Coronoavirus Disease 19 FAQs
Moffitt Cancer Center is committed to the health and safety of our patients, their families and our team members. We are basing our protocols on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Moffitt is the safest place for cancer patients to receive the best care.
Please see the frequently asked questions below. We will update this with any new developments. Patients with questions or concerns should contact your health care team via the Patient Portal or by calling 1-888-663-3488.
Moffitt Cancer Center is monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and is taking extra precautions to protect our immunocompromised patients and team members. We are open for patient care.
Visitor Policy. We are allowing one healthy adult visitor per patient for clinic visits. Visitors may accompany patients in exam rooms. Blood Draw and Infusion patients are also allowed one healthy adult visitor, but all visitors must wait in the waiting room during treatment. Please note, children are not allowed on campus.
Starting Nov. 6, patients in the hospital or undergoing surgeries or procedures may have one constant healthy adult visitor per day during visiting hours of 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. They must remain in the patient’s room and limit travel through common areas of the hospital.
For Surgeries and Endoscopies
- Surgical and endoscopy patients may have one caregiver with them on the day of the procedure.
- Caregivers may accompany the patient to their inpatient room if needed; reasonable accommodations will be made when this occurs outside of visiting hours of 11-6. Inpatient visiting hours will apply for the rest of the patient’s stay.
For Urgent Care
- One healthy adult visitor may stay with the patient until a disposition is determined.
- If the patient is admitted, one visitor is allowed during visiting hours from 11-6.
For BMT Patients in the Hospital
- BMT inpatients may have one designated caregiver that must stay with the patient for the entire time of their hospitalization.
For End-of-Life Care and Support
- Patients may have two caregivers for comfort when end of life is imminent.
All patients and visitors will be screened at Moffitt entrances. Inpatient visitors should enter at Red Valet to be screened, check in with the concierge and receive a sticker with the room number they will be visiting. Masks must be worn at all times on campus, per Moffitt policy and in accordance with the Hillsborough County mask mandate. Failure to wear a mask may result in the visitor being asked to leave or being escorted from campus. Visitors must adhere to social distancing guidelines in place in all waiting areas. Please note, you may be asked to step out of congested waiting rooms and redirected to other areas.
We appreciate your understanding as we take these necessary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Stay Connected with Loved Ones. When possible, we encourage you to use your smartphones to stay in touch with your family and loved ones during your visit. Moffitt can also set up Zoom video conferencing for loved ones to join appointments virtually. Click here to see more details on how to stay connected with loved ones during your time at Moffitt.
Self-Parking for Patients. Moffitt has reserved a limited number of spaces at Gold Valet on USF’s campus for patients to self-park. Please request this with the valet upon arrival.
Hotel Day Rates for Caregivers. The following hotels are offering day rates for family members and caregivers waiting for patients receiving outpatient treatment at Moffitt.
Wingate by Wyndham Tampa/At USF
3751 E. Fowler Ave.
Rate: $40 + tax
Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Method of Payment: Credit card only
Included: Wi-Fi and parking
Reservations: Walk-ins welcome or call the hotel
Home2 Suites by Hilton Tampa USF
11606 N. McKinley Drive
Rate: $59 + tax
Hours: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Method of Payment: Credit card or cash
Included: Wi-Fi, parking, breakfast during breakfast hours, pool
Reservations: Walk-ins welcome or call the hotel
Residence Inn Tampa at USF/Medical Center
13420 N. Telecom Parkway
Rate: $59 + tax
Hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Method of Payment: Credit card only
Included: Wi-Fi and parking
Reservations: Walk-ins welcome or call the hotel
Publix Pharmacy at Moffitt
The Publix pharmacies at the Magnolia and McKinley campuses are offering curbside service to assist patients and caregivers with medication pickup. Most patients also have the option to transfer their prescriptions to other Publix pharmacy locations in your communities. Additionally, many insurance companies are allowing patients to obtain several months’ worth of prescriptions during this time. For your safety, we encourage you to take advantage of this option for maintenance medications to reduce unnecessary travel.
Patients are encouraged to download the Publix Pharmacy app and prepay for your orders to expedite the process. For those picking up prescriptions from a Publix Pharmacy at Moffitt, please call to ensure your prescriptions are ready before traveling to the cancer center. You can also check the status using the Publix Pharmacy app. Once you arrive at the valet, please call the appropriate Publix pharmacy and a team member will bring the medications out to your vehicle.
- Publix Pharmacy at the Moffitt Magnolia Campus (USF) – 813-745-8484
- Publix Pharmacy at the McKinley Outpatient Center – 813-978-1694
We have enhanced our protocols and are screening all patients and caregivers at the entrances of Moffitt’s patient care buildings. We are taking temperature readings and asking about COVID-19 symptoms.
Masks must be worn at all times on campus, per Moffitt policy and in accordance with the Hillsborough County mask mandate. Failure to wear a mask may result in the visitor being asked to leave or being escorted from campus. Wearing a mask is for everyone’s safety, including other patients and our staff. We realize this may cause disruptions, but please understand the important measures we are taking to keep you, your family and our team members safe. We are limiting patient entry points to the main entrances of:
- Red and Blue Valet at the Moffitt Cancer Center hospital on USF’s campus
- Gold Valet at the Muriel Rothman Clinic Building on USF’s campus
- Moffitt Research Center on USF’s campus
- Schulze Family Foundation Outpatient Center at the McKinley campus
- Moffitt Cancer Center at International Plaza
Please note, the Gold and Blue valet parking entrances on USF’s campus will close at 7 p.m. After 7 p.m., please enter through the Red Valet hospital entrance instead.
If you have an upcoming appointment and are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please call the Patient Care Hotline at 813-745-8000 before coming to Moffitt:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Moffitt had been carefully delaying or postponing elective surgeries, procedures and appointments. Now that Florida is reopening and hospitals are allowed to resume elective procedures, our schedulers are reaching out to patients who have been affected. We are also testing these patients for COVID-19 ahead of time for everyone’s safety. If you have questions about your procedure or cancer treatment, please contact your health care team via the Patient Portal.
Patients who are unable to travel to Moffitt for upcoming appointments should also contact their health care team via the Patient Portal to determine if you are eligible for virtual visits and to determine next steps for care.
What if I Want to Postpone my Appointment?
Learn more: Patient Appointments FAQ
Moffitt Cancer Center is accepting donations of homemade masks and mask making materials to align with the recently updated CDC guidelines. Masks and materials can be dropped off at the designated collection bins at Gold Valet on Moffitt’s Magnolia campus (12902 USF Magnolia Drive, Tampa FL 33612) outside of the Stabile Research Building. Donors can also ship masks to Volunteer Services:
12902 USF Magnolia Drive
Tampa FL 33612
Please label your donations with your name and contact information. Donated masks will be distributed to all Moffitt locations.
Questions? Email VolunteerServices@Moffitt.org.
Moffitt is taking additional precautions to ensure the health and safety of our patients by limiting exposure as much as possible. Through Jan. 1, 2021, all Moffitt-sponsored conferences and community events at the cancer center will be hosted virtually. This includes retreats, conferences, symposiums and patient support groups. If these events cannot be hosted virtually, they will be postponed or canceled. We have also restricted all international business travel for our team members.
Some patient support groups are hosting virtual meetings. Click here for the latest updates on support groups.
All individuals with weakened immune systems might be at higher risk for complications from COVID-19. Here are four things cancer patients need to know:
- Take preventive measures. COVID-19 is one of many coronaviruses out there that are common and cause mild illnesses that many would call the common cold. To help prevent disease, wash your hands frequently, cover your cough and sneezes, stay home when you’re not feeling well, and call your health care provider when you have concerns about your health.
- Get the flu shot. It’s flu season, and patients with cancer need to take this into account. Certain therapies such as targeted drugs, steroids and immunosuppressive therapies can reduce immunity. People with cancer who develop the flu may need to delay chemotherapy, radiation or surgery.
- Only testing can determine if you have COVID-19. The main symptoms are fever, cough, shortness of breath and a runny nose. Because these symptoms are similar to other common illnesses, health care professionals might misdiagnose or patients might not report symptoms. The only way to tell if a patient has COVID-19 is through CDC testing.
- Cancer drugs manufactured overseas are OK. It’s understandable that patients with cancer may have concerns about treatments that come through China. At this time, pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers do not expect the spread of COVID-19 to impact their ability to produce drugs or affect supplies. The CDC says there is no evidence supporting the transmission of the disease through imported goods.
If you have a scheduled appointment at Moffitt and have tested positive for COVID-19 in the community or are experiencing respiratory symptoms, please call the Patient Care Hotline at 813-745-8000 before your upcoming appointment so we can plan appropriately. You’ll receive guidance and learn about eligibility for virtual visits. This will help us keep you safe, as well as the team members caring for you.
If you develop a high fever, deep dry cough, fatigue and shortness of breath, please stay home and call your primary care provider and clinic at Moffitt for guidance. If you feel ill enough to go to the emergency room, call ahead and let them know you have respiratory symptoms so they can provide guidelines and protect you when you arrive. If you would like to take a COVID-19 test, contact your health care provider or check with your local and state health departments on testing sites. Prescriptions are not required at all facilities, but you may need to pre-register or make an appointment.
What if a family member develops symptoms?
If someone in your household is sick, keep your distance. Wear gloves while caring for your sick family member and have them sleep in a different room if possible. Wipe down surfaces with bleach wipes and wash your hands often. Call your Moffitt clinic to inform them of the situation. To protect our patients, do not bring a sick family member to your appointment at Moffitt.
People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 3 feet from a person who is sick.
Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?
There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
Is there treatment?
There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with the virus can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms. Roughly 4 out of 5 of those infected experience only mild symptoms.
- Avoid contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes or mouth with unwashed hands
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects
- Stay home when sick
How is Moffitt Protecting Patients, Families and Visitors?
- Moffitt is monitoring updates from the CDC and Florida Department of Health.
- As we monitor the pandemic, we are continually adjusting our visitor policy to best protect our patients and staff. Please click here for the latest updates.
- We are taking temperature readings and have implemented a patient questionnaire screening process at our entrances to identify anyone with signs and symptoms of COVID-19 illness. Masks will be provided to patients and visitors and must be worn at all times while on campus.
- Please adhere to all social distancing guidelines in place at the cancer center. If waiting rooms are congested, you may be redirected to other waiting areas.
- Moffitt is testing all patients for COVID-19 ahead of appointments and procedures to ensure everyone’s safety.
- Moffitt follows CDC guidelines for all cleaning and disinfection procedures. This includes frequent disinfection of high touch surfaces and restrooms with wipes that are effective against coronavirus. We are conducting deep cleanings of the hospital every evening.
- The valet staff is disinfecting steering wheels and using hand sanitizer before and after parking each car. Keys are being disinfected at valet stands.
- Moffitt has reserved a limited number of spaces at Gold Valet on USF’s campus for patients to self-park. Please request this with the valet upon arrival.
- Wheelchairs are being disinfected between each use, and wipes are available in valet areas for this purpose.
- Magnolias Salon is open with limited menu options consisting of basic services, head-shaves, wig consults, in-patient shampoos and retail therapy items. Visitation is restricted to one guest at a time, and high touch surface disinfection is performed after each service. Call Magnolias Salon at 813-745-7299 for questions and operational changes.
- Through March 31, 2021, all Moffitt-sponsored conferences and community events at the cancer center will be hosted virtually. If these events cannot be hosted virtually, they will be postponed or canceled.
- We have restricted all international business travel for our team members.
- Moffitt is limiting traffic to patient care buildings to essential staff only to minimize the number of people in patient care areas. We are also encouraging team members to have meals in staff break areas instead of the cafeteria.
- Moffitt is also encouraging virtual meetings when possible.
What preparations has Moffitt made to handle a cancer patient with COVID-19?
Cancer patients have unique needs, and we are confident Moffitt is the safest place for patients to come if complications arise from their disease. Moffitt is working closely with state and federal agencies and taking all COVID-19 precautions from the CDC. Our clinical staff is reviewing strict protocols to manage patients with COVID-19 from the time they enter the cancer center to isolation and testing.
For older adults and patients with underlying health conditions — such as those on chemotherapy or who are immunosuppressed — the CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to destinations with level 3 travel notices because of the risk of getting COVID-19.
- Cruises: The CDC recommends travelers defer all cruise ship travel at this time. Cruises put large numbers of people often from around the world in frequent and close contact with one another. This can promote the spread of respiratory viruses. Discuss cruise ship travel with your health care provider before traveling.
- Long plane trips: Although the risk of infection on an airplane is low, it’s best to avoid long flights. If you are on a plane, try to avoid contact with sick passengers, and wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains 60% to 95% alcohol.
Moffitt is canceling or postponing all events at the cancer center through March 31, 2021, to better protect our patients.
Does this include patient and caregiver supports groups?
Yes. Patient support groups will not be held in person, but certain groups will host virtual meetings by phone instead. Click here for a list of support groups impacted by these changes. If you have questions, please check with the event organizer. To watch our patient and family orientation videos online, click here. Moffitt is proceeding with all meetings and gatherings that are essential to patient care and hospital operations.
Patients in active treatment should avoid public transportation when possible. If you need to use public transportation, do what you can to protect yourself. Sit in the back or other areas with less exposure, and stay away from others who exhibit respiratory symptoms. When it comes to events, use caution in public places and limit close interactions. Stay at home when possible.
The COVID-19 vaccines are among the most effective and safest vaccines ever developed. It is safe for most patients to receive the vaccine. However, for some patients in active treatment that causes immunosuppression, the vaccine may not be effective. See the COVID-19 Vaccine page for more details.
Moffitt is conducting research into the effectiveness and durability of the vaccine in cancer patients. If you have questions about the vaccine and how it fits within your treatment plan, please contact your care team through the message center within the patient portal by visiting My.Moffitt.org. Your care team will respond to your message after reviewing your medical history. For patient portal assistance, please call 813-745-8000.
It is also important not to delay any treatment for cancer in order to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
If you are a cancer survivor, it should be safe for you to receive the vaccine. If you have concerns, you should talk to your oncologist or primary care physician.
Moffitt is now vaccinating cancer patients on active treatment at our McKinley and Magnolia campuses. However, we have a limited supply of vaccine doses. Moffitt will contact you if you are eligible to receive the vaccine and to schedule an appointment. We have received an influx of calls and kindly ask for your patience. Due to the volume of calls, we are unable to respond to vaccine-related inquiries.
Patients will not be billed for the vaccine. Moffitt will bill the charge for administering the vaccine to insurance plans. For self-pay patients, we will adjust off the vaccine and administration charges.
Moffitt has administered both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Availability of each depends on the shipments we receive. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine recently received emergency-use authorization; however, this vaccine is not yet available at Moffitt.
If you have access to the COVID-19 vaccine from local health officials, don’t wait to receive one from Moffitt. If you have questions about the vaccine and how it fits within your treatment plan, please contact your care team through the message center within the patient portal by visiting My.Moffitt.org. Your care team will respond to your message after reviewing your medical history. For patient portal assistance, please call 813-745-8000.