What you should know about the coronavirus

May 12, 2020

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

  • GHCI is open for patients in treatment.
  • GHCI requires everyone to wear a mask in the facility. If you do not have a mask, we will provide you with one.
  • We are not cancelling treatments or essential appointments.
  • Effective immediately, we are allowing patients to have ONE visitor (age 16 and older) only if the patient needs assistance getting to their appointment or if the patient is a new consult.

Please call us at 810.762.8226 if you have questions.

All classes have been cancelled until further notice. In an effort to protect our patients currently in treatment, we are limiting the number of people coming into our building by cancelling non-essential programs and classes. We will re-evaluate this decision throughout the summer. Class participants will be informed of class restart dates. You also can check this webpage regularly for updates. If you have questions about the classes, please call Sue Root, director of Quality of Life programs, at 810.762.8022. 

Your health and safety is our highest priority. Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute is monitoring the coronavirus situation closely and has launched a webpage that contains current information regarding the coronavirus. As new information becomes available, we will update this page.

We will continue taking precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of our patients.

Because this is a rapidly evolving situation, our medical team and administrators closely are following the guidelines and direction of the CDC as well as local and state public health experts. Rest assured we are taking all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Information about this outbreak is changing rapidly. To obtain the most up-to-date information about COVID-19, we recommend these resources:


Frequently asked questions about the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a newly identified virus called coronavirus that first was identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. It since has spread to multiple locations worldwide. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. This new virus is a public health concern because:

  1. It is newly identified and health officials are still learning about it.
  2. Two other human coronaviruses – MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV – have caused severe illness.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the CDC, symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms typically appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Other symptoms may include aches and pains, nasal congestion or runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea. Some people who are infected may not develop symptoms.

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild to severe. Some people who are infected don’t develop any symptoms.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about one in six people with COVID-19 become seriously ill and have difficulty breathing. About 80 percent of those infected recover without special treatment.

How does the virus spread?

COVID-19 germs are spread like the common cold: from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth that may spread in the air or land on surfaces when a person coughs or sneezes. 

It also can spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

How long can the coronavirus linger on surfaces?

Medical experts don’t know for certain. Some studies show it lasts three hours on certain surfaces, up to 24 hours on other surfaces, and as long as nine days on another surface type.

What preventive steps can I take to reduce my risk?

  • Stay home when you are sick with a fever, cough or upper respiratory symptoms.
  • Wash your hands often, thoroughly, and frequently – with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating, after coughing or sneezing, and after using the bathroom. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Apply the gel liberally and let it dry. It takes about 20 seconds for the sanitizer to work.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick or coughing and sneezing.
  • Avoid large crowds (eg, sporting events, concerts, large community gatherings where people could be carrying the virus).  
  • Avoid shaking hands or hugging.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your arm.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (phones, keys, light switches and doorknobs are easily forgotten areas to clean). Wear gloves when you disinfect and throw them away each time.

What should I do if I think I may have the coronavirus?

  • Call your primary care physician if you have a fever and other symptoms of a respiratory illness such as a cough or shortness of breath. 
  • In addition, contact your physician if you have been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19, or if you recently traveled to an area that has an outbreak of the illness. Your physician can determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
  • Make sure you call before visiting your physician or an emergency department and alert them that you think you may have COVID-19. They will provide you with guidelines to follow and protection when you walk in the door. 
  • Stay at home and away from others if you are sick.
  • You also can call the Genesee County Health Department at 810.257.3612.

Who is at greatest risk for contracting COVID-19?

The elderly and people with chronic health conditions such as lung disease, diabetes, asthma, heart disease or a weakened immune system are at highest risk. Cancer patients undergoing treatment as well as newly diagnosed patients and those in remission also are considered a high risk for contracting COVID-19. Those most vulnerable for having serious complications from COVID-19 should make sure they have an ample supply of their needed medications.

As a cancer patient, are there special precautions I should take?

The health and safety of our patients is our number one priority. Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute is monitoring COVID-19 closely and has implemented several precautionary measures for patients to ensure you can receive your needed treatments safely.  

We are screening patients for COVID-19 symptoms and are limiting visitors. If visitors have traveled overseas – or have a household member who has traveled – we are asking these visitors to postpone their visit.

In general, cancer patients should follow the same procedures as the rest of the population such as washing hands frequently and avoiding large crowds of people. Because cancer patients are considered a high risk for contracting COVID-19, the CDC recommends avoiding non-essential travel to decrease exposure to the virus.

If you are receiving cancer treatment that suppresses the immune system and you develop a fever and respiratory symptoms, call your oncologist immediately.

Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute will continue to make changes to its current procedures as the coronavirus situation evolves. Please check this website regularly for updates.

Should I wear a mask when I come in for treatment?

The CDC does not recommend face masks for healthy people as protection from respiratory diseases including COVID-19. A mask doesn’t help with prevention. It helps if you have symptoms of COVID-19.

The CDC recommends mask use for people who are sick and show symptoms of COVID-19. 

Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute may recommend masks for patients who are sick or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19. 

Are there ways to strengthen my immune system?

  • Get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation is one of the biggest ways of suppressing the immune system. If you are not getting a minimum of six to eight hours of sleep a night, scientific evidence demonstrates that the immune system may be compromised.
  • Exercise. Take a walk and get some fresh air.
  • Make healthy food choices. Approximately 70 percent to 80 percent of our immune system is in the gastrointestinal tract, which directly is impacted by the food we eat.
  • Stay up to date on vaccinations, including the flu vaccine.
  • Avoid smoke or smoking.
  • Make sure any other medical conditions you have are under control.
  • Try to reduce stress, which also is bad for the immune system.

What else should I know before I arrive for treatment at Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute?

You may be prescreened for COVID-10 symptoms when you first enter the building and may be asked to wear a mask that we will provide.

If you have a fever, cough, runny nose or shortness of breath, contact your oncologist before your appointment.

In addition, to reduce the spread of infection, we are limiting visitors to one adult (at least 16 or older) who does not exhibit any of the COVID-19 symptoms and who has not recently traveled to a high-risk area. No one under the age of 16 will be allowed in the building.

Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute is taking additional precautions to protect our patients, employees and visitors. These include:

  • Screening patients, visitors and employees for COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Limiting patient visitors to one adult (16 and older) during each patient visit.
  • Restricting incoming business or community visitors.
  • Limiting work meetings and activities on campus.
  • Not permitting anyone age 16 or younger inside the building.
  • Working closely with public health officials to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and remain proactive in ensuring patient, visitor and employee safety and protection.

Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute

302 Kensington Avenue
Flint, MI 48503

810-762-8226 | 888-762-8675

Ascension Genesys Hospital
Hurley Medical Center
Michigan Cancer Consortium

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