While most of the provinces are beginning to lift lockdown, the federal government still considers COVID-19 to be a serious health threat and recommends that Canadians carefully follow all provincial recommendations related to lockdown lifting.
As a person living with cancer whose immune system is weakened, you must stay as vigilant as you were during lockdown. You should encourage your loved ones and anyone with whom you are in contact to do the same, even as lockdown is lifted. Keeping up preventive measures is key: wash your hands often; avoid any direct contact with people with acute respiratory infections; don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth without washing your hands first; cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing; and clean household surfaces, such as bathrooms, kitchens, dinner tables and desks, with chlorine- or alcohol-based disinfectants.
It is also strongly recommended that you wear a mask when outside the house or having visitors.
As a vulnerable person, keep non-essential trips to a minimum. If you do go out, don’t forget that physical distancing is as important outdoors as it is indoors. Taking public transportation is not recommended.
If you are undergoing cancer treatment, it is recommended that you limit home visits, avoid visits from anyone with symptoms, and do not have contact with vulnerable people, such as the elderly or those with chronic illness. Do not hug or shake hands with your visitors, etc.
If your spouse is working, they can ask their employer if working from home is an option.
All provinces are seeing increased access to diagnostic tests and various other cancer-related tests and treatments. All necessary precautions are being taken to protect patients who need to go to the hospital for consultations, treatments or procedures. Don’t forget to check your hospital’s website before your appointment to find out if you are allowed to bring someone with you.
It is not recommended that you modify, change or stop any cancer treatments. If you are unsure, talk to your healthcare team.
Is it possible to become re-infected with COVID-19?
A few bcases have been reported of the same person becoming infected for a second time. The second infections seem to be less aggressive and therefore, less severe than the initial ones. This is good news, as it suggests that the immune system is capable of developing some amount of defense to the virus in case of re-infection. This is also why scientists are conducting research into plasma transfusions from patients who have contracted and recovered from COVID-19 to currently infected patients. The theory is that if the recovered patient’s plasma contains neutralizing antibodies (antibodies that can fight the virus), the infected patient who receives the transfusion could limit the spread of the infection within their body by producing more of those antibodies. There is still much research to be done to understand how our bodies defend against COVID-19.