Dear P.A.W. Family,
The ongoing pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives. Parenting - a hard job in the best of times - has taken on added difficulty in ways we'd never imagined. We appreciate that many of you may be under financial burdens and other powerful stressors. The staff and doctors of Pediatric Associates hope we can be a reliable, informative and supportive presence.
We want to update you on our COVID -19 care. We remain vigilant in keeping our office clean and as risk-free as possible. It is safe to come for routine well-child care. All children who are ill begin care with a virtual visit. If needed, an in-person exam can then be scheduled when exam rooms can be even better cleaned and rested.
We are proud to be one of very few primary care practices in the area to perform convenient, drive-up COVID-19 testing for our patients. We now perform anterior nare PCR tests (not the "brain biopsy" ones); results come back between one and three days. We can also test for strep or influenza at the same time. Please be aware that you must call our office first to arrange a test.
Here are some guidelines to help you understand the timing of tests:
If your child is ill, please call the office for a virtual appointment so we can determine whether and when a test is needed.
If your child has COVID-19, she/he/they are contagious from two days before until ten days after the onset of symptoms (provided they have been fever-free for 24 hours). Follow-up testing is not routinely recommended because a test may remain positive for 90 days after a diagnosis of COVID-19.
If your child has a known exposure to someone who has COVID-19 (that is, has been within six feet for more than fifteen minutes without masks), your child should stay home and be tested on day five. If the test is negative, the quarantine ends on day seven. The day of exposure counts as day zero.
If someone in your house tests positive for COVID-19:
If the affected person is old enough to quarantine within your home (no unmasked contact with family), others should be tested on day five. If the test is negative the exposed person's quarantine ends on day seven. The most recent day of contact is day zero.
If your children are young and cannot be isolated from the affected person, they should be tested on day fifteen after the onset of symptoms of the person with COVID-19. If the test is negative, their quarantine ends on day seventeen. (An example: Jack and Jill are young siblings. Jill gets COVID-19. She is contagious for ten days after the onset of her symptoms. The last day of her being contagious counts as the first day of Jack's seven-day quarantine. Jill can go back to school on day 10, but Jack cannot go back until seven days later after he gets a negative test five days into his quarantine)
If your child needs a test to return to college or before travel, we can perform this during one of these swab sessions. Please know we charge the lowest office/physician charge possible and you may also be subject to laboratory charges from the hospital.
This is all a bit confusing and exasperating. This is why we ask you to call the office first to schedule a test. Our front staff will ask if your child has any concerning symptoms or if you have any questions. If either answer is "yes" we will have you speak to one of our nurses. We ask your patience as our team helps you navigate this - we are all trying to help you and do justice to the public health mandates from the state. As you can imagine, our call volume is high and many have many questions.
A few last points about COVID-19:
We do not yet know when a vaccine will be recommended or available for persons under 18 years of age, regardless of their health risk. When it is available, we hope to offer it at P.A.W.
Some teams and schools require sports clearance for anyone who has had COVID-19. We are happy to see anyone for whom this is a requirement, yet we believe it is only necessary for anyone who had symptoms of significant cough, shortness of breath or fatigue for more than ten days. We recommend that anyone who had any symptoms of COVID-19 return to sports slowly over the course of a week.
And, finally, some good news: experience now suggests that kids, especially those younger than ten years old do not readily spread COVID-19 to one another. If they get it, they tend to get it from adults. While every family must judge risk for themselves, these data suggest that masked play-dates, especially outside, are safe. Friends, play, and fresh air are all vital to children's (and parents') good health and happiness.
We all know that the next few months will be hard. We are all tired of this pandemic and the cold weather will only add to our "cabin fever." Still, we hope you have found fulfilling ways to enjoy some of the extra time "forced" on you. (Do you remember all the driving around from this practice and that lesson?) Perhaps your family adopted new games or rituals, or maybe there's a show you all enjoy together now.
All of us at Pediatric Associates send you strength and comfort. Please know we dedicate everyday to your childrens' health and we are honored to be a part of your family's journey.
With hopes for good health and better times,
The Staff and Physicians of Pediatric Associates of Wellesley
Here are the steps we’ve taken to make your visit to P.A.W. safe:
We reserve the morning and early afternoon for well child visits only. The office is cleaned and left empty for 14 hours prior to this session.
We manage sick patients with fever, sore throat, or cough by video virtual visits first, and if a patient who we suspect has any infection must be seen, s/he/they are seen outside the office in a “car visit" or inside during our evening hours if the space allows.
We continue to see non-infectious sick visits – headaches, injuries, mental health and behavior, etc. through virtual or in office during sick time.
Morning or afternoon, every room is thoroughly cleaned before it is used again.
When families come into the office, we minimize any interactions with the staff
you will talk with the front staff through the glass to check in and all payments/interactions are being mailed home and not taken at the desk.
The waiting rooms are closed and you will be escorted into a room directly. We ask that you call from the car when you arrive- so that we can inform you which room to go to when we are ready.
Finally, our entire staff wears masks the entire time they are in the office in order to minimize any spread of COVID19.
We feel strongly that we all do our part to keep the COVID19 pandemic from becoming the cause of other infectious outbreaks. As such, the 2, 4, 6, 12, 15 and 24 month as well as four- and eleven-year old appointments are of particular importance.
Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself and Your Family
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if not able to use soap and water.
- Avoid touching your face, mouth, nose and eyes with unwashed hands
- Wear a mask or face covering that cover both your nose and mouth when indoors or unable to socially distance >6 feet outdoors.
- Stay home if you are sick
- Follow the recommendations of your local School and Public Health Board
- Avoid public gatherings where you must be within six feet of others for more than fifteen minutes.
- Remember the basics: eat well, get sleep and get exercise.
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