Covid-19 Update for June 2020
Summer days are upon us in Texas! Lots of sun, sun, and more sun. In pre-Covid days, our kids were getting ready for camps and playing outdoors. So, what are our latest recommendations regarding summer and Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
In general, data shows that most children do not have severe illness from Coronavirus (COVID-19.) New data shows that children, teens and young adults may be asymptomatic with COVID-19, and that spread of the virus is highest with prolonged close contact with an individual from coughing, talking, laughing, shouting or singing. With this information, we are continuing to practice universal masking and now wearing a face shield/protective eye wear when patients are in the exam rooms. Our advice for families is to continue to wear face masks, to practice good handwashing, and to maintain social distancing when possible. Many of our patients 2 years and older are able to wear face masks, and we are so proud of them for keeping it on their faces during their office visits.
We recognize as we navigate this pandemic, we must all balance the risk of COVID-19 infection with the real need for interactions with family and friends, which are vital to our mental health. “COVID fatigue” is a real entity. That being said, safety is more important now than ever as cases in Texas are beginning to increase significantly. Our recommendations come from the most updated CDC and AAP guidelines, and they are based on the current local trends in COVID-19 cases.
It may be tempting to get kids together for play dates or sleepovers, but indoor playdates should be avoided. Outdoor play is safer than indoors! Chlorine kills Coronavirus. So, enjoy splash pads, pools, scavenger hunts, painting and placing rocks for others to find. Wear your helmet when you ride your bike, skate and scooter. And, feel free to leave the mask at home while maintaining 6 feet apart when outdoors. What about video games? Video games are alluring but train your child to take breaks every 20 – 40 minutes to avoid pesky withdrawal and a lousy mood. Video games that allow multi-game play with friends have become a much-needed social outlet. Computers should be in public areas so you can keep a watchful eye that the content is of your approval.
Working and Parenting in the Time of COVID:
Protect grandparents. As of June, Coronavirus (COVID-19) numbers and hospitalizations are increasing. Please think hard about visiting grandparents or asking them to help with childcare duties if you work or go outside the home. People 65 years and older are at higher risk of severe illness with COVID-19 and they increase that risk by being around children who may be ill with mild symptoms or even may be asymptomatic. However, they may feel alone or disconnected during social distancing, so keep up communications through phone calls, texting, or video chats. If you choose to visit in person, lower their risk by hosting an outdoor cookout or taking a “6 feet apart” walk. AAP June 2020
Working from Home: The following are age related recommendations for working alongside your child.
The New Normal: What will daycare and school look like?
Daycares and schools are making heroic efforts to educate and care for our children. They are taking temps, limiting class sizes, cohorting classes, requiring masks of workers and adding cleansing stations. Schools are entertaining all sorts of solutions many of which include back to class with online offerings. Despite all these precautions, don’t be surprised if you get a letter that may state that your child has been exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19). At the time of this writing, any exposure to a known case of coronavirus (COVID-19) requires a 14-day quarantine. Therefore, develop a backup plan in case family members go in and out of quarantine. If you or your child is at high risk, you may consider online school.
What to do if there is COVID-19 exposure?
If the exposure is directly with a person who is COVID positive, you and/or your child will be quarantined for 14 days. We can help you to determine if it is a true exposure. We are now able to perform COVID-19 testing at our office. At this time, we will perform either a nasal or oral swab on your child and submit the test to an outside lab. The test will check for presence of the COVID-19 virus from the swab. At the time of this writing, it is taking about 5-7 days before a result is known. In the near future, we hope to be able to perform a rapid test for COVID-19 in our office. A negative test does not necessarily mean that your quarantine will be shortened if it has been a true exposure. We support testing because it allows us to help control the spread of COVID-19 and protect ourselves and others. During the time of quarantine, it is extremely important for you to stay at home and limit interactions with others.
At this time, we are discouraging antibody testing for COVID. These tests are first generation tests and may not be specific for COVID-19. As a standalone test, they must be interpreted very carefully because we are still gathering information regarding immunity.
Please help your child to wear them. Masks should cover your child’s nose and mouth. Masks and hand washing are the basis for protecting ourselves and those around us. Your mask protects me and my mask protects you. For a complete exploration of masks, read the following. The healthychildren.org is a factual link geared towards children. The erinbromage.com link is a more communicative piece.
Follow live stats on the Collin County link below. 14 day decreases in numbers will be encouraging; sadly, our numbers are currently increasing.
Tip for the summer: Regardless of coronavirus (COVID-19), the sun still shines down on us here in Texas-so don’t forget your sunscreen when playing outdoors! We really don’t want to see you in the office for a sunburn!
COVID-19 Update for Week 4/06/2020
Happy Spring, West Plano Pediatrics Families! We continue to miss seeing our school-aged patients in the office, and hope that on-line school is going smoother for everyone this week at home.
Here’s a brief update on what’s new this week:
- We recently sent an email regarding what to do if your family might be losing health insurance. For many school aged children, we only see them once a year in the office- and these visits are important to measure growth and development each year. At these appointments, we screen vision/ hearing/ scoliosis/ TB risk, etc. Please call our office if you would like to schedule a well child appointment for your school aged child.
- Our staff has been compliant with universal masking, which means that we are wearing our face masks at all times in the office. In fact, we now have the ability to offer face masks for purchase to parents at the time of your child’s appointment. For those who are handy with sewing, here is a link which instructions for making your own facemask – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
- If you are concerned about your child having COVID-19, please call us at the office and speak to your child’s doctor so that we can triage and make the appropriate referral to a testing location that is suitable and safe.
- For our families with a newborn infant, we have designated rooms for your newborn visits while under 2 months of age, as well as a special lactation only room.
Tip of the Week: When your home-schooled children start to drive you crazy, take a big breath and start a joke-jar in your home. Laughter often dispels even the most heated tempers. When you hear a really funny joke, please share it with us when you see us again!
COVID-19 Update for Week 3/30/2020
As your physicians, we miss seeing many of you in person. To say the least, it has been an adjustment for all of us during this time of shelter-in-place. One glimmer of good news is that with social distancing and shelter-in-place, the rate of increase in COVID-19 community spread has slightly flattened. However, the anticipated peak of community acquired COVID-19 is April 15th, 2020.
Here is an update with what’s new at our office:
- For the weeks of 3/30/2020-4/10/2020, we will be seeing well check-up appointments from 9:00am-12:00noon. We will see any patient that is 5 years and under, and 11 years of age. We are continuing to vaccinate our patients to prevent other life-threatening diseases.
- Before arriving to your well check-up appointment, we are asking you to check both your own and your child’s temperature at home. To abide by CDC guidelines for prevention of community spread, if you or your child has a temperature of 99.6 or greater- you will be asked to reschedule and to stay home.
- As an extra measure of COVID-19 prevention, we will be taking temperatures for both the parent and the patient before entering our waiting room for all morning appointments.
- If you have been instructed to remain with your child for home isolation for 14 days, our office is ready to provide a letter of medical necessity for your employer. You may request this letter by phone or email. During home isolation, we strongly advise no contact with the elderly or other adults with underlying medical conditions.
- We are continuing to provide telehealth appointments to care for your sick child. Please continue to call our office to schedule these appointments, so that we may provide you with the best medical care during this time.
Tip of the Week: When feeling down or blue, think of at least one thing that you can be grateful for each day. Gratitude often brings along peace during difficult times. We wish you continuing good health!
Telemedicine Update for WPP Families as of 3/25/20
West Plano Pediatrics is happy to offer telemedicine services with Drs. Leon, Berger, Mix, Gair, and Adams. Our goal during the current COVID-19 pandemic is to keep our patients healthy and to continue to provide your children with high quality medical care. We believe that telehealth will provide a safe alternative to in-person visits in certain situations. If your child is sick, please call our office and speak with our nurses to determine whether a telemedicine appointment will be appropriate.
The telemedicine process is both convenient and simple. We utilize a template that is HIPAA-compliant, does not require downloading apps, and is compatible with all types of phones. Many insurances are now offering coverage for telemedicine. When scheduling a telehealth appointment, please be aware that most will be offered in the afternoon. At this time we will be offering appointments only for established patients.
As the COVID-19 situation unfolds, we realize that circumstances are continually changing. We encourage you to “like” and follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WestPlanoPediatrics/ as well as our blog https://westplanopediatrics.com/doc-blog/. We are updating these regularly to help keep our patients informed. As always, we remain your partners in caring for your children and will do our best to provide excellent care during this dynamic time.
COVID-19 Update for WPP Families as of 3/16/2020
As of today, President Trump has proclaimed the COVID-19 outbreak as a national emergency in the US, and Judge Hill has declared that COVID-19 poses an imminent threat of disaster to Collin County.
As your physicians at West Plano Pediatrics, we would like to keep you informed with the changing recommendations in order to keep your family and children healthy.
Current known facts about COVID-19: (1) now community-acquired, (2) spread by droplets and not airborne, (3) no reported deaths in children 10yrs and under, and (4) most children present with mild flu-like symptoms.
Starting today and for the next 2 weeks, we will be making these changes at our office:
- Routine Well Check-Up appointments
- We will be seeing only well children between 8:30 am-12:00 noon. At this time, we will no longer be seeing well children in the afternoons.
- If your child has fever or cough, you will be asked to reschedule.
- If your child has runny nose and cough, please check a temperature before arriving to your appointment.
- For the safety of your family, we ask that you bring only the child who has an appointment, and that siblings and grandparents remain at home.
- Sick appointments
- Any patient with fever and/or runny nose, cough, and sneezing will be offered the option of Telehealth with a physician or a nurse call. Our goal is to minimize community spread of COVID-19 by having you care for your sick child at home. When very uncomfortable with coming into our office, you may request for a Telehealth appointment.
- A Telehealth appointment will occur after the hour of 1:30pm and will be done by a physician via your mobile phone or computer. As your child’s physicians, we have access to your child’s medical records and know your child’s medical history. Please do NOT use the telehealth option from your insurance company because their physicians are probably not trained to treat children.
- If you will be bringing in your child to the office, we ask that only 1 adult accompany your child; and for siblings to remain at home.
- When arriving to our office, we ask that you have tissue readily available to cover your child’s nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Please dispose of the tissue in our covered trash container.
- Our goal is to put your child into an exam room as quickly as possible; but if the waiting room is full, we may ask that you wait in your car until an exam room is open.
- Office Cleanliness
- We will have deep cleaning of the office between 12:00noon – 1:00pm.
- We will continue cleaning of the exam rooms in between patients.
- Each night, deep cleaning will occur by the building custodians.
- COVID-19 Testing
- At this time, there are no test kits available to our office.
- In general, tests are done only on patients who meet CDC criteria, and those who are hospitalized with presumptive COVID-19.
- Please do NOT go to an ER or Urgent Care location requesting for COVID-19 testing. At this time, please call us with your concerns first.
COVID-19 Update for WPP Families as of 3/13/20
West Plano Pediatrics is here to help you care for your child. We are monitoring recommendations from the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), CDC (Center Disease Control), Children’s Medical Center and are in contact with the Collin County Health Department. Please know that we will continue to closely monitor the situation and evaluate additional measures to support your family as needs arise.
Based on what we know as of March 13, 2020, the following are answers to frequently asked questions:
- My child has a routine check up. What should I do?
- Arrive on time for your appointment.
- Reschedule your appointment if your child has a cough or a fever
- Please know that our well child appointments have always been scheduled at separate times from our sick visits.
- How do I know that my child won’t get sick going to your office?
- We have always used hospital grade disinfectant to wipe down surfaces between patients, provided alcohol dispensing units throughout the office and sanitized the waiting room during the lunch hour. We have taken the additional step of removing books from the exam rooms.
- Please bring your own entertainment since the well-loved books will no longer be available.
- Our goal is to allow you to wait mostly in an exam room and minimize wait time in the waiting room. Please notify the front if you have been waiting longer than 20 minutes.
- Arrive on time to minimize wait time
- My children are frightened by what they are hearing about COVID-19. What should I tell them?
- Please refer to our blog https://westplanopediatrics.com/doc-blog/covid-19/
- What should I do if my child has a cough or fever and we have been in contact with a suspected case of COVID-19 or recently traveled to an area affected by COVID-19 and got sick?
- Please DO NOT schedule an appointment at our office, instead; inform the staff and a nurse or doctor will return your call. Fortunately, in children, COVID-19 is mostly a mild viral illness that can be managed at home. Our nurses and doctors are happy to help you care and support your child at home.
- Avoid telehealth. Our nurses and doctors know your child’s history and are knowledgeable about the local situation and are in contact with the local health department and hospitals.
- How do I protect myself and my children from catching COVID-19?
- Act as if you have a newborn at home or that you are visiting a newborn. Remember those days: no crowds, no big events, no going out to malls, church or synagogue, busy restaurants, no one comes over with a runny nose even if they say it is “allergies” …
- The CDC recommends people wash their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth; cover their coughs and sneezes; disinfect surfaces regularly; stay home when sick and avoid others who are sick. The general public does not need to wear facemasks.
- For more answers to common questions, please refer to the helpful CDC site about children and COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/children-faq.html
As always, the doctors of West Plano Pediatrics wish you good health,
Drs. Leon, Berger, Mix, Gair and Adams