- Mandatory measures have been carried out at the National Cancer Center in China:
- Multiple on-site temperature tests were be performed (entrances of hospital, outpatient clinic, wards);
- Online appointments were offered. If not doable, essential personal protective measures were implemented (wearing mask, bringing disinfectant);
- For patients preparing to be admitted, symptoms that are potentially associated with COVID-19 (cough, fever) were routinely recorded and mandatory blood tests and scan of the lungs were performed. COVID-19 virus nucleic acid test was carried out for patients with suspected pneumonia on scan;
- Most of anticancer drugs conventionally administered through infusion were changed for their oral form if available.
- From February 12 to March 2, 2020, the department of Oncology received 2944 patients for clinic consultation and treatment in wards (2795 outpatients, 149 inpatients). 27 patients showed radiologic manifestation of inflammatory changes. They were tested and turned out negative. Therefore, the authors suggested that these measures may be of great value in preventing transmission.
- While this strategy makes sense and can be a reasonable triage approach, there are a couple of points to mention: the lack of a comparative cohort, the lack of follow up for the same population considering the incubation periods and finally the lack of testing for asymptomatic patients who can potentially be silent carriers.
Wang Z., Wang J., He J. (April 1, 2020). Active and Effective Measures for the Care of Patients With Cancer During the COVID-19 Spread in China. JAMA Oncology. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.1198. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/2763961