Current Environment:

Well, we are halfway through January and, while COVID case counts in the community (and in our patients) are by far the highest they have been at any point in the pandemic, there is some encouraging evidence that perhaps the most recent COVID surge has peaked. We ask that you all remain vigilant and conservative, however, as the burden of disease is still stressing the schools and health care system of our state.

Two weeks ago, we communicated some updated and temporary office policies which were to be in effect until January 16, 2022. Our office COVID Task force met this week and decided to continue these policies for (at least) one additional week. Please refer to our e-mail sent on January 4, 2022 for full details. Briefly, the policies are:

  • guidelines for COVID management (including close contacts and positive tests) are posted on our website - please check there before calling the office for advice
  • nurses have been instructed to direct questions about COVID management to the webpage as all the information is present there
  • all behavioral health visits (including med checks) have been changed to virtual visits
  • all well visits for patients who have recently tested positive for COVID (or who have been exposed to COVID) changed to virtual visits
  • all sick visits for patients who have recently tested positive for COVID will be virtual visits
  • only one parent/guardian is allowed in the office for each visit (with the exception of the first newborn visit
  • all lab results (including positive COVID tests and throat cultures) will be reported on MyChart - we will not be calling with results
  • if your child tests positive for COVID, send us a message on MyChart - do not call just to inform us

Additionally, we would like to relay the following updates.

COVID PCR Swab Turn-Around Time

Due to the high volume of tests being completed, we are currently expecting our send-out PCR swabs to be resulted in approximately 5 days (and sometimes longer). The results are posted to MyChart as soon as they are resulted - we do not get the results before you. If the result is not available in MyChart, it is not available to us - please do not call for the results.

Quarantine is Crucial While Awaiting PCR Results

If you or your child have symptoms that are compatible with COVID (fever, cough, congestion, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, etc...) and have had a PCR test completed, it is critical that you remain quarantined until the results of the test return. This is true even with a negative rapid antigen test. We have had multiple individuals return to school before the PCR test returned, only to have the PCR test to be positive - exposing multiple classmates, teachers and community members.

A Positive Rapid Antigen Test Does Not Require a PCR Confirmation

An individual with a positive rapid antigen test is assumed to be infected with COVID and does not need additional testing.

A Negative Rapid Antigen Test Should be Confirmed with PCR if Symptomatic

Any individuals who has symptoms consistent with COVID and a negative rapid antigen test, should have a PCR swab to confirm this. Individuals should quarantine pending the results of the PCR test.

Cardiac Clearance Requirements for Children Age 12 and Older

All individuals age 12 and older who are diagnosed with COVID have a low risk of myocarditis in the days and weeks following infection. As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics (and other organizations) have stated that, following infection, a gradual return to activity is critical. Until late December, individuals were recommended to avoid all exercise until 10 days after onset of symptoms (or, from the date of positive test in asymptomatic people). With the recent change in isolation guidelines from 10 days to 5 days for mildly symptomatic people, there has been confusion regarding the timing of activity resolution with some schools still requiring 10 days and others requiring 5 days. We spoke with cardiologists at Children's Hospital who said that, while they prefer 10 days, the most important rule to follow is to return to play in a gradual manner - from the time of leaving quarantine until being allowed to fully participate in sports (ie: play in a game) should be at least 7 days. Children with mild symptoms (< 4 days of fever, chest pain, fatigue, etc. . . ) may be cleared via a phone call with nursing or virtual visit with a provider (if your school requires this). Children with more moderate or severe symptoms will require an in-office visit.

Please Get Vaccinated (and Boosted!) if You are Eligible and Have Not Already Done So!

Keep you, your family and your community safe! The vaccines remain far safer then the virus, even for children. We cannot encourage this enough.

Please Make Sure Your Children Wear Masks - Ideally Medical Masks or KN95 Masks

We continue to see individuals in the office not wearing masks. Medical masks (or KN95 masks) must be worn at all time in the office! Medical masks or KN95 are safer than cloth masks. Please set a good example for your children.

Lastly, in our last e-mail, we wrote about a rise in abusive behavior and mistreatment of staff members. Many of you reached out with messages of support and some even sent flowers and treats! We are very touched by your support. It should be said that, even with the rise of poor behavior, the overwhelming majority of our interactions with patients and families are wonderful! we feel lucky to be able to be in a position to work with you all and appreciate your choosing us. Ultimately, we are all in this together!

All of Us at Westwood-Mansfield Pediatric Associates