COVID-19 Updates

CHCWM’s COVID-19 policies.

Updated 4/6/2022:

COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions 

All CHCWM recommendations are based on CDC recommendations. For the most up to date information, please go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. 

What are the symptoms of COVID 19 

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19: 

  • Fever or chills 
  • Cough 
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
  • Fatigue   
  • Muscle or body aches 
  • Headache 
  • New loss of taste or smell 
  • Sore throat 
  • Congestion or runny nose 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Diarrhea  

Are masks required at CHCWM offices? 

Yes, we require medical grade masks be worn by everyone in a CHCWM setting.  

When should I test for COVID? 

If you have any symptoms listed above, we recommend getting a COVID test. 

If I have symptoms of COVID, but have not been tested, should I come to my appointment at CHCWM? 

  No. You should test.  However, if you do not test, please call, and notify our staff of your symptoms. We will coordinate a plan of care for you that will involve moving your treatment and/or scheduling a nurse phone call 

Where can I get a COVID test? 

Home rapid tests can be obtained from many pharmacies.  Supply is limited so it is wise to call pharmacies to verify supply before driving there. 

PCR and Rapid tests may be obtained from any of the following. Make sure to verify if they participate with your insurance. This is not a comprehensive list, just some ideas of options that are available to you. 

Are rapid tests accurate? 

Yes, they are.  

 – If you test positive you should consider this to be a positive result and follow isolation guidelines
 – If you test negative, after exposure and have no symptoms, you should consider this negative and watch for signs or symptoms of COVID and test again if these arise.
 – If you test negative and have symptoms you should continue to test daily with a rapid or schedule a PCR test through a local vendor.
 – PCR testing is the most reliable. However, you may need an appointment at a testing site and test results take up to 48 hours (about 2 days) to receive. 

Should cancer patients get an initial COVID-19 booster and when? 

Yes, all patients should receive an initial booster 5 months after primary series if originally received Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. An initial booster should be 2 months after primary vaccine if originally received J&J COVID-19 vaccine.

Should cancer patients get a second COVID-19 booster and when?

Yes, we encourage a second booster for the following approved groups:

  • Ages 50 and older
  • Ages 12 and older if immunocompromised

Timing of Second Booster for Those Not Immunocompromised:

  • Ages 50 and older can receive second booster of either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months after first booster
  • Ages 18-49 who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine as their primary and first booster, can receive second booster of either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months after first booster

Timing of Second Booster for Those Immunocompromised:

  • Ages 12-17 can receive second booster of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months after their first booster
  • Ages 18 and older can receive second booster of either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months after their first booster

Should immunocompromised patients get an additional primary shot? 

  • People age 5+ who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should get an additional primary shot of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Given 28 days after 2nd shot, only if you received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.  
  • People who are moderate to severely immunocompromised should receive additional booster shots (4th vaccine) 5 months after their most recent booster. 

Who Is Immunocompromised? 

People are considered to be moderately or severely immunocompromised if they: 

  • Are receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood  
  • Have received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system 
  • Have received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system 
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome) 
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection 
  • Are receiving active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response 

How do I know if I was exposed? 

Exposure is defined as being around someone who tested positive for COVID: 

  • For more than 15 minutes total time  
  • Within six feet 
  • Masked or unmasked 

This includes two days prior to the start of their symptoms or positive test 

IF you are exposed: 

If you were exposed to COVID and are not up-to date on COVID vaccinations 

  • Stay home and quarantine for at least 5 full days from date of exposure. Wear a mask for an additional 10 days wherever you go. 
  • If you are scheduled to visit our office for any reason in the next 5 days, please call the office to inform us of your quarantine. We will coordinate a plan of care for you that will involve moving your treatment and/or scheduling a nurse phone call 
  • Test if you develop symptoms 

If you are exposed and up-to date on vaccinations (see above) or have had COVID in the past 90 days. 

  • No need to quarantine
    You do not need to stay home unless you develop symptoms. Wear a mask wherever you go for 10 days after exposure. You may come in for your treatment 
  • Test if you get symptoms 

When do I quarantine and test? 

The date of your exposure is considered day 0. Day 1 is the first full day after your last contact with the person who has COVID

If you test positive for COVID or have symptoms, regardless of Vaccination status 

  • If you are scheduled to visit our office for any reason within 10 days of your positive test, please call the office to inform us of your positive test. We will coordinate a plan of care for you that may involve moving your treatment and/or scheduling a nurse phone call 
  • Stay home for 5 days from the start of symptoms or positive test (if asymptomatic) and isolate from others in your home. 
  • You may end isolation after 5 full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and your symptoms are improving.  
  • Wear a well-fitted mask for 5 additional days any time you are around others inside your home or in public. Do not go to places where you are unable to wear a mask. 

You do not need to retest to come back to the clinic 

For people at elevated risk of disease progression, the FDA has issued EUAs (Emergency Use Authorization) for a few treatments for COVID. 

  • Monoclonal antibody treatments could help the immune system recognize and respond more effectively to the virus. 
  • Oral antiviral medications that target specific parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus can help reduce its multiplication and spread through the patient’s body. 
  • Some of these treatments may not be effective against the Omicron variant. Your healthcare provider will decide which, if any, of these treatments are appropriate to treat your illness. 

Treatment of COVID: 

If I test positive for COVID, should I get a monoclonal antibody infusion? 

You are eligible for a monoclonal antibody infusion if you meet the following criteria: 

  • Positive COVID test
  • COVID related symptoms present for 7 days or less
  • You are not hospitalized
  • You have risk factors that increase your likelihood of hospitalization
    – Cancer treatment, diabetes, lung, or heart disease, over 65 years old, BMI (Body Mass Index) greater than 30 etc. 

If you meet the above criteria, and are interested in receiving this therapy, you have two options. 

  1. For infusion at Spectrum Health, call 616-391-0351 and the team there will determine eligibility
  2. For infusion at Mercy Health, please contact the CHCWM triage nurses at 1- 800-411-7999 for a referral.

If I test positive for COVID, can I get a prescription for Paxlovid or Malnupiravir (oral antiviral medications) from my pharmacy? 

If you meet criteria classifying you as high-risk and are COVID positive, you may be eligible for oral antiviral medications.  These can be prescribed to you by either your PCP or calling the Community Response COVID Infusion Program at Spectrum Health (616-391-0351).  Their medical team will determine if you are eligible for treatment and determine the best treatment which may include a prescription for this oral medication. 

Should I receive preventative Monoclonal antibody injections (Evusheld) if I am high risk for acquiring COVID and then developing complications? 

Preventative Monoclonal antibody treatments: 

This therapy is being offered in limited supply by local hospital systems. CHCWM is working to identify our highest risk patients and refer them for this treatment. If you are identified as high-risk, someone from our office will reach out to you in the next few weeks.  As we receive information about expanding use to lower risk populations, we will share that information.  However, if you are interested in learning more before talking with us, feel free to contact Spectrum Health COVID Therapeutics at 616-391-0351. 


Visitor Policy

In cooperation with our community health care providers, we have updated our policy. These changes work in support of our partners and the health of the community.

Visitors are limited to one per patient at our Lacks Cancer Center office.
At all other locations, we invite two visitors per patient for provider visits and one visitor per patient in our infusion areas. Health screens are still required upon entering all CHCWM locations.

Masks

We are currently requiring all individuals who enter our facilities to wear surgical face masks.


Vaccines

West Michigan is blessed. We have a robust community network for registration and dissemination of vaccines. Supply is starting to increase. Therefore, we want to encourage all of our patients and their families to register for COVID-19 vaccines. We are committed to the national goal of mass vaccination to help overcome this pandemic

For the easiest and best way to find a vaccine clinic in West Michigan please go to www.vaccinatewestmichigan.com. This site contains direct links to all available vaccine clinics.

For the protection of our immunocompromised population, we’ve dedicated ourselves at CHC to examining developing CDC guidelines and modifying our processes accordingly. Because of this, we are encouraging booster vaccines for all our patients receiving therapy at our offices. To learn more about eligibility requirements and our recommendations, please take a look at our Vaccine Recommendations resource.


Pharmacy

CHCWM’s Specialty Pharmacies now mail prescription refills to patients to combat the spread of COVID-19. If you are onsite for an infusion or appointment, you may pick up your prescription refill in person. However, patients will no longer need to make an extra trip to receive their medications, and instead, they may receive their prescriptions at home. We hope that this change proves more convenient and safer for our patients.