Commonwealth Pediatrics 781-451-0072
Office Hours Monday - Friday: 8am to 5pm
Saturday & Holidays: 8am to 11am
Sunday: 8am to 11am
Commonwealth Pediatrics 781-451-0072
Office Hours Monday - Friday: 8am to 5pm
Saturday & Holidays: 8am to 11am
Sunday: 8am to 11am

COVID Updates | Commonwealth Pediatrics

We know you continue to have questions about COVID-19, and we are here to help. We frequently review the most updated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). In addition, we are pleased to offer COVID testing in our office. We know that your health and safety depends on access to reliable testing, particularly with persistent, highly contagious COVID variants in our area. Your child should receive that testing from the team that knows them best. Want to learn more? Here are our most frequently asked questions:

Are you still open?
Yes. Your health care is our first priority. We remain open on our regular schedule, as we have been since this pandemic began. Please continue to call us first with your questions and concerns.

Do you recommend COVID vaccines? Can my child get their vaccine in your office?
We strongly recommend that all persons eligible for COVID-19 vaccination receive both their doses as soon as possible. For pediatric patients, that currently means all children aged 12-17 (Pfizer) and 18+ (Moderna). We do not currently have the vaccine in our office, because we have a limited number of patients in the eligible age group. We expect to give the vaccine in our office when more of our patients are in the eligible age group -- likely in early winter 2021-2022. We will keep all our patients informed via MyChart as more data is available on this. In the meantime, we recommend all our eligible patients visit the state website to find a location administering COVID vaccines near them -- it’s safe, convenient, and what we did for our own kids!

Should I be coming for a well visit at a time like this?
Yes, now more than ever. Our office is a safe place to be. It is critical that children receive their routine vaccinations on time. Children who aren’t due for vaccines still need assessment of their physical, social, and emotional well-being. We do not recommend delaying well visits.

How are you protecting patients coming to the office?
We respect your concerns and have added additional safeguards to keep our office safe and healthy for all. In order to screen appropriately for COVID-19 risk while still providing critical preventive pediatric care, we have made the following changes in accordance with the most up-to-date guidelines available:

  • We cannot do well visits if you have any signs of illness. For this reason, all patients will be asked to complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire before arrival in the office. We cannot accommodate walk-in patients, or siblings added on at the time of check-in.
  • All people entering our office over the age of 2 must wear a face mask at all times in our office.
  • We encourage all patients to complete their check-in online through MyChart, where you can complete all necessary forms, questionnaires, and copays in a safe, secure, contactless manner.
  • We have eliminated our waiting room, so all families are placed into a private exam room immediately.
  • Our staff wears eye protection, face masks, and gloves for every visit.
  • One wing of our office is dedicated for patients with COVID-19 symptoms. It has a separate entrance off the waiting room, and has dedicated exam equipment which is cleaned thoroughly between patients. The other wing is for well patients. All rooms are cleaned between each visit, including all high-touch areas.
  • Only one doctor or nurse practitioner sees patients with COVID symptoms each shift, and they wear the following protective equipment during those visits: N95 masks, eye protection/face shields, gowns, gloves.

What do I do if my child has symptoms that could be COVID? What if they are a close contact of someone who has COVID? What if they are already vaccinated?
Don't panic, but please do call our office right away. Even though local rates of infection are low, your child should still be tested for COVID if they have COVID-compatible symptoms...even if they are vaccinated. We continue to see many patients with illnesses that are not COVID, such as strep throat or other viral illnesses. We can provide more thorough medical care than sites where patients are just swabbed for COVID. We will help you get an appointment in our office, where we will examine your child for other potential sources of infection, and run any appropriate testing (including but not limited to COVID). We will also make sure that sibling close contacts are tested at the most appropriate time (no sooner than 5 days after exposure). We provide testing in our office for patients of our practice, by appointment only.

Do you do testing so we can travel? What about testing for camp or sports teams or college?
We are able to test individuals who need testing prior to travel or sports/camp/school experiences. However, we reserve the right to limit this type of testing if we have decreased test supplies. Our first priority is testing patients who have symptoms or were exposed to COVID. As a reminder, testing does not ensure complete safety for these types of gatherings and does not eliminate the need for taking other precautions, like masking and vaccination.

What kind of COVID testing is provided? How long will it take to get results?
We can perform two types of COVID tests at Commonwealth Pediatrics. The first is a rapid molecular test (Abbott ID-Now, NAAT). The provider swirls a swab into the front part of both nostrils, and the results are available within 15 minutes. The second is a traditional molecular test (RT-PCR). The provider places a flexible swab inside one nostril and aims it toward the area where the nose meets the throat; it stays in for 10 seconds before removing. The swab is then sent to the hospital for testing. On average, this takes between 3-5 days to return results, though we may receive results sooner than that depending on the hospital's testing volume. Both of these tests are molecular tests and are acceptable for return to school and camp situations. Please check with your airline if these are accepted for international travel. We do not run any antigen tests in our office.

Can’t I pick which test I want done?
It’s very important that we give you the most accurate information possible when performing a COVID test. Faster isn’t always better. Based on your individual case, the provider will pick the test that is most likely to give you accurate, reliable results. Occasionally, we may not have access to rapid testing due to shipping delays from the supplier. We are making every effort possible on our end to make sure we have both types of tests available.

What if I think my child had COVID in the past? Will your tests show that?
Our tests only show if there is an active COVID infection at the time the swab is collected. Antibody tests can show if there is a past infection, but we do not recommend them at this time as they are not considered accurate.

If my child's test is sent to the hospital, what do we do while we're waiting for results?
For the health and safety of all, it is best if you act as though your child's test is positive until proven otherwise. The team at Commonwealth Pediatrics will give you thorough instructions on how to keep you and your family as safe as possible.

How do I know what to do with my child's results?
We know that making decisions about returning to usual activities can be challenging and are here to help. In a spirit of transparency, these are the most current guidelines for how to deal with positive and negative results: (Please keep in mind these may be subject to change as we continue to learn more about COVID.)

If your child tests positive for COVID-19 and had symptoms at the time of testing:
Everyone living in your household will be considered a close contact and will need to be tested, including vaccinated family members. Please visit www.mass.gov/gettested to locate testing for family members who are not our patients. Your child must remain in quarantine at home until ALL the following conditions are met: 24 hours with no medicines like Tylenol or Motrin and no fever (<100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) AND all symptoms are improving AND 10 days since symptoms first appeared.

If your child tests positive for COVID-19 and had no symptoms at the time of testing:
Everyone living in your household will be considered a close contact and will need to be tested, including vaccinated family members. Please visit www.mass.gov/gettested to locate testing for family members who are not our patients. Your child must remain in quarantine at home until ALL the following conditions are met: at least 10 days have passed since their COVID-19 test was collected AND no symptoms have developed at any time. If your child develops symptoms at any point, they WILL need to be retested.

If your child tests negative for COVID-19, had no known exposure to someone with COVID, and had symptoms at the time of testing:
Your child may return to all usual activities once they have been fever free for more than 24 hours without the use of Tylenol or Motrin AND their symptoms are improving.

If your child tests negative for COVID-19, but did have a known exposure to someone with COVID-19 at the time of testing:
This one is tricky…

Did your child have any COVID-like symptoms, even mild? If so, they must remain in quarantine at home until 14 days have passed from their last known exposure to someone with COVID-19, even though their test was negative. If your child develops symptoms at any point, they WILL need to be retested. We know this is challenging to hear. These guidelines are in place for good reasons that we are happy to discuss with you further.

Did your child have no symptoms at all? If so, as long as they were tested no sooner than 5 days after their exposure, they must remain in quarantine at home for a total of 7 days from their last known exposure to someone with COVID-19. They have to monitor for any symptoms and check their temperature every day from days 8-14, and WILL need to be retested if any symptoms develop in that time frame.

My family is really worried. How do I talk about this with my children?
We know families are tired, worried, and overwhelmed. We are here to help, and these tips can too: Simple reassurance. Remind children that researchers and doctors are learning as much as they can, as quickly as they can, about the virus and are taking steps to keep everyone safe. Give them control. It's also a great time to remind your children of what they can do to help – wear a mask, get vaccinated if able, wash their hands, and take care of their bodies by getting good food, sleep, and exercise. Watch for signs of anxiety. Children may not have the words to express their worry, but you may see signs of it. They may get cranky, be more clingy, have trouble sleeping, or seem distracted. Keep the reassurance going and try to stick to your normal routines. Please call us if you see this. Monitor their media. Keep young children away from frightening images they may see on TV, social media, computers, etc.  For older children, talk together about what they are hearing on the news and correct any misinformation or rumors you may hear. Be a good role model. COVID-19 doesn't discriminate and neither should we. Discrimination hurts everyone by creating fear or anger towards others. When you show empathy toward those who are ill, your children will too.