COVID 19: Facts, Updates, Changes at DPC

April 4, 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.

As of April 3rd we are all now under the shelter at home ordinance as part of a national mitigation (lessen the impact) strategy to help keep our community safe. All data so far continues to show that 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.

We are also quite certain that asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic adults and probably children can spread the virus unknowingly. This is the reason for all the talk about wearing face masks in public. Wearing a face mask, other than perhaps reminding you to avoid touching your face, will not protect you against Covid-19. However, it may prevent you from spreading it to someone else.

Schools have closed and events remain cancelled. It is not easy to stay at home, but if we all help to slow down the spread of the virus, we can help save lives and not overburden our health care system. It seems that in Georgia the number of cases are still climbing and we are still a few weeks from the peak.

What can you do?

Stay at home, exercise outdoors, go out only for essentials.

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

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.

If you or your child develops a fever and/or mild respiratory illness try to isolate until you are symptom free for 24 hours and have no fever for 24 hours.

Consider wearing a cloth mask in public.

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 in order to remain open and available to our families in the safest possible way.

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

1. We launched our telemedicine service on March 23rd and to date have done almost 300 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. 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 with one of our doctors or NPs.

4. If after a telemedicine visit 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 currently not available and not recommended for mild pediatric illness. WE CAN NOT DO TESTS FOR COVID 19 AT OUR OFFICE. In addition, NO OUTPATIENT COVID-19 TESTS are being done at CHOA.

We are keeping the office a “well” office and will remain open for other 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. If at all possible please wear a cloth mask to the appointment.

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.  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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