VINELAND, NJ - As the coronavirus continues to spread, patients seeking treatment for a myriad of reasons unrelated to the virus still find themselves at-risk for accidentally contracting COVID-19 from healthcare professionals.
To date, University of Pennsylvania Hospital, St. Christopher's Hospital, CHOP and Penn Medicine have all warned patients of possible exposure to COVID-19 while visiting their campus.
Inspira Health in Vineland, N.J. joined the growing list on Tuesday when it was announced that two employees tested positive for coronavirus.
The hospital says a surgical service employee is self-quarantining at home. A radiation oncology empoyee who also tested positive is hospitalized.
Jennifer Dowd, a 28-year-old battling an aggressive form of thyroid cancer, says Inspira called to inform her she may have been exposed to coronavirus during an office visit last week.
Jennifer says she is concerned about those she came in contact with following her appointment at Inspra.
"I was in stores, I was at the mall, out to eat, I had people over my house," Jennifer said.
But deep in the throes of a battle with thyroid cancer, Jennifer is rightfully most concerned with her own health.
"As of now there’s a 20% chance cancer spread to my lungs and I need a cat scan to verify that and right now I’m quarantined and I can’t go for my cat scan," Jennifer said.
Inspira called Jennifer Wednesday afternoon to arrange for at-home COVID-19 testing for both her and her mom. The hospital says they are offering at-home testing to all patients and visitors who may have been exposed.
Meanwhile, Jennifer is encouraging people to be their own best advocate in preventing the spread of this virus.
"It's care that's critical, there's tests that need to be done, treatments that [patients] cannot miss becasue the cancer can spread," Dowd said. "People need to take precautions and not be out in the community."
Inspira says the radiation-oncology department is temporarily closed. The healthcare facility will begin testsing those possibly exposed to coronavirus on Thursday.
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