This article was originally published here
Oncol Res Treat. 2021 May 3:1-6. doi: 10.1159/000515828. Online ahead of print.
Treatment of cancer patients has become challenging when large parts of hospital services need to be shut down as a consequence of a local COVID-19 outbreak that requires rapid containment measures, in conjunction with the shifting of priorities to vital services. Reports providing conceptual frameworks and first experiences on how to maintain a clinical hematology/oncology service during the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic are scarce. Here, we report our first 8 weeks of experience after implementing a procedural plan at a hematology/oncology unit with its associated cancer center at a large academic teaching hospital in Germany. By strictly separating team workflows and implementing vigorous testing for SARS-CoV-2 infections for all patients and staff members irrespective of clinical symptoms, we were successful in maintaining a comprehensive hematology/oncology service to allow for the continuation of treatment for our patients. Notably, this was achieved without introducing or further transmitting SARS-CoV-2 infections within the unit and the entire center. Although challenging, our approach appears safe and feasible and may help others to set up or optimize their procedures for cancer treatment or for other exceedingly vulnerable patient cohorts.