updates are listed in bold. Last updated 3/25/2020
Dear West Side Pediatrics Families,
I am writing to update you on the rapidly evolving situation with the new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19). We are monitoring updates daily from the CDC and the Ohio Department of Health to take appropriate steps at our offices as needed. It is important and hopefully reassuring to know that children have some pre-existing immunity to COVID-19 due to their exposure to other viruses in the Coronavirus family that cause illnesses such as the common cold. The antibodies that children make after having a different strain of Coronavirus will both help prevent them from getting COVID-19, as well as help them fight off COVID-19 faster and easier if they do get it. Children are likely to have mild common cold symptoms if they contract COVID-19. However, due to the risks COVID-19 presents to elderly or immunocompromised patients, we are taking the warnings from health officials seriously to try to prevent spread of COVID-19 in the community. The health and safety of our patients and their families is always our highest priority.
Things you can do:
1. Try to avoid close contact with sick people (within 6 feet).
2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the crook of your elbow if a tissue is not readily available. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
3. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand rub (60% alcohol or higher).
4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
5. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs that can cause respiratory illnesses.
6. If your child has not already had a flu shot this season, call the office to get this scheduled. If your child is ill with influenza, they will be more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 and other illnesses. Protecting yourself and your family from the flu will help keep you healthy and allow your immune system to fight off other illnesses, such as COVID-19.
7. If your child has fever or cough, they should STAY AT HOME until they are fever free x 3 days and it has been at least a week since any of their symptoms started.
If you believe your family has been exposed to COVID-19 or might have COVID-19:
1. Stay calm and STAY AT HOME. The incubation period from exposure to symptom onset is 2-14 days. You can self-quarantine at home.
2. Call our office. We can schedule you a TELEHEALTH visit to discuss your risk factors, symptoms, and determine if you child needs further care (at an emergency room) or requires testing for COVID-19 (testing is still limited to children with severe symptoms).
3. Most COVID-19 illnesses can and should be treated AT HOME. There is no curative medication for COVID-19. The treatment is supportive. This means isolation, rest, fluids and fever reducing medications as needed. You should only seek in-person medical attention for worsening symptoms such as difficulty breathing, dehydration concerns, or a very ill-appearing child. Limiting contact with medical offices and emergency departments when not needed will also help limit the spread of disease.
4. Caregivers who have known exposure to COVID-19, fever or cough should NOT accompany a child to any type of visit at WSP.
5. Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 are answered by the CDC at the following link:
What we are doing at West Side Pediatrics:
1. Until further notice, our walk-in clinic is closed. This allows us to screen for COVID-19 risk factors. We are also closing at 6 PM nightly instead of 8 PM nightly due to low patient volumes right now.
2. We are seeing only well patients in the mornings. This includes well child exams, pre-ops, mental health visits/med rechecks. This is to ensure our well children can still get their vaccines and check-ups and medication rechecks, without needing to worry about being exposed to sick children or germs. You can schedule a TELEHEALTH visit for well checks in children over age 5 or any medication recheck appointment if you would prefer.
3. Sick visits will be seen in the afternoons only in either office or via TELEHEALTH at any time of the day.
4. Masks will be available upon check in at both office locations. If your child has flu-like symptoms, please place a mask over their nose and mouth when you arrive.
5. Our providers will also wear masks into rooms with patients who are exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
6. We will be screening for international travel or known COVID-19 exposure when you schedule an appointment. If you have traveled to a high-risk country in the past 2 weeks or been exposed to COVID-19, we will ask that you either schedule via TELEHEALTH or schedule after your 2 week quarantine has passed.
7. Since COVID-19 seems to be most serious in patients over the age of 60, we recommend that caregivers over age 60 only bring patients to the office if no other alternative caregivers are available. We also ask that all appointments (including well visits) be limited to the patient(s) and ONE healthy caregiver. Avoid bringing siblings who do not have an appointment unless no other childcare arrangements can be made. If you are sick, please attempt to find an alternate caregiver to bring your child.
8. Testing for COVID-19 is still limited. Children's Hospital DOES now have testing ability, but only for children sick enough to need emergency care or to be admitted.
9. We are disinfecting all exam rooms and all inanimate objects in exam rooms after every patient. We are also eliminating the waiting room. You will be taken to an exam room immediately after check-in. Lower patient volume allows us to do this right now.
10. If you are suggested to be seen either by telehealth or in the office by our staff RN, but are not seen, you will be billed for nurse triage.
Thank you for allowing us to help keep you and your families safe and healthy. Please contact us should you have any questions.
West Side Pediatrics