Triage process for the assessment of coronavirus disease 2019-positive patients with cancer: The ONCOVID prospective study

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Background: Patients with cancer are considered at high risk for the novel respiratory illness coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). General measures to keep COVID-19–free cancer divisions have been adopted worldwide. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of triage to identify COVID-19 among patients with cancer. Methods: From March 20 to April 17, 2020, data were collected from patients who were treated or followed at the authors' institution in a prospective clinical trial. The primary endpoint was to estimate the cumulative incidence of COVID-19–positive patients who were identified using a triage process through the aid of medical and patient questionnaires. Based on a diagnostic algorithm, patients with suspect symptoms underwent an infectious disease specialist's evaluation and a COVID-19 swab. Serologic tests were proposed for patients who had symptoms or altered laboratory tests that did not fall into the diagnostic algorithm but were suspicious for COVID-19. Results: Overall, 562 patients were enrolled. Six patients (1%) were diagnosed with COVID-19, of whom 4 (67%) had the disease detected through telehealth triage, and 2 patients (33%) without suspect symptoms at triage had the disease detected later. Seventy-one patients (13%) had suspect symptoms and/or altered laboratory tests that were not included in the diagnostic algorithm and, of these, 47 patients (73%) underwent testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 antibody: 6 (13%) were positive for IgG (n = 5) or for both IgM and IgG (n = 1), and antibody tests were negative in the remaining 41 patients. Conclusions: The triage process had a positive effect on the detection of COVID-19 in patients with cancer. Telehealth triage was helpful in detecting suspect patients and to keep a COVID-19–free cancer center. The overall incidence of COVID-19 diagnosis (1%) and antibody positivity (13%) in patients with suspect symptoms was similar to that observed in the general population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1101
Number of pages11
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2021


  • coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  • COVID-19 antibody
  • COVID-19 infection
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS–CoV-2)
  • triage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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