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COVID - Letter to Patients




June 12, 2020


Dear Families,


We are closely following trends as the spread of coronavirus infection in our region is slowing and local governemntal restrictions ease. In response we are planning adjustments in services we feel we can safely provide to our patients and families.


Our top priority is to be sure everyone is up to date on immunizations. If your child is due for immunizations (shots), please call to set up an appointment. We do not want your child to get behind on immunizations, leaving them unprotected from serious infections. To see if your child needs an immunization, you can check here: 2020 Childhood Immunization Schedule.


Plans to keep up with your child's routine care as well. We will continue to see babies and children who are due for shots or who may have other conditions that are better served with an in-office visit. This includes 4 and 11 year olds and some teens. We are able to provide all other children and adolescents with their regular check-ups by video-visits (or telemedicine). We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity so that your child doesn't fall behind in getting the care they need. Most   insurance companies have agreed to cover these visits as they would in-office visits: with no co-pays or shared expense. During a video visit check-ups we can review nutrition, development, behavior, chronic medical problems, refill prescriptions, and make referrals. But, if you prefer, we can arrange for any of your well child checks to be in person, and we will do our best to fit you in a safe manner.


WHAT ARE WE DOING TO KEEP YOU SAFE?

Our office is commited to keeping you and your family safe during this challenging time.


If your child needs an office visit for a routine physical or an illness, we want you to feel confident that we are taking all measures to make that visit as safe and brief as possible.


Here is what you can expect:


1.   Your check in process can be done over the phone or online, so that you will not be in our waiting room filling out forms. In some cases, we'll text you when your room is ready.

2.   In most cases, you’ll be escorted right to an exam room on arrival/ If you do need to stop at the front desk, floor markers will keep families 6 feet apart.

3.   Our goal is to keep the waiting rooms as empty as possible. We have removed many chairs from the waiting room to promote social distances. Books and toys have been removed.

4.   All surfaces in our offices are cleaned regularly throughout the day. Exam rooms are cleaned with disinfectant in between every patient.

5.   Most patients with illness are seen by telemedicine. All patients are screened for illness prior to their visit.  Those sick patients who need an office visit are seen separately from well babies and children coming for check-ups or shots.

6.   Our doctors and staff members all wear protective equipment. This will typically be a mask, eye goggles and gloves.


Ways that you can help:

If you receive our “well child handout” prior to the visit, please read it before coming. It is designed to  address many of the issue s that come up at your child’s age such          as safety, nutrition, and  development.

To maintain office safety for everyone: please notify us by phone beforehand if you, your child, or any household member or close contact has a known or suspected                  COVID-19 infection so our office staff can safely prepare for your visit. This includes anyone with sore throat, headache, cough, fever, diarrhea or vomiting, loss of sense            of smell and taste.

Without exception, all adults and children over the age of 2 are asked to wear masks to our office and keep them on throughout the visit. Of course, we'll understand if              the little ones wriggle out of theirs, but please give it a try.

We ask that only one adult come in with patients to the office visit.

•  To keep the waiting room as empty as possible, please don't arrive more than 10 minues before your appointment time.



      A note about testing and immunity:

        We’re getting lots of questions about the antibody tests now offered. Our bodies make antibodies when we get an infection so that we can fight it off next time it comes around. So, we should have antibodies to coronavirus if we’ve  had the infection. There are many strains of coronavirus, some of which cause common colds. Unfortunately, the available tests may show that you have antibody, but it may not be antibody to this coronavirus. So, a positive test doesn’t tell you that you are immune to the virus causing this pandemic. For that reason, we are currently not recommending antibody testing. This may change as we learn more about the te sts.

        Even if someone has had COVID-19, we do not know how long their antibodies last – and so we recommend the same cautions continue to be taken as those who have not had COVID-19. Handwashing  masks,care with exposure to others are still critical!

       We can refer your child for nasal swab testing for active coronavirus infection. Please call for a telemedicine visit if you have concerns that your child may have the infection or have been exposed to someone who does..

        Please visit our home page for answers to FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS. Another  useful resource for questions is Children’s National Hospital COVID hotline (202) 476- 5169 is open Monday through Friday from 8am-5pm.

        Please remember, while there are children in our region who are getting sick with the virus, most people who get COVID-19 have mild symptoms that go away on their own, and children are less severely affected than adults. But, as you know, the illness can be life-threatening to some people. It is still extremely important that we do all we can to protect ourselves and others from it. Get out and get some fresh air, but help your child avoid surfaces that others touch (like playgrounds). Keep your social circle restricted to those whose habits you know and trust.

       

       We are here for you when you need us! Stay safe and well,

        Your Children’s National Pediatricians & Associates family