COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Update as of March 28th:

As this pandemic moves towards its peak, we continue to have reassuring statistics about the impact on the pediatric population. In Maryland, only 1.2% of positive tests for COVID-19 have been in children.  Children’s hospitals across the country are reporting a distinct decrease in patients in their intensive care units, and almost no admissions for children with COVID-19. This is reassuring for parents, as although chronic illness is said to put people at higher risk, this does not seem to be the case for children with chronic illness so far. In the medical community we are hungry for more data about this virus and disease, as ultimately this will help us care for our patients.

Here at Annapolis Pediatrics, we know that the presence of COVID-19 does NOT stop the presence of other viruses, infectious diseases, and general childhood illness. We remain committed to providing exceptional care for every child in our community of families. Please see our updates (below) regarding hours, both of VIRTUAL VISITS, and in-office visits.

We anticipate that COVID-19 will continue to become more prevalent, perhaps among children in the coming weeks. Although children do have milder illness, they can still have fever, cough, and runny nose.  So far, there is no way to distinguish on exam if the symptoms are from COVID-19 or from one of the many other viral illnesses that circulate all year. Testing can determine this, but testing does NOT change the course of illness, as there is no specific treatment. We are happy to schedule a Virtual Visit if your child has symptoms that you are concerned about. It is possible that your child may have COVID-19, and we will most likely NOT recommend testing.

Here are some important guidelines to follow if you, or your provider, decides your child may have COVID-19

We understand that it is very frustrating not to be able to quickly test for this virus – we remain hopeful that this situation will change! Until then, available tests need to be prioritized for those who are hospitalized, as well other high-risk situations. Please call us for guidance, as well as directions for accessing a testing site, if that is determined to be necessary.

We are continuing to vaccinate young children on their usual schedule, so if your child is age 4 or under, and has a regularly scheduled appointment coming up, expect a call from us a few days prior to that appointment. We consider vaccination to be an ESSENTIAL service that we need to continue providing – someday we hope to add a COVID-19 vaccine to our arsenal to prevent disease!

We are seeing well-child appointments in our Crofton office all day, and on Kent Island in the morning only, as we are making every effort to keep those offices as ‘clean’ as possible from COVID-19 exposure.  All sick visit that the virtual provider decides needs to be seen, will be in our Annapolis office all day, and Kent Island office in the afternoon only.

Don’t be alarmed to see your provider and clinical staff wearing a mask and eye protection during your visit! We know this can sometimes be alarming to children, but we are doing our best to keep BOTH you and ourselves healthy.

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Update as of March 24th:

OUR GOAL IS TO KEEP ALL OF OUR PATIENTS & STAFF HEALTHY and therefore we have implemented additional safety precautions and procedures to keep our offices as safe as possible for everyone.

FOR THIS REASON, PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE BEFORE COMING IN IF YOUR CHILD HAS A FEVER AND COUGH AND HAS BEEN DIRECTLY EXPOSED TO SOMEONE WHO HAS TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 OR IF YOUR CHILD HAS TRAVELED TO CHINA, EUROPE, SOUTH KOREA, IRAN, JAPAN, IRELAND OR THE UNITED KINGDOM IN THE PAST 14 DAYS.

We are glad that we are able to provide VIRTUAL VISITS for our patients during this time to keep continuity of care for families.

In order to continue providing the best care and a safe environment for our patients who NEED to be seen in our office, we will be implementing the additional office changes below:

Effective Thursday, 3/26 and onward –

~ All walk-ins will be CLOSED. Please call ahead to schedule a virtual sick visit if your child is not feeling well.

~ ONLY our Annapolis, Crofton and Kent Island offices will be open for patient visits going forward.

~ For the safety of our staff and patients, we are limiting ONE parent to accompany each patient in the waiting room.

~ Our Edgewater and Severna Park offices will be closed to the public, with no administrative staff available for assistance.

~ ADHD and behavioral health visits will be offered virtually

The following well visits are the only ones that we can currently see in our Crofton and Kent Island offices, as they involve important vaccines and screenings that cannot be postponed:

~~ Newborn
~~ 1 month
~~ 2 month
~~ 4 month
~~ 6 month
~~ 9 month
~~ 12 month
~~ 15 month
~~ 18 month
~~ 2 year
~~ 4 year
*Please note, this has been updated in the past few days.

If you have an upcoming well visit in the next few days, you will be receiving a call from us. If you have specific concern that you were planning to discuss with your provider at an upcoming well visit, please give us a call and will still be able to offer a virtual visit.

Thank you again for your patience and understanding as we work to serve our community in the safest way possible.

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In addition to updating our community on our office operations, we can provide some brief updates on the disease now known as COVID-19:

  • COVID-19 has now been diagnosed in all fifty states in the US, and community spread is occurring. The Maryland Department of Health website has the most accurate information on cases in Maryland: coronavirus.maryland.gov
  • The incidence in children remains low, but not zero. Studies from China continue to demonstrate that the symptoms are less severe in children, but all ages are vulnerable.
  • Most experts believe that the number of cases will continue to rise in the USA, but no one can predict how many or for how long this will happen.
  • China has now seen a distinct leveling in the number of new cases, which is encouraging for the rest of the world.

There are two issues we want to highlight:

• Testing of asymptomatic yet exposed children:

Currently, it is NOT recommended that a person without symptoms get tested, even with a direct exposure to a known case. A negative test without symptoms does NOT mean your child will not have COVID-19, as the test is not sensitive enough to pick up very early disease. Even with mild symptoms, the Health Department does not recommend testing immediately, as most cases, especially in children are mild and self-limited. As above, please call us first for guidance in these situations. You will likely be asked to quarantine at home until symptoms pass.

• Quarantine at home:

What does this mean? Think about the fact that you are trying to limit the spread of your child’s illness. You should not have your child play with other children, and limit exposure even within your family, especially to the elderly and other more vulnerable people. Most of the quarantine guidelines do NOT specifically address children in a household, which we know is very different from an adult! We all do the best we can, and being outside is of no risk to anyone, and healthy for all!

Because we consider vaccination and well child care so critical to the health of your child, we are making every attempt to continue our regularly scheduled appointments in every office. We are being flexible and innovative in practicing and encouraging social distancing within our office environment! Please see postings and signage within our office for ongoing details about this.

Unfortunately, children will continue to have other issues and illnesses that are much more common, and we are here to help you, as we always are.

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Here are a few basic facts to help understand this outbreak, and how it might affect your family:

  • Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that are well known to us, and commonly can cause typical cold symptoms.  They usually circulate in the colder months.
  • COVID-19 is the disease caused by this novel coronavirus.  It was noticed in the Wuhan District of China a few months ago, after a cluster of deaths and illness that appeared to be similar.
  • Because it is a new strain, we did not have any data about how it will circulate, who will get sick etc.  This has led to concern and anxiety world-wide about how it will spread and who will be affected.
  • So far, it appears to be a mild illness in over 80% of people who are infected.  In addition, children particularly are LESS affected with symptoms.
  • However, in the elderly and others it can cause significant respiratory illness and other complications.
  • We do not know the true mortality rate yet, but we do know, so far it is higher in older people, and is higher than the death rate for Influenza in this elderly population.

Symptoms:

  • COVID-19 symptoms will include cough and cold symptoms, probably with some fever.  Experts think that in most people, especially children it will look much like any other cold!
  • There is no specific treatment at this point, so you should treat these symptoms like any other cold virus – fever control as needed, plenty of fluids, and rest.
  • You should CALL OUR OFFICE FIRST if you think your child needs to be seen, and if your child had a possible exposure to COVID-19.  We want to care for your children, while being cautious about exposing other children and our staff.
  • As with other illnesses, we will likely advise your child to be seen if they have any respiratory distress (fast breathing or difficulty breathing), ear pain, dehydration, prolonged fever, or any fever if under 2 months old.

Here again is the list of precautions that ALL experts and health care providers are recommending:

  • Wash your hands!
  • Cover your cough
  • Wash your hands!
  • Stay calm
  • Wash your hands!
  • Get a flu shot – many people are coming to Emergency Rooms and health care providers worried about COVID-19, only to find out they have influenza, which might have been able to be prevented AND has been causing much more disease for months!

We know this is rapidly evolving situation, and we will do our best to supply you with the most accurate information that we can.  Together as a community we can hopefully slow or stop the spread of this virus.

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