Our transplant patients have voiced concerns and questions surrounding the risk of COVID-19. Patient safety is our top priority. Here are some frequently asked questions that we have received from transplant patients and answers related to coronavirus (COVID 19) and the health and safety of our community. When reading this FAQ, please note that coronavirus and COVID-19 are used interchangeably. If you have any further questions or concerns, please reach out to your transplant care team.
You may visit the following links to websites for updated information as well for additional transplant related COVID-10 questions and concerns:
American Society of Transplantation
Centers for Disease Control
For more information on COVID-19 and steps Barnes-Jewish Hospital is taking, please visit BJC HealthCare.
> Do I need to wear a mask outside?
We recommend following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines of wearing cloth face coverings in public settings.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
- Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities such as medications.
- Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- The cloth face cover is meant to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus but do not know it from spreading the virus to others.
- Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
- It is critical to continue to keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
- Please visit the CDC website for instructions on how to make a homemade mask.
> Do I need to get labs right now?
In most instances we recommend continuing to get scheduled lab work (monthly, quarterly, etc.). This includes antibody testing.
- You should contact your local lab for hours of operation as many have reduced hours or are providing scheduled appointments to reduce crowds, number of patients and wait times. If you have further questions/concerns, contact your transplant coordinator.
- Wear a mask, practice social distancing and stay 6 feet away from everyone if able. Do not touch your face, practice good hand hygiene before and after your labs are drawn.
- If during this unprecedented time and with “stay at home” orders in place, you do not feel comfortable with going to the lab to complete your antibody screening, you could delay until the “stay at home “order is lifted. At which point, you should continue to have labs drawn on a monthly basis.
> Is it safe for me to cancel my office appointment?
Barnes-Jewish Hospital is evaluating patients for the risk of COVID-19 prior to all scheduled appointments. If the suspicion is high with symptoms, those patients are being asked to stay home. If someone arrives for an appointment exhibiting signs of the virus, that individual will be immediately isolated away from other patients. Additional protective measures may be instituted as the outbreak progresses, including delaying routine visits for well transplant visits. We are reviewing our clinic schedules on an ongoing basis. Cancellation of office appointments should be at the discretion of you and your provider. Alternate appointments such as telehealth visits may be utilized. If your provider feels you need to come in person for your office appointment, you will be called and they will ask you COVID-19 screening questions a day or 2 before your appointment.
> Can I go to the grocery store?
All state and local “stay at home” orders should be followed. You should only leave your home for essential reasons such as groceries, pharmacy, or necessary doctor appointments. In addition, when leaving your home, practice social distancing (at least 6 feet) and avoid crowds of 10 or more. Remember to use a cloth covering over your nose and mouth per the CDC guidelines.
When possible, use delivery services for essential items to avoid going out into the public.
> Can I order things from China-rugs etc.?
There is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and how it spreads. The coronaviruses are thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Although the virus can survive for a short period on some surfaces, it is unlikely to be spread from products or packaging that are shipped. Currently there is no evidence to support the spread of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object, like a packaging container, that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. As with all items delivered to your home, wipe them down with sanitizing wipes and wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after handling packages.
> Can my husband or wife have a doctor’s note from you?
Physician notes will not be written for anyone not under the care of the transplant team. Spouses/caregivers should adhere to standard guidelines (frequent hand washing, avoiding illness, etc.). If a caregiver or family member have individual health concerns or issues, they should contact their primary care doctor or the specialist overseeing their care.
> Should I continue to work? If so, can I receive a note to provide to my employer?
Places of employment should adhere to CDC recommendations, which include providing other work environments, work from home options or other arrangements, if possible. You should speak with your employer directly to discuss working from home. Stay home if you can. We cannot provide mandates to employers. Upon request, we can provide a note for your employer encouraging work from home options for you.
> Do I need to quarantine myself from the family?
Self-quarantine from “same household” family members should be done if you are ill or if you or your family member(s) are experiencing symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell and/or taste, muscle aches, and fatigue. The best way to prevent spread is by disinfecting frequently used surfaces, frequent hand washing (for 20 seconds or more), and the use of alcohol based (60% or greater) sanitizer. Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. It is not advised to allow others into your home that do not normally reside with you.
> If I am several years out from transplant, should I wear a mask?
Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread virus. Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
- Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
- Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children (under age 2), anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
- Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
- Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
> My significant other works as an essential employee, what should be done?
- Continue to follow guidelines to avoid disease spread — frequent hand washing (at least 20 seconds), avoid touching your face, and use of hand sanitizer (60% or greater alcohol content).
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If your significant other has a known exposure or develops symptoms, he/should self-quarantine and follow up with their employee regarding testing/next steps.
> Can I play golf by myself?
All state and local “stay at home” orders should be followed. In addition, social distancing (at least 6 feet) and avoiding crowds of 10 or more should be followed.