Why Forest Lane Pediatrics is Still Open &
How We are Keeping our Staff and Patients Safe
In the midst of a worldwide pandemic and local orders to “Shelter in Place,” it is appropriate to question why any business remains open and whether or not it is safe to go there.
Why is FLP still open?
- Medical clinics are considered essential businesses. Ensuring the delivery of newborn and well-child care, including immunizations, remains a priority according to the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Aside from the threat of Coronavirus, there are other serious health issues and vaccine-preventable illnesses that will continue to affect children. As per the CDC’s guidance, we are continuing to see children aged 2 years and under for those Well Visits where vaccines are due. While we need to socially distance to protect from Coronavirus, we also must maintain optimal health for our young children. Well Visits for older children will be rescheduled as soon as it is safe to do so.
- Kids will still get sick from other infections and illnesses. Unfortunately, all of the usual childhood illnesses and infections didn’t get the message that they are supposed to take a break right now. We will continue to remain open so that we can continue to care for our patients in their time of need.
How is FLP keeping their staff and patients safe?
COVID-19 infection is still relatively new, but we now have months of information about the virus and how it spreads. This particular strain of Coronavirus is so dangerous because it can cause severe illness, lives on surfaces for several days, takes 4-9 days for infected persons to show symptoms, and can be spread by asymptomatic people. This perfect storm of factors has led to the pandemic that we are in.
The good news is that because we have learned more about how the virus is spread, we are now better able to avoid it. We have lots of information from the CDC, Infectious Disease experts, and Critical Care doctors who have witnessed this virus first-hand. From these experts, we have learned that it is not common to get Coronavirus by being in the same room for a brief time with someone who is sick. While the virus can linger as an aerosol in the air, it is not an airborne virus, and transmission by air is not a common way people get the infection. People are primarily infected by touching larger droplets containing the virus and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes. If infection occurs from eating, it is because of viral droplets on the hands touching the mouth, not because of food contamination. Multiple reports suggest that a person can be in the same room with someone who has Coronavirus for 10-15 minutes with minimal risk of exposure. Hand hygiene and avoiding touching your mouth, nose, and face are the single most important elements for preventing infection. The risk is lessened even more if people are a minimum of 6 feet apart or at least one of the people is wearing a mask. Standard surgical masks are enough to help decrease risk in this setting. Based on this information we have instituted the following protocols and procedures to create a safe environment at Forest Lane Pediatrics:
- We are limiting the number of doctors and staff working in the office each day as well as the number of patients seen each day. This will allow us to practice social distancing while in the office and avoid large groups of people gathering together in the waiting room or at check out.
- We are screening all doctors and staff for signs of fever and cough every day. Any doctors or staff with symptoms suspicious for Coronavirus are not allowed to come to the office.
- We are screening all parents for fever and cough. No parent with fever or cough will be allowed into the office.
- We are limiting the patients we see in the office who have fever and/or cough. When possible, we are evaluating these patients via Virtual Visit. If an exam is needed, then we are taking extra precautions to isolate those children from other patients.
- We are temporarily allowing only one parent per patient in the office for each visit, with the exception of newborn follow-ups and 2-week well visits, where two parents are welcome. If you have childcare available for siblings who are not being seen for an appointment, please leave them at home.
- To minimize time spent in the office we are requiring CHADIS be completed prior to all Well Visit appointments and insurance be verified prior to all appointments.
- We are separating Well children from Sick children by having Well visits in the morning and Sick Visits in the afternoon.
- All staff and doctors are wearing masks and gloves for every patient encounter. This serves as a precaution for you and for us, not because we suspect staff members are sick.
- We have instituted enhanced cleaning protocols for the waiting rooms, exam rooms, common areas, and equipment.
We value the trust you have placed in us as healthcare providers for your children. We strive daily to protect the health of your family, as well as the health of our physicians and staff. We look forward to healthier times and seeing you soon.
The Physicians of Forest Lane Pediatrics