COVID 19: Facts, Updates, Changes at DPC

March 20, 2021
by Dekalb Pediatrics

Please read this practice statement, updated 8/23 including a TESTING UPDATE, and VACCINE UPDATE we have put together to provide accurate information, help you understand the impact of COVID 19 on children, and learn what we are doing at DPC to care for our patients in the safest way possible. We will continuously update with new information as it becomes available.

Since this pandemic began, we have learned and continue to learn every day more about COVID-19.  All data so far continues to show that COVID-19, for most children, is a mild illness, very similar to colds and other viral illnesses. Symptoms, like so many other viruses include fever, cough, sore throat, GI upset and fatigue. Older children have also reported a loss of smell and/or taste. Research is ongoing to determine the likelihood that children with no symptoms, and or children with symptoms and positive for COVID-19 spread their infection to adults or other children. We also have learned that some children with mild initial symptoms have some long term sequelae from Covid infections. MSIC is a post infection inflammatory reaction that affects a small number of children and presents with high fever  weeks after the initial covid infection.

We know for sure that the best way to get things under control and stop the spread of infection is for everyone eligible to get vaccinated (currently children over age 12), to wear a mask in public, practice social distancing and good hand washing, avoid crowds and stay home when sick. We are quite certain that asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic adults and possibly children can spread the virus unknowingly. The Delta variant is far more contagious than the initial strains.

8/23 The Delta variant has arrived at the same time we have seen a big uptick in seasonal viral illness (usually seen in the winter), school starting, less adherence to social distancing and mask wearing, and the approaching flu season. The back to school season has been difficult for so many. Exposures, quarantines and isolation are things we all thought were in the past, but are prevalent across age groups and school districts. We are here to help you sort through the guidelines, which can vary from school to school and be confusing.

See the full CDC guidance here. In summary:

Exposed: Exposed (no mask, greater than 15 minutes , less than 6 feet) unvaccinated persons should quarantine. A test should be done anytime if symptoms develop, or can be done day 5-7 after exposure. If negative quarantine can end after day 7. If no test is done quarantine is 10 days. An exposed vaccinated person should test on day 3-5, but if no symptoms can continue to be out and about with a mask, observing for any symptoms.

Symptomatic: Test if exposed at symptom onset. If not exposed testing may or may not be indicated – there are many other viruses going around. For mild symptoms observing, home care and staying away from others may be all that is needed. For anything more than mild symptoms call us.

Covid positive: Isolate for 10 days from symptom onset or positive test. May be out of isolation if symptoms resolved after 10 days. No further testing is indicated for at least the next 90 days.

We have learned that vaccination is the best defense and although there are many breakthrough case reports they for the vast majority have been mild compared to the unvaccinated cases that are filling up our hospitals. We can’t wait until we can start vaccinating the 5-11 year old age group – hopefully this fall.

What can you do?

Get vaccinated!  WE HAVE PFIZER VACCINE for 12 yr and above, parents, and community “friends” of DPC. Read all about it!

Practice social distancing – stay 6 feet away from other people whenever possible.

Take personal hygiene measures seriously, such as hand washing with soap for 20 seconds, covering a cough or sneeze, and keeping your hands away from your mouth, nose and eyes.

Wear a mask, covering your mouth and nose in public. (2 years and up)

What are we at Dekalb Pediatric Center doing to support you and this effort?

8/23 We have gone backwards and with the Delta surge are operating as a WELL OFFICE  inside our building.

All “sick” patients are seen virtually, or in the parking lot. We are being particularly vigilant to remain open and available to our families in the safest possible way. 

1. We launched our telemedicine service March 23, 2020 and to date have done over 8000 virtual visits! Learn more and download the app to get registered HERE.

2. We are putting a temporary hold on online “sick” appointments so we can screen patients first, and set up a telemedicine visit or phone advice. As a reminder we do not accept walk- in patients – all patients must call first.

3. ALL patients with RESPIRATORY SYMPTOMS – fever, cold, cough, sore throat are being scheduled for a telemedicine appointment or phone screening with one of our doctors or NPs.

4. If after a telemedicine visit or screening a patient needs to be seen it will be in the parking lot with the provider wearing full PPE, as recommended.

5. We are successfully using telemedicine for many other concerns, such as rashes, allergies, pink eye, GI symptoms, and behavioral health. Call for an appointment.

6. At this time testing for COVID-19 is recommended in certain situations. WE CAN NOW DO RAPID TESTS FOR COVID-19 AT OUR OFFICE.FOR SYMPTOMATIC PATIENTS we require a telemedicine virtual visit or phone screening first to decide if and when a test is indicated. If so, we schedule you to come to our parking lot at a designated time each day. One of the doctors will come to the car to obtain a nasal swab. Results are given in 20 to 30 minutes. FOR EXPOSED  ASYMPTOMATIC PATIENTS we will schedule a test 5-7 days after the exposure, and supply results and a letter for school.

We are keeping the office a “well” office and remain open for essential services that must be done in person. Following the AAP, CDC, and CHOA guidelines we are continuing to do well visits, immunizations, and newborn care, with the following measures:

1.We kindly ask that only one adult accompany the patient inside for an appointment. (Both parents, no grandparents for newborns)                 

2.The adult and child will be screened before entering the building for fever/illness/exposure.

3. Masks that cover your mouth and nose MUST be worn (age 2 and up) the entire time in the office.

4.We are not using the waiting room and we are spreading out the appointments to minimize your time in the office. Please complete the online portal forms prior to coming in.

Our staff is doing an amazing job at streamlining your visit, while practicing exemplary social distancing and hygiene measures. The office is obsessively and continuously being cleaned throughout the day.

We understand that there is a lot of uncertainty, messages that change daily, and no clear ending to what we are all experiencing. We feel that keeping up with immunizations, newborn care, care for kids with chronic conditions and mental health issues is essential. If you are anxious or unsure about keeping a well visit appointment for a child with none of the above issues, please call to discuss or reschedule for a few months down the road.

We are here and available to work with you through this public health crisis, answer your questions and provide accurate information. Our sources are the CDC website which is embedded on our website and updates regularly, WHO, and locally CHOA and the Ga Dept of Public Health.

Please check these sites first and then call if you have additional concerns.

In addition, here is a link with resources you may find helpful to reassure children about COVID-19. 

We continuously update policies as as new information becomes available. Please remain flexible and patient, and check back here often. We will get through this together. Thank You!

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