MD Anderson implements proactive measures due to 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
MD Anderson News Release April 02, 2020
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is committed to keeping our patients, our workforce members and our community safe throughout the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. As part of our commitment, the institution is taking additional proactive measures to prevent the introduction or spread of COVID-19 at any of our campuses.
MD Anderson is:
- Requiring quarantine for new patients traveling from outside of Texas. Patients traveling from any state outside of Texas will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days before their appointment. The quarantine may occur at patients’ homes, with daily monitoring by MD Anderson staff. New patients who have been approved to travel to MD Anderson will be provided an authorization letter for travel and will be tested at an MD Anderson testing site for COVID-19, prior to their first appointment.
- Determining appropriate care options for current, out-of-state patients. Clinical teams are working with current, out-of-state patients to determine appropriate options for care, whether that means delaying appointments at MD Anderson, conducting virtual visits, coordinating local care or, if necessary, traveling to MD Anderson for appointments and treatment. MD Anderson will try to reduce the number of visits to Houston to keep patients safe.
- Recommending self-isolation. We recommend all patients and their families self-isolate as much as possible for their protection.
- Restricting Visitors. No visitors are allowed on campus until further notice, with limited exceptions.
- Restricting entry points and screening. Entry points across the institution are limited. All patients, visitors and employees will be screened upon entry. Screening includes questions specific to symptoms, travel and exposure.
- Distributing masks. All patients, visitors with exceptions, contractors and patient-facing employees on clinical campuses will be provided a face mask for added protection.
- Postponing non-urgent appointments. We will be postponing non-urgent outpatient visits, elective procedures and non-emergent screening imaging studies.
- Restricting incoming business or community visitors to our campuses. Campus visitors who are not caregivers and do not have mission-critical business with MD Anderson are restricted from campus until further notice.
- Closing café seating areas. We have closed all café seating areas to comply with CDC guidelines. Our cafés will be limited to take-out food only.
- Making changes to our workforce. Employees whose presence on campus is not deemed essential will be asked to work remotely, as determined by local managers.
- Limiting work meetings and social gatherings. Campus events intended for large audiences are canceled or postponed. Groups and meetings are limited to no more five people with a minimum of six feet of distance between participants.
- Suspending laboratory research. All laboratory research activities, except those deemed as essential, are being suspended.
- Modifying clinical research. Trials that cannot use remote methods of interaction are being suspended. Exceptions are for trials with curative intent or where the trial is needed for life prolonging or life-saving opportunity over current standard of care options, or when there are no standard of care options.
- Canceling all business travel, domestic and international. Travel restrictions are in place through April 29. The institution will monitor closely and re-evaluate whether an extension is needed.
- Registering all personal travel. All employees are now required to report all personal travel for themselves and anyone in their household outside of our eight-county area. The counties are Harris, Galveston, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Waller, Montgomery, Liberty and Chambers. Employees who have had recent travel to a high-risk area must obtain clearance to return to work by Employee Health. Workforce members who choose to travel internationally must self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Encouraging use of institutional Skype, WebEx and other remote participation tools to conduct meetings, when possible.
- Canceling all volunteer shifts. All MD Anderson volunteer shifts are canceled until further notice.
- Shifting classes to remote learning. MD Anderson’s UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and School of Health Professions transitioned to remote learning and will be continuing their classes in an online or virtual fashion until further notice.
“Our cancer patients are uniquely vulnerable to coronavirus. For this reason, we are committing to increased workforce precautions,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “By limiting our exposure to known and probable risks associated with the spread of COVID-19, namely travel-related exposure and large gatherings, we hope to contribute to our nation’s containment of this disease.”
For the latest information on our COVID-19 precautions, please visit www.MDAnderson.org/coronavirus.