According to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center 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?”
Evusheld is a medicine given to certain people to prevent COVID-19 infection before they have been exposed to the virus. It is a combination of antibodies called tixagevimab and cilgavimab. It is not for people who already have COVID-19 or those who have a recent known close contact with someone who has COVID-19. It is not a substitute for getting vaccinated and boosted.
In immunocompromised people, Evusheld may help protect against COVID-19 for about 6 months.
We continue to prioritize our most immunocompromised patients as defined by the National Institutes of Health:
If you think you might be eligible, talk with your care team.
Paxlovid is a medicine given to treat people with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are not in the hospital. It is used to reduce the risk of being hospitalized or dying in people who are at high risk. Paxlovid is a combination of antivirals called nirmatrelvir and ritonavir. It is not a substitute for getting vaccinated and boosted.
We continue to prioritize Paxlovid for patients who need it most. To be eligible for Paxlovid, you must:
If you have symptoms that could be from COVID-19, get tested as soon as possible. Paxlovid may be an option for you — but only if you test positive and can start the medicine within five days of symptom onset.
If you think you might be eligible, talk with your care team or your primary care provider.
There may be some drug interactions that need to be reviewed prior to prescribing Paxlovid.
COVID-19 symptoms include:
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.
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.
Fred Hutch is taking the following steps:
Our gift shop is temporarily closed due to the construction of our new South Lake Union clinic building. We look forward to seeing you in our new gift shop in the spring of 2023.
You can visit Shine, our retail store, at 207 Pontius Ave. N., to find apparel, jewelry, books, housewares, games, oncology items and specialty skin care products. Shine is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. All oncology fittings require an appointment. Please call 206.606.7560 or email email@example.com. A free shuttle is available from the South Lake Union clinic Monday-Friday.
Fred Hutch 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.
Fred Hutch requires that all staff are vaccinated against COVID-19.
The most important steps to take are:
Tell your care team immediately – it is best to inform them before you visit the clinic. They will let you know what options are available for your visit.
All who enter Fred Hutch clinics are screened for COVID-19 symptoms. Every person will be given an I’ve been screened sticker. Anyone with symptoms will be given a procedure mask and evaluated during their appointment.
We encourage you to find testing locations in your community by visiting the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 testing locations webpage.
The COVID-19 testing area on our South Lake Union campus has closed due to construction. If you are a Fred Hutch patient with symptoms and think you need to be tested for COVID-19, please complete a home test or seek out a community testing option (details below.) You can also call your care team, and they can help you find the best option.
Order free, rapid at-home antigen tests from the Washington State Department of Health at www.sayyescovidhometest.org. You can also buy rapid at-home tests at local stores and pharmacies.
Antigen tests provide rapid results — typically in less than 30 minutes. Although they are less accurate than PCR tests, at-home antigen tests can be a helpful measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Learn when to self-test at home from King County Public Health’s COVID-19 self-testing webpage and CDC’s guidelines for self-testing.
Find a COVID-19 testing site from the Washington State Department of Health.
In addition to knowing which guidelines to follow, testing is important because many of the current treatment options 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, tell your care team — even if you test negative for COVID-19. They may want to change your treatment schedule
If you took a test because you have symptoms or because you have been exposed but don’t have symptoms, here’s what to do.
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.
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.
Yes. In line with CDC guidance, all patients, visitors and staff in Fred Hutch clinics must wear a mask. If you’re coming for an appointment, please wear a mask. If someone comes with you, they must 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.
In Washington state, masks are no longer required in most public places. However, health care facilities and businesses may choose to continue requiring masks.
Masks are still a good way to help limit the spread of COVID-19. CDC continues to recommend masks in some settings and for some people. In particular, CDC recommends masks for people who are at high risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, including people with cancer, if the level of COVID-19 in their community is medium or high. Learn more on the CDC website.
To put on a mask:
To remove your mask:
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?"
Visit the CDC's webpage, How to Protect Yourself & Others, for information on each of these topics and more.
Some authorities consider you fully vaccinated right after vaccination or within two weeks after the last dose in your primary series, depending on the vaccine maker. However, you are best protected from highly transmissible strains if you are fully boosted. CDC considers you up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines if you have had all doses in your primary series and all boosters you are eligible for.
If you are a cancer patient, we recommend you remain cautious, even if you are fully vaccinated or up to date. This includes people who:
Although you may hear that others are gathering 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:
Blood supply in the region is low due to cancellations of blood drives and COVID-related closures of schools, businesses and events. A healthy blood supply is vital to cancer treatment. If you are healthy and able, please consider donating blood or spreading the word about our current need. Find out more about donating blood at Bloodworks Northwest.