As a transplant patient, we know you are probably especially concerned about the new form of coronavirus called COVID-19. Scientists do not yet know whether transplant patients are specifically at greater risk for COVID-19, but we know any illness can be more dangerous for transplant patients.
The Miami Transplant Institute is your partner in wellness for life, and we want to help you through this anxious time. We are in constant communication with national and international researchers to guide our decisions. Most importantly, we want to keep you safe and protect the healthcare workers you rely upon for tests, visits, and lab work.
The most important thing you can do is stay home and not allow any non-essential visitors. COVID-19 is highly contagious, and communities around the world have self-quarantined to limit the spread.
You should always go to an emergency room if you are experiencing severe symptoms, and call 911 immediately if you have difficulty breathing, chest pain or pressure, bluish lips or face, or new confusion. For any other needs, including routine or minor visits, please call us in advance before coming to our clinic. Adults should call 305-355-5000, and parents of pediatric patients should call 305-585-8574.
We may reduce the frequency of your tests, or cancel or postpone visits. We may ask you to consult your care team via phone or with a videoconference service called Zoom. Please click here to download instructions on using Zoom from your Windows or Mac computer, Apple or Android mobile device, or just with a phone call.
Here are some other important tips to lower your risk for COVID-19:
- Do not travel, and stay home as much as possible. If you must go out, avoid crowds and remain at least six feet away from other people.
- Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds, using soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay away from sick people, including sick friends and family members, even if their symptoms are mild.
- Stay away from people, including friends and family, who have recently traveled or been exposed to known COVID-19 patients, even if they do not have symptoms.
- Greet others without physical contact – don’t shake hands, kiss, or hug.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with your inner arm, elbow, or a tissue, not your hand. Throw tissues in the trash, and wash or sanitize your hands as soon as possible.
- Frequently clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, cell phones) using regular household cleaning supplies.
- Avoid contact with frequently touched surfaces in public places such as elevator buttons, door handles, and handrails. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand. If you must touch something, wash your hands right away.
- Have a supply of over-the-counter medicines, medical supplies, tissues, and other essentials in case of cough, fever and other symptoms. But call us before changing or adding any medications, including over-the-counter.
- Have enough household items and groceries in order to minimize shopping trips and prepare for scarcity.
COVID-19 is just one of the many challenges you have faced as a transplant recipient. Your transplant team is prepared and available to assist you. Information about the virus is constantly evolving. It is important to stay informed from reliable sources of information. This is a list of useful resources to consider, in addition to checking this site for any updates:
- General Information: Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Transplant information: American Society of Transplantation, https://www.myast.org/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-frequently-asked-questions
- Travel information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html
- Pandemic preparedness: https://www.ready.gov/pandemic
Please know that we are all standing with you during this anxious time. We are proud to serve your unique needs as a transplant recipient.