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Clin Infect Dis ; 73(9): e3013-e3018, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501022


BACKGROUND: New York City (NYC) experienced a surge of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in March and April 2020. Since then, universal polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based surveillance testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) measures are in wide use in procedural settings. There is limited published experience on the utility and sustainability of PCR-based surveillance testing in areas with receding and consistently low community COVID-19 rates. METHODS: The study was conducted at a tertiary care cancer center in NYC from 22 March to 22 August 2020. Asymptomatic patients underwent severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing before surgeries, interventional radiology procedures, and endoscopy. Contact tracing in procedural areas was done if a patient with an initial negative screen retested positive within 48 hours of the procedure. RESULTS: From March 22 until August 22, 2020, 11 540 unique patients underwent 14 233 tests before surgeries or procedures at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Overall, 65 patients were positive, with a peak rate of 4.3% that fell below 0.3% after April 2020. Among the 65 positive cases, 3 were presymptomatic and 38 were asymptomatic. Among asymptomatic test-positive patients, 76% had PCR cycle threshold >30 at first detection. Five patients tested newly positive in the immediate postoperative period, exposing 82 employees with 1 case of probable transmission (1.2%). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection identified on preprocedural surveillance was low in our study, which was conducted in an area with limited community spread at the later stage of the study. Universal PPE is protective in procedural settings. Optimal and flexible diagnostic strategies are needed to accomplish and sustain the goals of comprehensive preprocedure surveillance testing.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , New York City/epidemiology , Personal Protective Equipment , Policy
JCO Oncol Pract ; 17(9): e1278-e1285, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262529


PURPOSE: Oncology patients are vulnerable to adverse outcomes associated with COVID-19, and clinical deterioration must be identified early. Several institutions launched remote patient monitoring programs (RPMPs) to care for patients with COVID-19. We describe patients' perspectives on a COVID-19 RPMP at a National Comprehensive Cancer Center. METHODS: Patients who tested positive for COVID-19 were eligible. Enrolled patients received a daily electronic COVID-19 symptom assessment, and a subset of high-risk patients also received a pulse oximeter. Monitoring was provided by a centralized team and was discontinued 14 days after a patient's positive test result and following 3 days without worsening symptoms. Patients who completed at least one assessment and exited the program were sent a patient engagement survey to evaluate the patient's experience with digital monitoring for COVID-19. RESULTS: The survey was distributed to 491 patients, and 257 responded (52% completion rate). The net promoter score was 85%. Most patients agreed that the RPMP was worthwhile, enabled better management of their COVID-19 symptoms, made them feel more connected to their healthcare team, and helped prevent emergency room visits. Identified themes regarding patient-perceived value of a RPMP included (1) security: a clinical safety net; (2) connection: a link to their clinical team during a period of isolation; and (3) empowerment: an education on the virus and symptom management. CONCLUSION: RPMPs are perceived to be of value to oncology patients with COVID-19. Policymakers should consider how these programs can be reimbursed to keep vulnerable patients at home and out of the acute care setting.

COVID-19 , Neoplasms , Humans , Medical Oncology , Monitoring, Physiologic , Neoplasms/therapy , SARS-CoV-2
J Natl Cancer Inst ; 113(7): 820-822, 2021 07 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-714110


The clinical spectrum of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is still not fully understood. Cancer patients are uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19, and many have been or will be infected. Although an unfortunate minority will die from the infection, most will recover. This poses a challenge in which clinicians must weigh the benefits of initiation or resumption of antineoplastic therapy against the risks that antineoplastic treatment may worsen outcomes related to COVID-19 infection. A recent study of 423 patients at our institution found that patients in active cancer treatment who develop COVID-19 infection did not fare any worse than other hospitalized patients, yet guidance as to who requires testing prior to antineoplastic therapy and when to resume therapy post-COVID-19 diagnosis remains unknown. Our institution, therefore, commissioned a task force to help create guidelines for treating oncologists using available published literature. The task force focused on the ambulatory care testing guidelines only, because all inpatients receiving antineoplastic therapy are tested for COVID-19 prior to hospital admission. The guidelines focus solely on the safety and well-being of the individual patient undergoing antineoplastic therapy and are not designed to address infection control issues.

Antineoplastic Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19 Testing/standards , COVID-19/diagnosis , Neoplasms/drug therapy , Outpatients/statistics & numerical data , Practice Guidelines as Topic/standards , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Neoplasms/diagnosis , Neoplasms/virology