COVID 19: Facts, Updates, Changes at DPC

March 17, 2020
by Dekalb Pediatrics

Please read this practice statement 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.

We are all now part of a national mitigation (lessen the impact) strategy to help keep our community safe. COVID-19, for most children, is a mild respiratory illness very similar to colds and other viral illnesses that are so common in kids. However, like any respiratory illness spread by droplets, children with mild illness may spread their infection to adults who may be more vulnerable.

This explains why many schools have closed and events have been cancelled. If we all help to slow down the spread of the virus, we can help save lives and not overburden our health care system.

What can you do?
• stay at home with mild illness until you are symptom free for 24 hours and have no fever for 24 hours
• practice social distancing – staying 6 feet away from other people; particularly avoid close contact with people who are sick
• 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.

The people at risk for more serious disease are not necessarily our pediatric patients, but those to whom they could spread the virus, including parents, grandparents, our staff and ourselves. We are being particularly vigilant to help protect the elderly, especially those with chronic underlying medical conditions, adults with chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease, and those who are immunocompromised.

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

1. We want ALL patients with RESPIRATORY SYMPTOMS– cough, fever, runny nose, sore throat – to CALL US BEFORE COMING to the OFFICE. We will help determine if a visit is necessary, and if so when and where. Telemedicine visits will begin 3/23.

2. We are putting a temporary hold on online “sick” appointments so we can screen patients first, and as a reminder we do not accept walk- in patients – all patients must call first.

3. When we do bring a patient in the office with respiratory symptoms or a sore throat, we will use only designated exam rooms and designated staff and use protective gear as recommended.

4. We are excited to announce that we are able to offer virtual telehealth visits, both to better screen patients with respiratory symptoms and to provide convenient visits from home for other appropriate medical conditions. Read all about it HERE.

5. At this time testing for COVID-19 is currently not available and not recommended for mild pediatric illness. WE CAN NOT DO TESTS FOR COVID 19 AT OUR OFFICE. In addition, NO COVID-19 TESTS are being done at CHOA.

6. Masks are NOT recommended for healthy, asymptomatic people.

7. Please bring only one adult to your appointment and leave siblings and grandparents at home whenever possible.

8. We will continue to see well visits, newborns, give immunizations (including the flu vaccine), and other non-respiratory pediatric concerns in designated rooms with designated staff only.

9. NEW As of 3/17 we will not have patients wait in our waiting rooms.  Patients will be greeted at the entrance and escorted to a room. We have spread out the appointments to accommodate this, however, if a room is not immediately available you will be asked to wait in the car. We we will get you when the room is ready.

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.  Here is a link to a power point presentation by the Ga Health Department.

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. 

Many of you have asked about play dates. There is no exact answer but this is a well written and interesting perspective to use as a guide.  Play dates – caution advised.

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

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