“Pandemic” Office Hours
|Starting Nov 2 – Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Limited number of patients without history of COVID exposure.|
|Monday-Friday – Morning and Afternoon. Sick and Well exam rooms are designated separately. By Appointment Only|
|Available if needed – arranged on a case by case basis.|
|By appointment only – please call 8:30 – 10:30 am if your child needs to be seen.|
As we move into more of a recovery phase of this pandemic, we’re seeing more and more signs of our community looking a bit more like it did prior to all of these events.
As this process moves forward, we will continue to look to the CDC and their guidance for the best practices for safety around our office. We will continue in segregating well and sick patients, thorough sanitization and wearing masks.
You may realize that your child has fallen behind on routine checkups during the pandemic. If so, it is a great time to catch up with a wellness visit before we hit the rush of “back to school” time at the end of the summer.
As the COVID-19 vaccine rolls out for younger age groups, we will be monitoring the recommendations and data as we advise our patients and their families about this important protection. There is more information below, but we are strongly recommending our patients to receive this important vaccine.
With the current coronavirus pandemic upon us, many of our patient’s parents have questions and are looking for guidance. We’ve learned that the situation continues to change regularly. We will be keeping the information posted here as up to date as is possible.
Our country and our city are moving toward covering more and more people with the COVID-19 vaccine. This important preventive immunization has already reduced the number of cases of COVID-19 significantly. As more and more people are immunized, those numbers should continue to fall and with that we expect for live to move to a post-pandemic state. We continue to look to the public health officials for guidance about the advice that we give our patients.
Thankfully, we can now say that COVID-19 has proven to be less serious in children. Most of our patients who had the illness, had mild courses. That said, we have had patients who were more seriously or significantly affected by this virus. That is why we continue to take steps in our office to protect our unvaccinated patients and encourage all of our eligible patients to receive the vaccine as soon as is possible.
Of course people have questions. We’ve put together a list of some of the most common things people are calling about and have answered them here.
The COVID-19 vaccine is becoming available for more and more children. Should my child be vaccinated?
The short answer is, Yes.
All of the pediatricians at Laurelwood are strongly recommending the COVID-19 vaccine for almost all of our patients. Although this illness has been mild for most of the pediatric patients who have been infected, we have seen several children who had more severe, or more prolonged cases of COVID-19.
In addition to the benefit of protecting your child from potential complications of COVID-19, fully vaccinated individuals who are exposed do not need to quarantine. We anticipate that vaccinated children will be able to participate in school for the 21-22 school year much more consistently.
Although the details are far from clear at this point, having a high percentage of student vaccinated, will allow reduction in masking and distancing requirements that have made school difficult for this academic year.
It is important to note that the COVID-19 vaccine should not be given within 2 weeks before or after receiving any other vaccine. Remember this when scheduling routine checkup appointments that may require vaccinations (typically around 7th grade and 12th grade).
If you have questions about vaccinating your child, please speak to your pediatrician!
Will Laurelwood offer the COVID-19 vaccine?
So far, the only COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved for anyone under 18 years old is the Pfizer vaccine. This particular vaccine requires ultra cold storage that we are not able to provide in our office. So for now, we are recommending that our eligible patients receive the vaccine at any public site or pharmacy. Thankfully, there is very good supply of vaccine, and you should be able to find appointments or walk in opportunities easily available.
You should remember, that children under 18 will have to have parental consent to receive the vaccine.
I heard early morning walk in visits are coming back. What are the details?
That is true. As of November 1, we are restarting limited early morning walk in visits. These visits are from 8:00 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. Children who have acute illness and need to be seen early in the day may utilize these times. As is usual, during these times, you will see any one of our providers depending on which of them is available that morning. Of course, it is always fine to call and ask for an appointment with your primary physician during the regular office hours.
Early morning walk in is NOT APPROPRIATE for patients who have had exposure to COVID-19. For those patients, we ask that you make an appointment later in the day so that safety precautions may be maintained.
During the pandemic, early morning patients and families will be screened regarding any exposure to COVID-19 and all family members will have temperature screenings as well.
Are you doing testing for COVID-19 at Laurelwood?
We now have Point of Care testing available with rapid (about 15 minute) tests available for our patients. We can do rapid PCR tests or rapid antigen tests depending on the circumstance. Your pediatrician can help you understand which one of those may be best for your child.
If you feel that your child needs a COVID-19 test, please make an appointment with your pediatrician. During that visit, we can evaluate the history, any symptoms or exposures, examine your child, and give you guidance about the test as well as administer the test. In addition, we will also be looking for other non-COVID-19 reasons for your child’s symptoms and treat them as appropriate.
COVID-19 testing does not require a deep nasopharyngeal (NP) swab and our tests are specifically designed to be run on swabs from the front of the nose. This procedure is far less uncomfortable than the deep swabs that were commonly done earlier in the pandemic.
At the time of your visit, you may end up leaving our office before the results have come back. If so, we’ll call you within the hour. If you need results to show to your work or your child’s school, we can print these or provide them electronically.
My child was exposed to COVID-19. Do they need a test?
People who have been exposed to COVID-19 should isolate from others for 7-14 days after the exposure. If the individual has a negative test on or after day 5, they can typically leave isolation after 7 days. Children who have been exposed to COVID-19 and have symptoms should be tested even before day 5.
If you feel that your child needs to be tested, you may make an appointment but please be clear with our staff that there has been an exposure so that we can make sure that we can see your child in the safest way possible.
Are Saturday morning visits available?
Yes, we have restarted our Saturday morning sick clinic. These appointments are for sick children only and available by appointment only. If your child needs to be seen on a Saturday morning, please call that day from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. and we will arrange a time for you to be seen by the pediatrician who is on call that weekend.
My child is sick but attending school in person. Does he need to be checked before returning to school?
Throughout the school year, most schools adopted protocols requiring COVID-19 testing if children had certain groups of symptoms. We continue to follow the guidelines that LeBonheur has published about returning to school as safely as possible. These guidelines categorize symptoms as higher risk or lower risk for COVID-19. The higher risk symptoms include: fever, shortness of breath, new or worsening cough, and loss or taste or smell. The lower risk symptoms include: sore throat, nasal congestion, vomiting / diarrhea, muscle ache, headache, and fatigue. If your child experiences one higher risk symptom or two or more lower risk symptoms, they should be evaluated by the pediatrician. If a non-COVID-19 source for the symptoms is identified, the illness will be treated appropriate. Otherwise, a COVID-19 test will likely be done.
Individual situations are always unique, so contacting our nurse or speaking with your pediatrician can help clarify these recommendations for your child’s particular case.
Should we come to Laurelwood to have my child's checkup?
Yes. Now is the time to start catching up on important wellness visits and vaccines that were missed due to the recent restrictions.
We have taken new measures to protect our healthy patients who come in for their checkup visits. Not only do we have separate waiting rooms available, but also we have designated exam rooms as “well only” to make sure that we limit potential risks. We are also scheduling well visits only in the morning times with sick visits in the afternoon. Our doctors and clinical staff are wearing masks to help avoid the possibility of asymptomatic exposure as well.
During this time, please minimize the number of family members who accompany your child to the visit.
My child has a cough and a fever. Should I come to Laurelwood to get it checked out?
Most of the children that we are seeing have routine childhood illnesses. If your child is sick, we advise that you generally treat the illness just as you would normally. In other words, if you would typically come in to have these symptoms checked by the doctor, you should treat this illness similarly. If you feel that observation is appropriate you may continue to treat symptoms at home as well. If you need help making that decision, you may call the office and ask one of our nurses.
If you are specifically concerned that your child may have coronavirus infection, please call and speak with one of our nurses. We may be able to test your child for Coronavirus in the office or in our parking lot, but we will want to talk with you about the details before your visit to make sure that we can test in the safest way possible.
Should my child wear a face mask?
Yes. Facial coverings are a key part of preventing the spread of Coronavirus. Local requirements are changing rapidly, but despite these changes, please remember that the CDC still recommends masking for all individuals over age 2 when indoors with people outside of their household. Some exceptions to that guideline are starting to come out regarding vaccinated individuals. these can be found on the CDC website.