Georgia cancer patient 'shelters-in-place' to ward off coronavirus

Anne Luhr of Marietta is staying close to home these days, which is a little challenge for an extrovert, used to being on the go. She is among those Governor Brian Kemp ordered to stay indoors with his limited "shelter-in-place" executive order.

She is a cancer patient.

“My family, my children, have been staying away as well.  We use FaceTime a lot.  And we do the same thing with friends, “ says Luhr.

The 63-year-old former WellStar Kennestone ER nurse and her husband Peter have gotten very good at washing their hands and wiping down surfaces.

What they can’t do is visit in person with their daughters, or hug their grandchildren, right now.

Luhr has stage-four colon cancer — and knows this new virus would be too much for her vulnerable immune system.

“If I would get sick.  It would be... it would be difficult.  Because, yeah, I have other health conditions besides cancer.  So, no, I’m being very careful either,” says Luhr.

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And Luhr’s cancer center, WellStar Kennestone, is being very careful, too.

Oncologist Dr. Madhu Uppalipati says they’re carefully screening everyone coming into their facility for signs of COVID-19, and urging patients who don’t need to come in — to talk to their provider — or get their test results — over the phone, not in

“Understanding that a lot of patients cannot afford to not coming here because we do a lot of symptom-relieving measures, you know, otherwise they would end up in emergency rooms and that's the last thing that they need at this time,” says Dr. Uppalipati.

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During Ann Luhr’s chemotherapy infusion early this week, the staff tried to keep patients a few feet apart — and were constantly disinfecting the treatment areas

“It is an uneasy time and I have to say, you know, the biggest grace through all of this is how graceful our patients have been in understanding all of this,” recalls Dr. Uppalipati.

Ann Luhr says she’s be lying if she said staying home like this is easy.

But, it’s a small price to pay, she says, to protect each other.

"I am a very positive person, and I think that if we all respect each other and support each other. Be kind to each other, and we respect the rules. We're gonna be (okay?)"

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Best prevention measures:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least twenty seconds.
  • If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces


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