Dear Patients and Families,
COVID-19 is among us. This letter is to update you on current knowledge about the infection, practices intended to keep you healthy, and changes we are making in our office during this pandemic.
COVID-19 is spread by respiratory droplets from infected people when they cough and sneeze. Infected individuals may be contagious before they develop fever and cough, which develops within 2-14 days from exposure. As you have hopefully heard many times, proper and frequent hand washing is proven to limit spread by eliminating the virus. People should cough into their elbow or into a tissue and then discard it and as well as limit contact with public surfaces and not touch their faces.
Limiting exposure to large groups is pivotal to reduce the spread of disease. School closures and working from home are two important examples of “social distancing” in action. Please stay home as much as possible in the next weeks. When you must go out, strive to keep a distance of six feet from others to avoid coming into contact with infected respiratory droplets.
Although children, thankfully, have milder courses, they can also infect others who are more at risk, such as older adults, pregnant women, and individuals with chronic medical disease. As more tests are available and more people are tested, we will continue to identify more people who are infected with this virus. As our local health care system is not currently overrun as it is in other countries, we might not have passed a tipping point, and all extra precautions could help keep our community as healthy as possible.
Testing is currently being done by area emergency rooms at peripheral locations by appointment only. WE CAN NOT TEST FOR COVID-19 IN OUR OFFICE. Personnel who test require specialized protective equipment that is not available to non-sanctioned testing sites, such as local pediatric or medical offices. While tests remain limited, priorities for testing have been enacted by test sites. Highest priorities for testing include having a known close exposure to a person with COVID-19 infection, travel to certain countries in the last 14 days and symptoms that include fever, cough, and pneumonia. We can order tests, when appropriate, via phone triage. As tests become less scarce, indications for testing may change. For now, concern yourself less with the need to test if you don’t have the above risks and more with what you can do if you are infected to keep from infecting others, and call for advice if respiratory problems develop. Please check the CDC and NYS DOH websites for up-to-date testing recommendations. Importantly, patients who are concerned they are infected with COVID-19 are directed to call our office – do not visit without calling first.
At Delmar Pediatrics, we take the health and well-being of our patients and their families seriously. We continue to stay in touch with our local health department and follow the advice of NYS DOH and CDC and to work in collaboration with our local ERs and pediatric providers. We have taken care of generations of patients and are privileged to be trusted to advise and care for our patients. We also take the health and well-being of our staff and their families seriously. We implore you heed the above advice and take that of leading health organizations seriously and do your part to keep our community healthy.
Starting March 16, we will temporarily change the way we practice to better serve our patients during this pandemic. As we gather more information about the disease burden in the community and how our processes are working, we may continue to modify them. For now:
• All staff will wear masks. • One doctor will be assigned to see patients who require well visits. • One doctor will be assigned to see patients who require acute appointments • We will reschedule appointments for older patients who have non-urgent appointments, such as well-physical exam appointments at which immunizations are not given. • As soon as patients check-in, we will move them to an exam room, so no patients or parents will be waiting in the waiting room. • Sick patients are requested to wear a mask when they come to our office. • Families can check into our office from their cars prior to entering the office for appointments.
Our office is thoroughly cleaned every day. All magazines, toys, and books have been removed from the office.
Thank you for your support during this time. We will continue to do our best to care for our patients.
Wishing you and your loved ones good health,
- Delmar Pediatrics