Carbone and COVID-19: A Letter from Director Howard Bailey
The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has upended so many things in our daily lives. While the UW Carbone Cancer Center remains operational, it's clear that things are looking a bit different around here these days. While the specifics are changing daily, I wanted to provide a short update about how our clinical and research work has been impacted by COVID-19 - and how we are proceeding.
When it comes to cancer treatment, we remain committed to providing the highest level of care and compassion to our cancer patients. However, we know that the best way to prevent transmission of COVID-19 is to limit our exposure to other people. Because of this, we are limiting how often and how long our patients are in our facilities. All patients with newly diagnosed or active cancer are undergoing treatments as before with modifications to limit their exposure to people. Patients without active cancer issues are being followed via telehealth (phone/video). We know that cancer is difficult enough during normal times, and the added anxiety and stress caused by COVID-19 is a real challenge. Please know that we are doing everything in our power to provide the best care possible, while prioritizing your safety - and the safety of our staff.
We have heard time and time again from our amazing clinical staff throughout UW Health and UW Carbone that they remain committed to what they love doing - taking care of people with cancer. We acknowledge the increased risk our on-site health care workers are taking on by providing care during a pandemic, and I hope you will join me in thanking these individuals who are going above and beyond.
UW Carbone’s cancer research operations have also seen changes in recent weeks. While research has not stopped, it has slowed down to better protect our staff. Vital laboratory-based cancer research is able to continue in many labs as long as processes are in place to adhere to social distancing. Rather than staff being here daily, researchers are physically here infrequently to perform only those procedures that can’t be done remotely. This translates to a person being in the lab alone for a few hours each week. Clinical cancer research is also continuing in a limited fashion, focusing on our studies offering therapies not otherwise available. Clinical research staff are primarily working from home and communicating with patients via telehealth.
In addition, many UW Carbone members from around campus have shifted their research to aid in the fight against COVID-19. Going forward, we are hopeful that contributions from UW Carbone members are valuable in getting this current pandemic under control, as well as helping to prevent the next one.
As always, we are incredibly grateful for you - our patients, our survivors, families, friends and many more - and will do our best to keep you updated in the coming weeks and months. Together, we will get through this.
Howard H. Bailey, MD
Andy and Susan North Professor of Cancer Research
Professor of Medicine and Obstetrics & Gynecology
Director, University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center
Associate Dean of Oncology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
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Date Published: 04/08/2020