COVID-19 Questions/Answers Part 2

A person with previously close contact to my family has been diagnosed with COVID-19. What should I do?

As more testing is completed, more people will test positive for COVID-19. Every day more and more of our patients and families are discovering that they had a significant exposure to COVID-19 over the past 2-3 weeks. COVID-19 had a higher prevalence within the community than was previously recognized 1-2 weeks ago. You should continue to practice social distancing. Be extraordinarily precautious with hand hygiene, cleaning home surfaces regularly and limit close contact even within the home. If you need essential items (i.e. groceries, medications, toilet paper), then have a healthy adult go to the store. If your child develops cold symptoms, the safest thing to do is assume that the infection is COVID-19. Self-quarantine at home. As long as the child’s symptoms are mild, the child is safe to recover at home. If your child develops respiratory distress or fever, please call PNP immediately and we will ensure your child receives the appropriate medical care.

Where can my child be tested for COVID-19? Where can I be tested for COVID-19?

The medical community is still facing a shortage of COVID-19 tests. As more become available, COVID-19 tests will be prioritized to patients in the hospitals. Hospitals need to identify the patients who are infected with COVID-19 for many reasons. Firstly, COVID-19 patients require precious and limited specialized medical rooms and equipment. Secondly, the medical staff caring for COVID-19 patients must use special masks, gowns, gloves with every patient encounter. The medical community is experiencing a shortage of these necessary masks, gowns and gloves. Hospitals cannot waste this personal protective equipment (PPE). Therefore, it is imperative to identify which patients’ care requires the use of PPE in order to not waste medical supplies.

Tests will become more readily available to COVID-19 clinics and other medical care facilities within the next few weeks. However, it is important to be judicious with who is tested because COVID-19 tests are still a limited resource. If you or your child have no sick symptoms, testing is NOT needed. If you or your child has cold symptoms but lack a fever and respiratory distress, testing is NOT needed. Treat the symptoms as you would any other viral infection. The safest thing to do for the community is to assume the sick symptoms are caused by COVID-19. You do not need to test. Self-quarantine everyone in the household. If you need essential items, call on other well family members, friends and neighbors to drop off necessary groceries and medication at your doorstep. This practice will limit the spread of viral infections and not overwhelm the medical community with unnecessary COVID-19 testing.

My child has a runny nose with other cold symptoms. I am concerned they are infected by COVID-19. What should I do?

Given the state of the world, it is completely understandable that common cold symptoms in children cause parents to be very distressed. It is also quite possible that your child is infected with COVID-19 given the prominent prevalence of the virus in the community. As stated above, the safest thing is to assume the symptoms are caused by COVID-19. This assumption does not change medical management. Continue to care for your child’s cold at home. If you are concerned, please call PNP and we will ensure your child receives the appropriate medical attention.

My child has an upcoming doctor’s appointment. Is it safe for us to come in?

The American Academy of Pediatrics and your physicians at PNP feel strongly that children still need medical attention for both sick symptoms, follow up care and well child care. Children are dependent on continued medical care for new symptoms and previously diagnosed medical conditions. Well visits remain incredibly important for monitoring of growth, checking development, hearing and vision screenings, mental health screenings and providing essential vaccinations. At PNP we are committed to continuing to provide the essential medical care to children. We have established many new policies within our offices to keep our patients and staff as safe as possible. We are deeply humbled with the privilege to provide medical care for children and we will honor this privilege every day by working hard to keep it safe for patients to be seen in the office.

Over the past week, our telehealth appointments were very successful, and parents found them invaluable given the COVID-19 crisis. Telehealth provides our physicians with the opportunity to use our medically trained eyes to examine your child and provide medical care within your home and eliminates the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Our physicians and nurses are reviewing previously scheduled appointments and changing as many over to telehealth appointment as appropriate to limit office visits. By maximizing telehealth visits, we are ensuring the safety of the children and their families that do need to come in for visits.

Other safety precautions we have put in place include screening calls ahead of office visits inquiring about symptoms and rescheduling visits for when children and caretakers are without sick symptoms. We also have a staff member at the front door to provide additional screening. At this time we are limiting one parent per child for visits and not allowing siblings to attend visits. If you have any questions or concerns, please call our office during business hours.