Current Environment:

COVID-19 Update

In the past few weeks we have started seeing more patients coming in with respiratory symptoms such as cough and runny nose, with or without fever. All of these “sick patient” visits were seen on the second floor through our back entrance, in keeping with our policy to keep our first floor safe for well patients. Most of these patients were tested negative for COVID-19. A history of exposure to COVID-19 is more predictive of a positive test in patients than those without an exposure history. Because of an increase in the number of positive cases across the state of Massachusetts, we are seeing a delay in the time for test results, now averaging 5-7 days.

For those who are interested in getting tested elsewhere, the link below is the Massachusetts COVID-19 test site locator:

By following the established guidelines and protocol of wearing masks, protective gowns and gloves, and hand-washing or disinfecting prior to examining a patient, we have so far been able to stay healthy to serve our patients. We can also see patients remotely via Zoom for patients who have access to MyChart, the patient portal. We strongly encourage our patients and parents to sign up for access to MyChart.

Because of the state mandate this year for flu vaccine for all students before December 31, we have seen an increase in the number of patients getting the flu vaccine. We encourage patients to call our office to schedule for the flu vaccine before we run out of the vaccine.

Even though there has been an increase in sick patients in the last 2 months compared to the summer, the number of sick patients is still less than the numbers in prior years. We have seen very few sick patients on Sundays. Therefore, we have decided that for this winter our office will be closed on holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year. A doctor will continue to be available on call for telephone advice on those days.

The Coronavirus vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna both showed very good protective effect against the virus, according to news reports. It is likely that at least one of them will be approved by FDA before the end of the year. Pfizer is also recruiting adolescents 12 years and older for a similar clinical trial of the vaccine to establish safety and efficacy in this age group. Many hospitals across the nation are helping in the recruitment of subjects, among them are Boston Medical Center and U. Mass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.

Some people already are questioning whether the vaccine is safe or necessary. Regarding the question on safety, the FDA will need to review the data and will give approval only if there have not been significant safety concerns. For those who already had the infection, they are unlikely to catch it again, so the vaccine may not be necessary for them. Those who are at high risk for catching the disease or at high risk for having a severe disease will be getting the vaccine first. Thus, the first-line responders and the elderlies will probably be the ones getting the vaccine first. Until one gets the vaccine, the recommended safety measures, such as wearing mask, washing hands, and keeping physically distant, remain the best protection one can do for himself/herself and for those nearby.

Have a safe Thanksgiving.

Pediatric Associates of Malden