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Frequently Asked Questions: Patient COVID-19 Testing

Q: Is Fox Chase Cancer Center offering COVID-19 testing?

A: Yes, Fox Chase is currently testing some patients for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Many treatments for cancer can cause patients to become immunosuppressed, which can make them more likely to become sick and have a harder time recovering from illnesses. We are testing some patients in an effort to ensure that they are healthy before their treatment begins. Patients who are recommended for testing will have the test performed 24-48 hours before their scheduled procedure or treatment start date.

Q: What patients are being tested?

A: All patients who are staying in the hospital at Fox Chase and those who are scheduled for an outpatient surgical procedure will be tested for COVID-19. In addition, some patients beginning other treatments (such as infusion or radiation therapy) will be tested. Your oncologist will make the determination of whether or not you should be tested before the start of your treatment.

Q: Is Fox Chase testing existing patients?

A: If your care team believes that you would benefit from testing, they will reach out to make this recommendation.

Q: If I’m a Fox Chase patient and have symptoms of COVID-19, am I able to get tested?

A: If you are a patient who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please reach out to your care team to determine the next best steps for your care.

Q: What should I do if I’ve already been tested at another facility?

A: If you have already been tested for the virus that causes COVID-19 somewhere other than Fox Chase, please contact your care team to make them aware of this.

Q: If I require testing, where do I go?

A: Testing is performed by appointment only at an outside drive-up testing site located on Fox Chase’s Main Campus outside of the Reimann Building. Please follow the detailed driving instructions to arrive at the testing site from Cottman Avenue.  MAP [PDF]

Q: Why isn’t every patient being tested?

A: The Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at Fox Chase has developed the test we are using, and for many reasons, we are limited in the number of tests that can be performed at this time. We are working diligently to increase this capacity so that we can perform more tests per day.

Q: Do I need to be showing symptoms of COVID-19 in order to get tested?

A: No. Patients recommended for testing do not need to be experiencing symptoms.

Q: Why would a patient be tested for COVID-19 if they aren’t showing symptoms?

A: It is possible to have the virus that causes COVID-19 but not show any symptoms—this would make you an asymptomatic carrier. If you become immunosuppressed and are a carrier, this may put you at an increased risk for complications.

Q: What is a test like?

A: Fox Chase is offering drive-through testing in the form of an oropharyngeal test. During this test, a cotton swab will be inserted into your mouth to obtain a sample of mucus from your throat. This is similar to a strep test, and while it doesn’t hurt, you might experience a few moments of discomfort as the swab may trigger you to cough or gag.

Q: Where is my sample tested?

A: Your test will be analyzed by the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Q: How long will it take to get results?

A: You will receive your results within 24-48 hours of having the test performed.

Q: Will someone call me with my results?

A: If the test is positive, you will receive a phone call giving you further instructions.

Due to the sheer volume of tests, if your result is negative, you will not be notified. If you do not receive a phone call, please show up to your appointment or procedure as scheduled.  

Q: What happens if my test is positive?

A: If you are staying in the hospital and your test is positive, you will be transferred to our neighboring healthcare center, Temple University Hospital – Jeanes Campus, where you will be cared for and still closely monitored by Fox Chase physicians.

If you are tested at our drive-through testing location and your results are positive, you will receive a call from your care team. They will provide you with more information and discuss how your results will affect your care plan. Every patient’s situation is different, and there are a number of factors to consider.

Please know that your care team will support you through any changes to your care and will provide you with any additional resources needed for your physical and mental health.

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