get a booster that was made by a different company than your primary series. For instance, if you got two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, you may get a booster dose of the Moderna vaccine. We recommend eligible patients get a booster if they received two Moderna vaccines or two Pfizer vaccines at least five months ago, or if they received the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago. Eligible patients may receive a second booster if they received a booster dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine at least four months ago.

SCCA continues to provide booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible patients based on CDC guidance. Patients can schedule a booster appointment by contacting their care team. At this time, we are unable to accept patient walk-ins or give booster doses to family/caregivers.  Patients at other SCCA locations and family/caregivers can find a COVID-19 vaccine site by visiting the Washington State Department of Health’s vaccine locations webpage.

For more information on booster dose eligibility, click here

Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Clinic and Bezos Family Immunotherapy Clinic patients

If you are a BMT clinic or an Immunotherapy Clinic patient with a hematologic malignancy (ALL, MM, NHL, CLL) being treated with CD19, CD20, or BCMA targeted CAR-T cells, you will need to start the COVID-19 vaccine series at least three months after transplant/treatment, even if you have already received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Bone marrow transplant The process of treating disease with high doses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. Bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are given after treatment to help the body make more blood cells. The process of treating disease with high doses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. Because this treatment destroys the bone marrow’s ability to produce blood cells, bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are given after treatment to help the body make more blood cells. Immunotherapy A type of therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. A therapy that uses substances to stimulate or suppress the immune system to help the body fight cancer, infection and other diseases. Some immunotherapies only target certain cells of the immune system. Others affect the immune system in a general way. Types of immunotherapy include cytokines, vaccines, bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) and some monoclonal antibodies. Sign In medicine, a sign is something found during a physical exam or from a laboratory test that shows that a person may have a condition or disease. In medicine, a sign is something found during a physical exam or from a laboratory test that shows that a person may have a condition or disease. Some examples of signs are fever, swelling, skin rash, high blood pressure and high blood glucose. Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.

Stay safe

Please continue to stay safe by avoiding crowds, avoiding indoor gatherings with people outside of your household, wearing your mask and getting tested for COVID-19 if you develop symptoms. Please also encourage all of your family members, friends and household contacts get vaccinated. When you spend time in groups, make your “bubbles” small and ask that everyone be vaccinated in your bubble.

Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.

COVID-19 vaccine frequently asked questions

I am a cancer patient but haven’t been vaccinated yet. What should I do?

Talk to your team about getting vaccinated. We recommend that all cancer patients get vaccinated against COVID-19, unless they have low counts due to chemotherapy (e.g., post leukemia therapy) or received a bone marrow transplant or CAR T-cell therapy in the last 3 months. If you aren’t sure, ask your clinical team. SCCA has vaccines for patients who need them.

Just as important – talk to your family, close contacts, and caregivers about getting vaccinated.  Protecting those around you will help protect you from being exposed to the virus.

COVID vaccine infographic

Bone marrow The soft, spongy material in the center of your bones that produces all your blood cells, such as white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Chemotherapy Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. It may be given alone or with other treatments. Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy may be given by mouth, injection, infusion or on the skin, depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. It may be given alone or with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy or biologic therapy. Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy A type of treatment in which a patient's T cells (a type of immune system cell) are changed in the laboratory so they will attack cancer cells. A type of treatment in which a patient's T cells (a type of immune system cell) are changed in the laboratory so they will attack cancer cells. T cells are taken from a patient’s blood. Then, in the laboratory, the gene for a special receptor that binds to a certain protein on the patient’s cancer cells is added to the T cells. This special receptor is called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). Large numbers of the CAR T cells are grown in the laboratory and given to the patient by infusion. Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy is used to treat certain blood cancers, and it is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer. Also called CAR T-cell therapy.
I am immunocompromised, and I received a full COVID-19 vaccine series. How do I know I am protected? Should I get an antibody test to check my immunity?

We do not recommend checking antibodies because we do not know what level of antibody is considered protective (even in the general population). This is consistent with current guidance from the CDC, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the FDA. Antibody tests also do not measure other types of vaccine responses, like T-cell responses, that play a role in immune protection. 

More research is being done to determine the best way to tell if someone is protected from COVID and to understand how well vaccinated cancer patients are protected.
 

Antibody A protein made by immune system cells and released into the blood. Antibodies defend the body against foreign substances, such as bacteria. Antibody A protein made by immune system cells and released into the blood. Antibodies defend the body against foreign substances, such as bacteria.
How many vaccines are in a series?

 

Patient immune status

Initial vaccine series

When should you get your booster dose?

Total doses

(initial series + booster)

mRNA vaccines

(Pfizer or Moderna)

Not immunocompromised

Two doses of mRNA vaccine (Pfizer, 21- days apart or Moderna, 28-days apart)

 

Five months after 2nd dose; recommend an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna)

Three

Immunocompromised*

Three doses of mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), 3rd dose should be at least 28-days apart

Five months after 3rd dose; recommend an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna)

Four

Janssen/

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) Vaccine

Not immunocompromised

One dose of Janssen/ Johnson & Johnson

Two months after initial vaccine; recommend an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna)

Two

Immunocompromised*

One dose of Janssen/ Johnson & Johnson

Two months after initial vaccine for first dose; recommend two doses of mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna); doses 28-days apart**

Three

*Immunocompromised may include people: who are receiving active treatment for their cancer; who have received an organ transplant; who have received an HCT within the last 2 years; who are taking medicines that suppress their immune system; who have advanced or untreated HIV; or who have other immunodeficiencies.

**National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines recommend 2 doses of an mRNA vaccine following a single dose of J&J.

Who is eligible for a booster?

All people 12 years and older who received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine primary series are eligible for a booster dose. Those 18 years and older who received the Johnson & Johnson or Moderna vaccine are also eligible for a booster.

  • If you got the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine: You should wait 5 months or more after your second (or third) dose to get your booster
  • If you got the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine: You should wait 5 months or more after your second  (or third) dose to get your booster
  • If you got the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine: You should get a booster dose 2 months after your first dose    

Booster choices

The CDC has approved that patients receiving a specific initial series are allowed to get an alternate vaccine as a booster.  For example, someone who had previously received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine series could receive a Moderna or Pfizer booster (and vice versa).  Although most recommend getting a booster with the same vaccine, getting another vaccine as your booster is also allowed.

Should I get a booster shot?

Boosters are an important way to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 and variants of the virus, such as Omicron. Talk with your clinical team about getting an additional dose if you meet any of the following criteria:

  1. Moderately to severely immunocompromised
  2. Received a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine series at least five months ago (>12 years of age for Pfizer, >18 for Moderna) 
  3. Received a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at least two months ago
     
Does my vaccine protect me against variants?

From what we currently know, based on studies done in the general population, the Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J vaccines help protect against major COVID-19 complications from the variants. They remain highly effective at preventing severe disease, hospitalization and death. 

It is important to recognize that no vaccine is 100 percent effective at preventing infection, so even if you are fully vaccinated, we recommend wearing masks, avoiding crowds and staying socially distant from those outside your household as extra precautions to help prevent exposures to COVID-19. This is particularly important for cancer patients, who may have less of a response to vaccines. If you develop symptoms after getting vaccinated, tell your care team and get tested for COVID-19.

We are continuing to monitor new variants and will provide additional information as it becomes available.
 

Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.
How long will my COVID-19 vaccine protect me?

We do not know, as this is still being researched. Recent studies for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have shown protection stayed high for months.  Data has suggested potential benefits of a third dose in the initial series, and a booster six months after the initial series for some populations of patients – particularly cancer patients with weaker immune systems. Longer-term follow-up studies are needed to determine how long immunity lasts in those with cancer. It isn’t clear how long booster doses can help lengthen protection.

The length of protection for cancer patients has not been thoroughly studied, but it is likely that responses will not be as robust. We recommend continuing to mask up, avoid crowds and stay socially distant from those outside your household as extra precautions to help prevent exposures to COVID-19.

What should I be doing?

SCCA strongly recommends continued vigilance for cancer patients, even those who are fully vaccinated. Cancer patients are at increased risk for COVID-19 complications and may not be as well protected by vaccines, so patients should continue to:

  • Wear masks,
  • Maintain social distancing,
  • Avoid crowds,
  • Get vaccinated and,
  • Tell your care team if you:
  • Have symptoms so you can get tested,
  • Were exposed to someone with COVID-10, or
  • Were diagnosed with the virus at another facility or at home (using an antigen test.)

It is very important that your caregivers, household members and other close contacts are vaccinated to ensure that you are protected.

Antigen A foreign substance, such as bacteria, that causes the body’s immune system to respond by making antibodies. Antibodies defend the body against antigens. Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.
Can I enroll in any research studies?
  • If you are an SCCA patient who is planning to get vaccinated, but have not yet received a dose, you may be eligible for a study. The study measures COVID-19 vaccine responses in patients who are within one year of autologous or allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT)  or CAR-T-cell therapy. Talk with your care team for more information.
  • If you are an SCCA patient who developed COVID-19, there are also studies. If you were to become positive, ask your care team if you are eligible for these trials.
Where can I find COVID-19 testing?

The Federal government has launched an online portal that will allow rapid-antigen COVID-19 tests to ship directly to households at no cost. Free at-home test kits can be ordered from the Federal COVID-19 testing program by visiting www.covidtests.gov

Rapid at-home tests may also be purchased from local retailers and pharmacies.

For information on when to self-test at home, visit King County Public Health’s COVID-19 self-testing webpage

Community testing locations are available by visiting the Washington State Department of Health COVID-19 testing location webpage.

General COVID-19 frequently asked questions

COVID-19 and cancer

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. Please see the CDC's webpage on COVID-19 and cancer for more information

Patients who are not in active treatment should also be cautious and follow widely distributed public health guidelines that are detailed below under “What can I do to keep myself, my family and friends safe?”

Bone marrow The soft, spongy material in the center of your bones that produces all your blood cells, such as white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Lymphoma Cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Cancer that begins in cells of the immune system. There are two basic categories of lymphomas. One is Hodgkin lymphoma, which is marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. The other category is non-Hodgkin lymphomas, which includes a large, diverse group of cancers of immune system cells. Non-Hodgkin lymphomas can be further divided into cancers that have an indolent (slow-growing) course and those that have an aggressive (fast-growing) course. These subtypes behave and respond to treatment differently. Both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas can occur in children and adults, and prognosis and treatment depend on the stage and the type of cancer.
Who is eligible for Evusheld?

We continue to prioritize our most immunocompromised patients as defined by the National Institutes of Health

  •  Active pre-transplant/HCT within one year, those with chronic GVHD or who are taking immunosuppressive medications for another indication. 
  • CAR T cell recipients.  
  • Hematologic malignancy patients on active therapy.  
  • Patients who are within 1 year of receiving B-cell depleting therapies.  
  • Patients receiving Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitors.  
  • Patients with severe combined immunodeficiencies.  
  • Lung transplant recipients.  
  • Patients who are within 1 year of receiving a solid-organ transplant (other than lung transplant).  
  • Solid-organ transplant recipients with recent treatment for acute rejection with T or B cell depleting agents.  
  • Patients with untreated HIV who have a CD4 T lymphocyte cell count <50 cells/mm³.  

Evusheld FAQ (Download PDF)

B cell A type of white blood cell that makes antibodies. B cells are part of the immune system and develop from stem cells in the bone marrow. Lymphocyte A type of immune cell that is made in the bone marrow and is found in the blood and in lymph tissue. The two main types of lymphocytes are B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes. A type of immune cell that is made in the bone marrow and is found in the blood and in lymph tissue. The two main types of lymphocytes (white blood cells) are B lymphocytes and T lymphocytes. B lymphocytes make antibodies, and T lymphocytes help kill tumor cells and help control immune responses. T cell A type of white blood cell. T cells are part of the immune system and develop from stem cells in the bone marrow. They help protect the body from infection and may help fight cancer. A type of white blood cell. T cells are part of the immune system and develop from stem cells in the bone marrow. They help protect the body from infection and may help fight cancer. Also called T lymphocyte and thymocyte.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

COVID-19 symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Chest tightness
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy nose or runny nose
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • New onset of diarrhea
  • Muscle aches and pains
Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.
What should SCCA patients do if they have symptoms?

If you have an appointment scheduled and have COVID-19 symptoms, please call your care team before coming to the clinic.

Knowing about symptoms before you come into the clinic helps us keep everyone safe.

Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.

COVID-19 and the flu

What is the difference between COVID-19 and the flu?

The flu and COVID-19 are both contagious illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2). The flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.

It may be hard to tell the difference between the flu and COVID-19 from symptoms alone because some of the symptoms are similar. You should get tested for COVID-19 to help confirm a diagnosis.

Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.

Keeping you safe

What is SCCA doing to protect patients?

SCCA is taking the following steps:

  • Screening everyone who enters the clinic for COVID-19 symptoms and providing COVID-19 testing when appropriate.
  • Providing procedure masks to all staff working in the clinic.
  • Providing face shields to all healthcare workers.
  • All patients, visitors, and staff in SCCA clinics must wear a surgical mask. If patients and visitors aren’t wearing one, a mask will be provided upon arrival. Please see CDC guidelines on how to protect yourself for more information.
  • Limiting the number of visitors. This includes:
  • Scheduling telehealth appointments for non-critical patient visits when possible.
  • Limiting the number of caregivers that patients can bring to their appointment (one caregiver; no children under 12). Our alliance partners, University of Washington Medical Center and Seattle Children's are also limiting visitors. Click on links for their updated policies.
  • Keeping all non-essential staff out of the clinic.
  • Postponing all patient education events, classes and volunteer opportunities. Some classes are available online on YouTube.
  • Increasing the frequency of cleaning high-touch surfaces such as door handles and elevator buttons.
  • Limiting hours at the Gift Shop in the South Lake Union clinic. Currently the Gift Shop is open Monday through Thursday from 10 am - 2 pm, based on staffing and volunteer availability.  We hope to increase hours as our volunteers return to campus. Shine located next to SCCA House is open by appointment only. Shoppers can also call Shine to buy something over the phone and arrange for curbside pickup. Call Shine at (206) 606-7560 for more information or to make an appointment.
Caregiver A person who gives care to people who need help, such as children, older people or patients who have chronic illnesses or disabilities. A person who gives care to people who need help taking care of themselves, such as children, older people or patients who have chronic illnesses or disabilities. Caregivers may be health professionals, family members, friends, social workers or members of the clergy. They may give care at home, in a hospital or in another health care setting. Screening Checking for disease when there are no symptoms. Because screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease Checking for disease when there are no symptoms. Because screening may find diseases at an early stage, there may be a better chance of curing the disease. Examples of cancer screening tests are the mammogram (for breast cancer), colonoscopy (for colon cancer) and Pap and HPV tests (for cervical cancer). Screening can also include a genetic test to check for a person’s risk of developing an inherited disease. Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.
Should I be worried about getting infected with COVID-19 at SCCA?

SCCA has extensive and thorough infection control procedures, and we are doing 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 staff safe. However, with highly contagious strains of the virus, full protection isn’t always possible.

Are SCCA staff vaccinated?

SCCA requires that all staff are vaccinated against COVID-19.

What can I do to keep myself, my family and friends safe?

The most important steps to take are:

  • Get vaccinated according to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines for your personal health situation.
  • Avoid going to gatherings with large numbers of people; follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wear a mask when you are out in public and cannot practice social distancing.
  • Wear a mask when in a health care setting, including SCCA clinics.
  • 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. Visit our document downloads page and click on Food, Nutrition and COVID-19 for more information.
  • 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.
  • Stay informed – check the CDC site regularly for new updates.

Screening and testing

What if I am COVID-19 positive and have an upcoming appointment at SCCA?

Tell your care team immediately. They will discuss any changes in your treatment and let you know what options are available for your visit. Please review the instructions for coming to the clinic with COVID-19 flyer.

How is SCCA screening patients for COVID-19?

All who enter SCCA clinics are screened upon entry COVID-19 symptoms. Every person will be given an I’ve been screened sticker. If you have a smartphone, you may complete your digital health screening. Anyone with symptoms will be given a procedure mask and evaluated in a separate area.

Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.
Is SCCA testing patients for COVID-19?

Due to limited availability of tests, we encourage you to find testing locations in your community by visiting the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 testing locations webpage. If you can’t find testing in your community, talk to your team to schedule a test at SCCA. We don’t currently have capacity to test family members/caregivers. 

Why should I get tested?

In addition to knowing which guidelines to follow, testing is important because many of the current treatment options available for cancer patients, such as monoclonal infusions and antiviral pills, require a test before you can get them. As a reminder, if you have cold or flu symptoms— even if you test negative for COVID-19—tell your team. They may want to reorganize your schedule. We offer testing to eligible patients by appointment only. If you are an SCCA patient with symptoms and think you need to be tested for COVID-19, please call your care team. 

Patients who come to the clinic for appointments are evaluated and if they need to be tested, it is done in an enclosed area away from other patients and family members. Due to limited supplies, we are not able to test caregivers at this time. 

Infusion An injection of medications or fluids into a vein over a period of time. Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.
How long does it take for results to come back?

We can get COVID-19 test results back within 24 to 72 hours.

I took an antigen test at home. What do I do now?

If you took a test at home, we recommend the following:

Antigen test result

If you have symptoms:

If you have been exposed and don’t have symptoms:

Negative (-)

Get a PCR test to confirm your negative result.

Get a PCR test to confirm your negative result.

Positive (+)

You have COVID-19.

  • Notify your care team.
  • Isolate at home.
  • Do not seek further testing unless directed by your team.

You have COVID-19.

  • Notify your care team.
  • Isolate at home.
  • Do not seek further testing unless directed by your team.
Antigen A foreign substance, such as bacteria, that causes the body’s immune system to respond by making antibodies. Antibodies defend the body against antigens. Polymerase chain reaction A laboratory method used to make many copies of a specific piece of DNA from a sample. It allows very small amounts of DNA to be amplified so they can be detected. A laboratory method used to make many copies of a specific piece of DNA from a sample that contains very tiny amounts of that DNA. Polymerase chain reaction allows these pieces of DNA to be amplified so they can be detected. Polymerase chain reaction may be used to look for certain changes in a gene or chromosome, which may help find and diagnose a genetic condition or a disease, such as cancer. It may also be used to look at pieces of the DNA of certain bacteria, viruses or other microorganisms to help diagnose an infection. Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.
What do I do if I tested positive for COVID-19?

Tell your care team immediately. They will discuss any changes in your treatment, as well as COVID-19 treatment options that may be available to you.

What do I do if I tested negative for COVID but have respiratory virus symptoms?

Tell your care team before your visit so they can advise you about the best time to come for your visit or if they want you to get additional testing.

Masks

Should I wear a mask in the clinic?

Yes. In line with CDC guidance, all patients, visitors, and staff in SCCA clinics must wear a mask. If you’re coming for an appointment, please wear a mask. If someone comes with you, they should wear one, too. A mask will be provided to those who aren’t wearing one.

By covering your mouth and nose, you are less likely to spread the virus when you are not showing symptoms (asymptomatic) or have early symptoms.

Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.
Should I wear a mask in public?

Washington state requires people to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces such as stores, offices and restaurants and at large outdoor events with 500 or more attendees. This applies to all people over the age of five, regardless of vaccination status.

You do not need to wear a mask:

  • In your home when you are only with people in your household.
  • When you are alone in your car.
  • When you are outdoors and people are more than six feet apart.

For exceptions and other information, visit Washington state’s coronavirus response website.

How do I wear a mask?

To put on a mask:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water or hand gel (if soap and water aren’t available).
  • Without touching the front of your face covering, stretch the bands around your ears or secure the ties around your head (depending on the type of face covering you have).
  • Cover the area from the bridge of your nose to under your chin.
  • Fit the mask snugly but comfortably against the side of your face.
  • Make sure you can breathe without restriction.
  • Wash your hands.

To remove your mask:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water or hand gel (if soap and water aren’t available).
  • Untie the ties from your head or remove the bands from your ears.
  • Remove the mask by the straps. Do not touch the front or inside of the mask (the part over your nose and mouth). It may be contaminated from your breathing, coughing or sneezing. If you touch the mask, wash your hands.
  • Wash your hands.

Important tips:

  • Wash your hands each time you put on and take off your mask.
  • Avoid touching the front of your mask while you’re wearing it. If you do, wash your hands.
  • Do NOT pull the mask down to expose your nose or mouth. Adjust the mask using the ties on your head or cords around your ears.

Daily activities and going out

Is it safe to go out in public?

In general, the closer you are to others and the longer the time you are with them, the higher the risk of spreading COVID-19. If you decide to go out in public, protect yourself by following the guidelines under "What can I do to keep myself, my family and friends safe?"

Is it safe to do things like go to work, the grocery store, restaurants, and special events? What about traveling?

Visit the CDC’s webpage Daily Activities and Going Out for information on each of these topics and more.

What can I do after I am fully vaccinated? Do I still need to protect myself and others?

If it has been two weeks since you received your second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or your single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you are considered “fully vaccinated”. However, some consider that people are only fully vaccinated after they have received a booster.  You are more protected from highly transmissible strains if you are fully boosted, so consider this when reviewing the guidelines below.

Cancer patients

Includes fully vaccinated SCCA patients who:

  • Have not yet started treatment
  • Are in active treatment
  • Have recently completed treatment
  • Have weakened immune symptoms, for example, allogeneic and autologous transplant patients

Guidance for cancer patients

These patients should remain cautious. Although you may hear that others may get together after getting vaccinated, people with cancer are more vulnerable. We don’t know how well the vaccines work in people with cancer, particularly those who are on active treatment.
Until we know more about the effectiveness of vaccines in cancer patients, fully vaccinated people with cancer should continue to:

  • Wear a well-fitted mask and practicing physical distancing when in public.
  • Wear masks, practice physical distancing and follow other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people outside of your household.
  • Avoid in-person gatherings with those outside your household.
  • Avoid airline travel. 
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Symptom A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. A physical or mental problem that a person experiences that may indicate a disease or condition. Symptoms cannot be seen and do not show up on medical tests. Some examples of symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea and pain.

How you can help