Duke Cancer Centers’ Precautions Put Safety First for Patients and Staff

By Bryan Roth
June 16, 2020
If you’re coming to one of our hospitals or cancer centers, Duke is taking extra precautions to keep you safe.

Your health and safety, along with the health and safety of our staff, remain our top priorities. If you’re being treated for cancer, you may be concerned about being at increased risk for COVID-19. Having a compromised immune system can make you more susceptible to the virus, but doesn’t mean you should delay your care. Doing so could put you at greater risk for long-term problems, said Dr. Edwin Alyea III, MD, a medical oncologist at Duke Health.

Here are the precautions in place at all Duke Health cancer centers, hospitals, and clinics that keep you safe.

Safety Precautions in Place

If you’re coming to one of our hospitals or cancer centers, the following precautions are in place to protect patients, visitors, and employees. They include:

  • Requiring everyone to wear masks at all times
  • Screening every person for symptoms before entering our facilities
  • Encouraging physical distancing in hallways and waiting areas
  • Enhanced cleaning using Centers for Disease Control (CDC)-approved products

Lab Work May Be Done Before Your Appointment

If your appointment requires lab work, you may be asked to get your labs drawn prior to your appointment date. This will reduce the time you spend at one of our cancer centers and ensures results are available to discuss with your provider when you come back for treatment. For your convenience, the Duke Health Lab and Leave locations do not require an appointment.

Duke Health Center at North Duke Street
3116 North Duke Street, Durham, NC  27704
919-660-2200

Duke Health Center at Southpoint
6301 Herndon Road, Durham, NC  27713
919-572-6095

Duke Health Heritage
3000 Rogers Road, Wake Forest, NC  27587
919-954-4491

Duke Health Holly Springs
401 Irving Pkwy, Holly Springs, NC  27540
919-385-3021 or 919-385-3022

Curbside Check-In

For your safety, some of our centers now provide curbside check-in. When arriving for your scheduled appointment, remain in your vehicle and drive through the curbside check-in area. Please bring a cell phone with you if possible. A staff member will contact you, then meet you in the lobby when it’s time for your appointment to start. The service isn’t available on the Durham medical campus.

If You’re Receiving Radiation or Chemotherapy

If you are receiving radiation therapy or chemotherapy, you should continue your care. We know these treatments can make it harder for your body to fight infections. Your doctor will determine the safest way for you to receive this essential care while minimizing your risk of contracting COVID-19. 

“Duke has adapted many ways to make sure our patients get the right care,” Dr. Alyea said. “We’re going to extraordinary lengths to create safe environments and access to treatments.”

Physical Distancing and Masking During Infusion Services

All equipment and seating are sanitized before you arrive at our treatment rooms. The staff wear protective equipment including a face mask. You’ll wear a mask and use hand sanitizer on your way in and out of treatment and exam rooms. 

Treatment times are now staggered, and hours of operation are being expanded to minimize the number of people in and around treatment rooms.

"We're spreading our patient visits over the entire day to keep you safe," Dr. Alyea said. "We're working with patients to get them treatment as soon as our infusion rooms open and providing lots of opportunities later in the afternoon."

If You Need Cancer Surgery Immediately

If you need cancer surgery that can’t be delayed, Duke Health has put additional precautions in place in our operating rooms to keep you and our team safe. We're following guidelines for cancer care created by the CDC and American College of Surgeons. 

If You Have COVID-19

Everyone is being screened for COVID-19 before coming to our facilities. If you have symptoms and you test positive for COVID-19, your doctor will determine if it’s possible to temporarily stop treatments while you get better, and when they should resume. If it’s not in your best interest to delay your treatment, we’ll bring you into the facility through a separate entrance and accommodate you in a treatment room away from others. You’ll wear a mask while in our hospitals or clinics to help protect our staff and patients.

Contact Your Doctor If You Have Questions

“Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about your risk for COVID-19, and how it impacts your treatment,” Dr. Alyea said. You can message your care team directly from Duke MyChart. “We understand you may be anxious about receiving care or have questions about what’s right for you,” he said. “Your doctors know you best, and how to get you the information you need.”

For More Information
Duke Health Is Keeping You Safe