Jul 16, 2020 11:00 AM

Updated 7/16/2020

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new virus. For most people, infection with this virus will lead to mild or moderate symptoms. However, for some, it can cause a severe infection and can lead to long-term effects or death. It is most dangerous to older people, or those with other medical conditions.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus can spread easily, just like the common cold or flu. It spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes droplets that can get into the eyes, nose, or mouth of people nearby. Droplets also land on surfaces that people touch before touching their own eyes, nose, or mouth. The virus spreads easily from person to person in close contact, within about 6 feet.

How can I protect myself?

These are some of the best ways to protect yourself and others from the virus:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use hand sanitizer with 60% or more alcohol until you can wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth without washing your hands first.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces often. Regular household wipes and sprays will kill the virus. Be sure to clean places that people touch a lot, such as door handles, phones, keyboards, and light switches.
  • Keep at least 6 feet of space between yourself and others.
  • Wear a cloth covering over your mouth and nose when around others.
  • Be as healthy as you can. Get plenty of sleep, eat healthy, exercise, and manage your stress.

If you are sick, follow these steps:

  • Stay home.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. If you use a tissue, put it in the garbage right away. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow crease.
  • Call before going to your medical appointments. Let them know about recent travel or if you have had contact with a person with COVID-19.

What should I do if I have cancer?

Some people with cancer might have a higher risk of getting COVID-19 or having a serious infection from it. Do your best to follow the steps listed above to protect yourself. Ask your doctor or nurse if they have special recommendations based on your health or type of treatment.

Call your doctor right away if any of these happen to you:

  • You have a fever higher than 100.3 degrees F.
  • You feel short of breath.
  • You get a cough, runny nose, sore throat, congestion, chills, aches, or a loss of taste or smell.

Call 801-587-7000 anytime—day, night, or weekend.

What kind of face covering should I wear?

A cloth mask that covers both the mouth and nose can help prevent spread of the disease. This face covering can be a mask made by a company or made at home. It is important to still keep a distance from others when wearing a face covering.

What if I care for or live with a cancer patient?


If you are caring for or living with someone with cancer, do your best to keep them from getting the virus. Follow the steps to protect yourself listed on this sheet.

If you become sick yourself, call your doctor to see what more you should do to protect your loved one.

How will Huntsman Cancer Institute protect me from getting COVID-19?

Our hospital and clinics are taking steps to keep infected patients separate from those who may be at risk. Anyone entering our hospital will be required to be screened for symptoms and to wear a face covering. We may ask some patients to wait in a separate room or to reschedule until they are feeling better if they have symptoms. Because this virus is so dangerous for our patients, we have restricted the number of visitors in our hospital. These additional precautions may continue even as other parts of our community open back up. 

We are also taking extra steps to clean and disinfect surfaces throughout our hospital and clinics. We provide sanitation stations at all entrances. These stations have tissues, hand sanitizer, and directions about how to get a mask.

Your well-being is our top priority. We will still care for our patients even if they are sick. Although we may change some ways we care for you, we will never put your care or health at risk.

Where can I get more information?

We are learning more every day about the disease and the virus that causes it. Because it is so new, information changes frequently.

For the most up-to-date information, visit healthcare.utah.edu/coronavirus.

Also, you can contact the Cancer Learning Center at 1-888-424-2100 or cancerinfo@hci.utah.edu for help answering your questions. Visit huntsmancancer.org for more information.

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Cancer touches all of us.

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