CORONAVIRUS: VACCINES, TESTING, AND PRACTICE CHANGES
We are now offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine to ages 12+. This vaccine is being offered to our patients and their family members. In trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 100% effective in kids ages 12 to 15. And, the two-dose vaccine was found to be safe and effective for use in young adults.
To schedule an appointment please call us @ 301-933-6440 option 1. We are very happy to provide this long awaited service and hope that we can vaccinate many of our families!
We can perform the rapid COVID test in all four offices. The rapid test detects Coronavirus proteins. Samples are collected using a nasal swab with turn-around time of approximately 20 minutes. In most cases, we will also send a backup nasal swab to LabCorp or Quest for PCR testing (detects Coronavirus genetic material) per CDC guidelines.
The CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Maryland Dept of Health are recommending continuing child and adolescent well care visits according to the standard schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic. As you know, well child visits include important developmental, academic, and mental health screening, monitoring of growth, a thorough physical examination, vision and hearing screening, routine blood work, and vaccinations. If your child is due for a well-baby exam, a check-up, or a sports physical, please call today and schedule.
We are also available to see patients for many other needs. We are scheduling in-office visits for attention and behavior issues, mental health concerns, concussions, injuries, rashes, and all other non-contagious needs. For those that may be contagious, we are scheduling telemedicine appointments first – many needs can be handled during these virtual visits. If we determine during the virtual visit that a patient needs to be seen in-person, we see the patient later in the afternoon on the same day for testing or an exam either curbside (right outside the office), or in designated “isolation” rooms with air purifiers.
For everyone’s safety, we will be asking screening questions before scheduling appointments in the office. This includes whether you or your child has a fever, cough, sore throat, headache, fatigue, etc., and whether anyone in the house has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, has undergone testing for COVID-19, or is being quarantined for COVID-19. In most cases screening criteria are easily met. If screening criteria are not met, we can evaluate your child by telemedicine, or can reschedule the visit.
Other office policies instituted during the pandemic to reduce viral exposures of our patients, their families, and our staff:
● All appointments must be scheduled in advance. We have cancelled our walk-in hours.
● If your child has a mild cough, nasal congestion, low grade fever, or other symptoms of a viral respiratory illness, please schedule a virtual appointment. We will be happy to assess your child’s condition and discuss your child’s care virtually, with in-person follow-up as needed.
● We ask that everyone coming into our office wears a face-covering or mask that covers the nose, mouth, and chin. Please, no mask with valves.
● Once you arrive at our building, we request that you wait in your car, dial the office number, and press option 3 to speak to the front desk. The receptionist will “check you in” and take your cell phone number. We will phone you when your room is ready, and you will skip the waiting room.
● Our staff will wear masks for all interactions. Additional protective equipment includes gloves, gowns, and face shields.
● Providers are washing their hands frequently and are sanitizing their stethoscopes and other medical equipment after each patient encounter.
● We will continue our practice of thorough room cleaning between all patient visits, frequent cleaning of common areas, and professional cleaning of the entire office at the end of each day. Books, magazines, and toys have been removed from exam rooms to reduce viral transmission. Waiting rooms are now closed.
We thank all our families for their cooperation with these changes, and for their efforts to keep everyone safe.