Overwhelmed yet? It’s still not Armageddon, but we are sure it is starting to feel that way for many of you as you watch the news, schools close, and businesses scale down or close. For most of this target audience (children and parents), coronavirus is much like influenza. For many of our grandparents and great-grandparents (for those lucky enough to have them) however, this coronavirus can be deadly.
Figuring out exactly how this virus is transmitted, how long it lives on surfaces, how long someone is contagious for, and whether folks can get re-infected are all matters of some debate at this time. What is clearly not of debate is the genie is out of the lamp, and whereas a week or so ago there were a few cases in our neighborhood, by the end of the week there may be thousands.
As cases are beginning to mount, the actions being taken in society are designed to protect those that raised and protected us when we needed it. While schools are closed, please don’t take your children to bounce houses, trampoline parks, or similar places where they are going to cross pollinate each other with viruses. The point of closing schools was to prevent just that. Minimize the number of contacts you have and be on honor system when not feeling well. Wash hands frequently. Keep your hands away from your mouth, nose, and eyes.
This temporary change in our lifestyles affects our feeling of freedom, never mind the obvious financial impact we will see in our homes and on local businesses. Make no mistake, this is going to a hardship for all of us. What we see now may stop quickly as the weather gets warmer. It may require full quarantine as they are doing in other countries. We won’t know until we know. The fact that China, a country with more than triple our population only had a few thousand deaths (this is a very low number relative to other illness – again, such as influenza), is very encouraging that we can get through this.
Some of you this past week may have noticed some changes we have made in the office to help with the situation. As the situation continues to evolve, so will we.
Currently we have:
- Segregated rooms for sick and well at all times
- Increased surface cleanings in all rooms throughout the day
- All employees with even mild cold symptoms will be asked to stay home
- No sick patients in the waiting room. Families call from the parking lot and are given a room number to go to directly.
- Asked parents to minimize who is coming in for the visit (less siblings and others tagging along)
- Using triage protocols and telemedicine to try to minimize those coming into the office
- Our telehealth platform should be live either today or tomorrow
- Instructions will be able to be emailed, but will also be posted on Facebook and our website (www.pedsfirst.com)
- Rescheduling of well visits for all patients over 2 years of age who do not have additional risks that make delaying their visit unwise
- Maintaining limited hours for the well visits we do perform to the morning and prior to see any sick children in the office
- Continuing segregation of rooms so that the rooms used for well child care are strictly used for that purpose
- We ask all families scheduled for a well visit to call ahead if there are ANY concerns their child might be ill at the time.
- For those well checks that are being rescheduled, we realize that once life resumes as normal folks will not be able to easily take off from work nor students from school. We will maintain non-typical hours to accommodate those visits on a temporary basis. We generally are not open in the evening or later on weekends so that we may spend time with our families. We will be seeing plenty of them over the next couple of months to compensate for that. In some cases, maybe too much (a little gallows humor).
We hope that the situation is not causing too much stress in your household. We are doing our best to assist all at this time. We know there will be all sorts of conflicting information. Some will be based on differences of opinion. Some will be based on having more updated data to make decisions with. We hope all stay safe throughout. Call us if you need us. We will continue to serve the community during this time as we always have. And please, please, please, keep your elders out of harm’s way.
-Peds First Pediatrics