Concern about the spread of coronavirus continues to grow. Fortunately, children are less likely to become ill than adults if infected with the virus. As the story unfolds, Forest Hills Pediatrics will continue to keep you updated with the latest recommendations.
WHAT IS COVID-19?
Coronavirus was first identified in the 1960s, and strains circulate every year that cause typical symptoms of a mild cold. COVID-19 is a new form of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. The symptoms can range from mild to severe. 90% of cases have presented with early symptom of high fever, and 70% with a dry cough.
IS MY CHILD AT RISK?
Children may contract COVID-19, and present with symptoms of fever, cough, or difficulty breathing. However, for reasons yet unclear, the virus has not impacted children as severely as adults. Children typically have milder courses of illness or may even be asymptomatic.
WHAT IF MY CHILD HAS SPECIAL NEEDS?
Experts are recommending you take the same precautions you would for influenza or any other highly contagious respiratory illness.
HOW DO I HELP MY CHILD DURING THE PANDEMIC?
During this unprecedented time of school and work closures there are many questions about how to best care for our children. The American Academy of Pediatrics has put together resources on Positive Parenting & COVID19 and Working and Learning From Home During the COVID19 Outbreak.
WHAT IS FHPA DOING DIFFERENTLY DURING COVID-19?
We are using separate entrances and areas of our building to see sick and well patients. To help avoid spread of disease, it is our goal to keep as many patients as possible who are ill with fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms out of our office. Our usual walk-in clinic is closed at this time, and we are asking you to call our office in the morning so that we can triage your child. Please only bring your child to a well visit if they are truly well (please call us first if they are having fever or cough). Please have one healthy adult accompany your child, and no siblings.
We do have virtual visits available and plan to utilize them as much as possible so that we can continue to care for your family while minimizing potential exposures. You can call to schedule a virtual visit, or be seen during our "walk-in" hours.
The spread and extent of disease remains unknown as yet, so our office policies may be changing over time as things progress. We are grateful for your patience during this time, and will do our best to keep you posted with any and all changes.
IS THERE REALLY REASON TO WORRY? ISN'T COVID-19 NO WORSE THAN THE FLU?
COVID-19 is a novel virus, so much remains unknown as to the course it will take over time. However, we do know that many people (mostly older adults and those with medical conditions) have become ill quicky and required ICU care. When the number of patients requiring ICU care to survive exceeds the amount of ICU beds/equipment available, the mortality rate increases significantly. Other countries with fast spread of COVID-19 have had to make tough decisions about which patients to save and which patients would not receive further care. The goal of social distancing and quarantine is to slow the spread of the virus so that we do not overwhelm our healthcare system. While young healthy people are at very low risk of death from having COVID-19, if they continue their lives as usual, they risk infecting many in the vulnerable population who will suffer the consequences.
SHOULD I SEND MY CHILD TO SCHOOL WHILE COVID-19 IS IN THE COMMUNITY?
This is a very difficult question to answer and the conclusion will not be the same for everyone. The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly encourages in person education whenever it can be done safely but COVID activity and personal health risks need to be taken into consideration. The cdc has published a back-to-school tool to try to help families sort through the various issues. If your child is in a high risk category (chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, immunocompromised state, obesity, serious heart condition, sickle cell disease, type-2 diabetes, cancer), or you would like to talk with your primary care physician about the risk and benefits, please call our office to schedule a virtual visit.
HOW CAN I GET TESTED FOR COVID-19?
There are 2 types of test for COVID-19, a nasal swab to detect if you currently have the virus and an antibody test to tell if you had the virus in the past.
At this time, Michigan’s testing capability is expanding. If your child has symptoms concerning for the Corona virus, please read through the symptom checker advice. If you feel your child needs to be seen, or if daycare/camp/school/work requires a test, please use our virtual walk-in or call the office for an appointment with one of our providers. We can arrange to have your child tested at FHPA if necessary. For more details on testing after an expsoure, click here.
If your child has no symptoms but needs a test for daycare/camp/school, please call us during our regular business hours or send us a portal message. We can order the test through Spectrum and then you can go to anyone of Spectrum’s walk-in nares testing centers. Please be aware that we only respond to portal messages Monday through Friday 8AM - 4:30PM.
The anti-body test does not detect active infection. And at this time it is not known if you have the antibody that you are protected from a repeat infection. Because of the unknown, we are not currently recommending the antibody test. However, if you have questions about the anti-body test we are happy to arrange for a telehealth visit to discuss further.
We've received many phone calls regarding testing for COVID and what to do about possible exposures. Below are guidelines from the CDC which hopefully can answer some of your questions.
1. WHAT IF MY CHILD TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID?
- With symptoms: If your child tests positive and has any symptoms of COVID, he must remain in isolation for at least 10 days after the start of the 1st symptom. He is ok to come out of isolation after a minimum of 10 days, if the last 24 hrs are fever free (without fever reducers) AND symptoms are improving.
- No symptoms: If your child tested positive for COVID without symptoms (for example, a test done prior to attending camp), your child must remain in isolation for 10 days, starting with the date of the positive test. If symptoms develop during that time, refer to the "with symptoms" above.
2. WHAT IF MY CHILD IS EXPOSED TO SOMEONE WITH COVID (KNOWN EXPOSURE)?
First some definitions. The CDC defines a known exposure as someone who has had CLOSE CONTACT with an EXPOSURE.
- CLOSE CONTACT is defined as an individual who has been <6 feet from the exposure for >15 minutes. (irrespective of PPE worn)
- EXPOSURE is defined as being exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID, from 2 days prior to symptoms starting (or 2 days prior to testing if asymptomatc) until the positive person meets criteria to discontinue isolation (see above)
So, if your child has truly had a known exposure, then he must do the following:
- stay home until 10 days after the last exposure
- monitor for symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath)
- if symptoms develop, see criteria above (under part 1, positive with symptoms)
3. MY CHILD HAD A KNOWN EXPOSURE. DOES THE REST OF THE FAMILY NEED TO STAY HOME FOR 10 DAYS?
This one is trickier, but the short answer is no. Only the known exposure needs to stay home for 10 days. However, with young children one parent will obviously need to be home with the child. Try to limit exposures as much as possible in your home (for example, one parent could isolate themselves with the child, wear masks if they are going to be around other members of the family, frequent hand washing, frequent disinfecting, etc). A teenager or young adult could manage to isolate themselves at home.
4. WHO NEEDS TESTING? IF MY CHILD HAS A KNOWN EXPOSURE, SHOULD HE BE TESTED RIGHT AWAY?
If your child has had a known exposure as defined above, he must follow the guidelines listed in part 2 (eg, staying home for 10 days from last exposure). This does NOT change based on a negative COVID test (testing too early could result in a false negative). A COVID swab IS recommended for for a known exposure who develops symptoms.
5. MY CHILD NEEDS A COVID TEST PRIOR TO CAMP/DAYCARE/SCHOOL. CAN I GET THAT DONE AT FHPA?
We can order these, but please keep in mind they may not always be covered by insurance. It is also important to be aware that a negative test does not rule out the possibility that your child (or other children attending camp/daycare/school) could aquire COVID in the time between the testing and camp. If your child were to test positive on this routine screening, he would have to follow the guidelines in part 1 above (positive, no symptoms).
6. HOW CAN I ACCESS MY CHILD'S COVID TEST RESULTS?
Once Forest Hills Pediatrics has received and reviewed your child's test result, you can see and print the result from the patient portal. Once logged in, select your child's name from the list so that his/her name appears in large letters at the top of the home page. Select the "Patient Information" tab and then the "Labs" option at the left. Click on the COVID test and a printable page will appear. (You may have to use Control-P, or Command-P on a Mac, to print.)
7. HOW DO I SCHEDULE A COVID TEST THROUGH SPECTRUM?
8. WHEN CAN MY CHILD RETURN TO SCHOOL IF HE WAS COVID POSITIVE OR HAD AN EXPOSURE?
The Kent County Health Department has an algorithm for students with symptoms of or exposure to COVID. This is the algorithm that needs to be followed in order for students to have clearance to return to school. Here is general information from the CDC regarding operating schools during COVID.
New parking lot process
At FHPA we continue to innovate to keep our patients and staff healthy, as well as to make your appointment run as smoothly as possible. As always, please complete your survey(s) on the portal prior to your arrival. If you have concerns about COVID exposure or symptoms, call the office prior to your appointment.
When you arrive:
Text your child's name to 616-260-1709
Remain in your vehicle for further instruction
If you have done your survey, we will likely be able to quickly escort you to your exam room. If you weren't able to do your survey, we will contact you to screen you over the phone.
To ensure the proper medication is refilled, Forest Hills Pediatrics will no longer be refilling requests that come directly from the pharmacy. Please request your refills through our portal or you can call the office's prescription refill line at any time.
Is Your Child Sick?
FHPA is pleased to parter with the American Academy of Pediatrics and Remedy Connect to bring you an online symptom checker. This powerful tool provides guidance on evaluating your child's symptoms, managing different diseases, as well as lots of information on normal growth and development.
We know how frustrating it can be when searching for answers about your child's health -- wondering where to start or if the information you come across is credible. With the Is Your Child Sick? symptom checker you will have access to quality, up-to-date medical content courtesy of Dr. Barton Schmitt and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
You can access the symptom checker through our website, under the Health Information tab in the upper right hand corner.
Walk in has returned!
Now that we can safely see sick patients indoors, we have resumed walk in! We ask that you please text your CHILD'S NAME and "WALK IN" to 616-260-1709 and WAIT IN YOUR CAR for further instructions.
Walk-in hours are as follows:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday ~ 7:30am-9:00am
Tuesday ~ 9:15am-10:30am
Please note, our Walk-In Clinic is for established patients with new-onset illness symptoms. If your child is experiencing a more chronic problem or needs a physical or sports clearance, please call the office to schedule an appointment with one of our providers.