COVID-19 Updates

Announcements

COVID-19 update:  Omicron variant, Evusheld and Paxlovid – 12/23/2021

Evusheld:  New medication approved for prevention of COVID-19 in certain adults and children

12/08/2021:  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the emergency use of the unapproved product EVUSHELDTM (tixagevimab co-packaged with cilgavimab) for the pre-exposure prophylaxis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in adults.  Evusheld is not a vaccine. It blocks the virus’s attachment to and entry into human cells. It is intended for people who are at high risk of severe disease and may not mount a strong immune response from the COVID-19 vaccine and for those who cannot be vaccinated.

Would I be eligible to receive Evusheld?

Criteria for Evusheld includes:

Patients who are not currently infected with COVID-19 and had not had a known recent exposure to an individual infected with COVID-19

AND

Patients who have moderate to severe immune compromise due to a medical condition or receipt of immunosuppressive medications or treatments

AND may not mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccination

OR

Patients for whom COVID-19 vaccine is not recommended due to a history of severe adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine and/or component in the COVID-19 vaccine.

Where can I receive the Evusheld treatment?

Each state will be allocated an amount of the EUA drug, which will then be distributed by county and health department.  As of today, Oregon Health Authority is working with the federal government on supply and access for those who need it. Click for more information.

 

Paxlovid: Oral anti-viral for Treatment of COVID-19

12/22/2021:  FDA issued an emergency use authorization for Pfizer’s Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir tablets and ritonavir tablets, co-packaged for oral use) for the treatment of mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kilograms or about 88 pounds) with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 testing, and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death.

Another oral anti-viral is expected to receive EUA approval in the next few weeks.  Click for more information.

 

Omicron (B.1.1.529):  Newly identified variant of COVID-19 

As of 12/20/2021, Omicron has been detected in most states and territories and is rapidly increasing as the cause of COVID-19 infections.

What we know now is that the Omicron variant appears to spread more easily that original COVID-19 virus and can be spread even in those vaccinated or are asymptomatic.

Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations and death due to infection with the Omicron variant.  However, breakthrough infections are likely to occur.   Scientists continue to gather and analyze data to answer important questions about Omicron variant.

We have the tools to fight Omicron!

Vaccines remain the best health measure to protect against COVID-19, slow transmission and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging.

Masks offer protection against all variants.

Testing can tell you if you are currently infected with COVID-19.  For more information on the omicron variant, click here.

 

COVID-19 Booster or Vaccine:

You can protect yourself against all COVID-19 variants by getting vaccinated and getting a booster if you are eligible. Sites around the state are accommodating large numbers of people seeking vaccinations.

These “high-volume” sites offer all three COVID-19 vaccines, boosters and pediatric doses.

There is no cost and you do not need an appointment.

Vaccines are safe and effective. Insurance is not required. If you cannot access a high-volume site, you can:

  • Reach out to your doctors office;
  • Text ORCOVID to 898211 (English and Spanish) or email ORCOVID@211info.org (language help available);
  • Call 211 or 1-866-698-6155, toll-free, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, including holidays; or
  • Search for a site or provider near you on the Get Vaccinated Oregon locator map or follow this link for a list of vaccination sites.

 

We Hope You Enjoy Holiday Traditions and Protect your loved ones. 

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Update – Additional Dose for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People – August 17, 2021:

CDC now recommends that people whose immune systems are compromised (moderately to severely) should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, after the initial 2 doses (at least 28 days after second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine).  Click for more information.

Mask Policy Update – June 30, 2021:

In effort to further promote an environment of healing and wellness along with recommendations from Oregon Health Authority and the CDC, all patients and guests will need to continue following masking and physical distance precautions while receiving care at Oregon Oncology Specialists. The recovery order issued by Governor Kate Brown that lifted the mask mandates does not apply to health care facilities. In the health care settings, masks will be required at all times.

We are happy to provide our patients and guests with a surgical grade mask should you not have one or if the one you have becomes soiled or malfunctions.

Additionally, as the masking mandates are lifted outside of healthcare facilities, such as retailers, offices, etc., it is a personal choice to continue to wear a mask or not. Unmasking is designed for individuals who are otherwise healthy. We encourage individuals to continue to be cautious and aware.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office at 503-561-6444 or covidresponse@orcancer.com.

Our visitor policy (see below, updated July 14, 2020, remains unchanged)

Visitor Policy – Updated July 14, 2020:

Office Visits:  We are allowing one visitor to accompany you to your office visits.  Visitors must complete a screening questionnaire, wear a mask for the duration of their time in the clinic and perform hand hygiene.

Treatments:  Cancer patients are at a higher risk for serious complications from all types of illnesses, including COVID-19. To protect our patients, providers and staff, increased visitor restrictions are necessary. For everyone’s health and safety and in compliance with current healthcare guidelines, except as provided below, visitors will not be allowed to accompany patients to the treatment area.

One visitor will be allowed to accompany patients in the following circumstances:

  • Minors under age 18
  • Patients requiring assistance with activities of daily living such as:
    • Unable to ambulate to restroom independently
    • Patients with disruptive behavior, in which a family member is key to their care
    • Patients who have altered mental status or developmental delays (where caregiver provides safety)
  • Visitor must complete screening questionnaire, perform hand hygiene and wear a mask for the duration of their time in the clinic.

We understand how important it is to have support during your visits. We encourage using Facetime or another video/audio chat program during your visit. Let us know if we can support you in making an electronic connection with your support person.

We appreciate your understanding during these unprecedented times. Our goal is to keep our patients, community, and staff as safe as possible.  Please feel free to call us at anytime (503-561-6444) with questions or concerns or see the following links for more information.

COVID-19 vaccine and immunocompromised patients:

The CDC has recommended that individuals receive COVID-19 vaccine unless otherwise contraindicated, though data not currently available to establish safety and efficacy of vaccine in these groups.  They recommend the individual should be counseled about unknown vaccine safety and efficacy, potential for reduced immune response, and the need to continue to follow all current guidance to protect against COVID-19 (including physical distancing masking, hand hygiene, not being around sick contacts, and prompt reporting of symptoms).

Patients diagnosed with cancer, patients who are on chemotherapy and/or immunotherapy were not included in the COVID-19 vaccine trials, therefore we do not have complete data to inform us about potential risks or level of efficacy both in the short term and long term.

Recommendations:
  • The physicians at OOS are recommending our patients receive the COVID vaccine, when available, including patients on treatment.
  • The physicians at OOS also recommend our patients receive the Flu shot annually.
  • The physicians at OOS recommend you avoid live vaccines and discuss with your physician prior to receiving a vaccine if you have questions.
  • For transplant patients, the physicians at OOS follow the recommendations and vaccination schedule provided by OHSU or the transplant center.
Reference Links Regarding COVID-19 Vaccines:

Virtual Visit Options

If you are feeling unwell or have reservations about coming into the office for a visit, you may be able to connect with your provider remotely (via video/audio health options).  If you are interested in finding out more, please call us our office (503-561-6444) and ask to speak with scheduling to see if this this option is available.

 

Safety Measures to Protect You

To Our Patients,

The health and safety of our patients and staff is a top priority at Oregon Oncology Specialists. With growing concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to take a moment to share with you the additional precautions we are taking to help put your mind at ease.

Our daily cleaning procedures are already very thorough, but given the evolving situation, we are elevating our cleaning practices to ensure all proper precautions are being taken. Here are the additional health & hygiene practices we are implementing to keep our clinics clean and safe:

  • We have increased cleaning protocols related to high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, counter-tops, patient refreshment station, faucets and more.
  • We have placed hand sanitizer throughout the clinics for patients and staff.

 

Best Practices For Keeping Yourself Healthy

  • Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds, particularly after using the restroom, before and after eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Disinfect hands frequently using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and carry disinfectant with you for easy use.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth throughout the day and cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then discard the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid close contact including shaking hands, kissing and hugging.

If you are sick or feeling unwell, please give us a call (503-561-6444 – Salem or 503-435-6590 – McMinnville) and we will help you get rescheduled. In addition, if you have traveled to any of the countries where there are outbreaks of the virus, please follow guidance on the CDC website.

We are committed to keeping our clinics healthy and maintaining a safe and welcoming environment. We are also closely monitoring updates from the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization regarding COVID-19. Thank you for being a valued patient.