This information is specific for the current global pandemic caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2 that causes a disease called COVID-19. School closings, containment zones and quarantines are ramping up anxiety amongst all of us, from the youngest, who respond to our stress, to the elderly, who are most affected, to those of us in the middle, who feel responsible for the whole family.
Your doctors at La Peer Pediatrics are here not only for medical care but as a source of reliable information. We suggest you look at COVID-19 information from two perspectives.
- Personal Safety: the vast majority of people infected by COVID-19 will have mild illness, especially children.
- Community responsibility: the CDC and Health Department are trying to limit spread, or at least slow it down. Self-quarantine, containment areas and social distancing measures have been implemented for these purposes. No playdates, parties, sleepovers or families/friends visiting each other’s homes. Keep children away from the elderly as they may carry the infection without appearing ill. Everyone over the age of 2 years should wear a mask when in public to help prevent the spread of the disease. Even when you wear a mask, you still must maintain proper social distancing of at least 6 feet away from others.
The best way to stay healthy is to wear a mask, use social distancing, practice good hand washing, and remember not to touch your face. Everyone should cough and sneeze into their elbows and stay away from others whenever possible. If you or anyone in your family is sick, stay home.
Our office has implemented procedures to keep you safe. We are following appropriate CDC recommendations. We are cleaning intensely and often. All doctors and staff are wearing masks, goggles or shields, gloves and gowns when providing care to patients to protect you and to protect ourselves. We are also taking everyone’s temperatures twice a day and taking temperatures of anyone who comes to the office. We will be limiting the number of people in the waiting room at any one time.
In order for us to do our part in best serving and caring for your children, the following measures were implemented:
- We will thoroughly screen all ill visits by telephone. Based on those discussions, we will determine best course of action.
- We will occasionally be using Telemedicine visits so that we may avoid in-office visits whenever possible. These are for visits such as pink eye, some rashes like diaper rash, eczema or viral rashes like hand, foot and mouth disease, ADHD medication rechecks and likely other visits that we deem appropriate. We will also schedule prenatal visits by phone or telemedicine visit.
- Only one WELL caregiver may accompany a patient and no siblings. All patients and parents will be screened by phone and in person for illness. We are asking that everyone who comes in wear a mask unless they are under age 2 years. We will be taking your temperature.
When you do come in:
- Only one parent/caregiver per child may come to the appointment once a child is over 2 months old.
- This helps us keep the number of people in the office at one time to a minimum to ensure everyone’s safety.
- In addition, please listen to voicemails from our office AND also please read the entire email we send when we confirm appointments. These contain important reminders about our office policies as well as screening questions.
What else can you do?
- Shut off the TV and give yourself and your children a break from all the news and scary images. Don’t let screen time take over during all this down-time. Some social media and video chatting are fine to stay connected with others but endless video gaming and binging shows and movies is not the best for anyone’s health.
- Make a daily schedule that includes some form of exercise like taking a walk or family outdoor sports, reading, cooking and doing puzzles, games, & crafts. Keep their schedules as consistent as possible. Everyone can pitch in to do chores.
- Look for anxiety symptoms – such as moodiness, trouble sleeping and separation anxiety. Talk to your children about their fears. Reassure them. Please look at Healthychildren.org from the American Academy of Pediatrics for advice on how to speak to children about COVID19.
- Check on your elderly neighbors as these people are most at risk for complications of this coronavirus. Ask if you can get them food, medicine or anything else they need. We are a community, we need to take care of each other.
If there are other things we can do to alleviate any fears you may have, please reach out to us. We want to hear from you.
La Peer Pediatrics
Links to More Information About COVID-19
CDC COVID-19 Information Page
CDC Guideline – When To Quarantine
California Dept. of Public Health COVID-19 Information Page
Los Angeles County COVID-19 Information Page
American Academy of Pediatrics COVID-19 Information Page for Parents
Covid-19 Vaccine FAQs from The American Academy of Pediatrics
Brief19 Your Daily COVID-19 Brief
Los Angeles CoronaVirus Testing
PM Pediatrics Urgent Care
MVP Pediatric Urgent Care
COVID-19 Antibody Testing
We are getting many questions regarding antibody testing for COVID-19.
The use of antibody test results is not yet known. There are ongoing concerns about the quality of antibody tests, and how to interpret the results of this testing – for instance, what does it mean to have antibodies? Do they confirm immunity? How should physicians advise patients who are positive or negative? Are persons with antibodies still infectious and require isolation/quarantine? How often would it make sense to test antibodies? These questions have not yet been answered.
What you need to know:
- Antibody testing should not be used alone to diagnose COVID-19
- It is most useful in the following situations: Identification of convalescent plasma donors; epidemiologic studies of disease prevalence in the community, which are being conducted by government and research entities; verification of vaccine response once antibody correlate(s) of protection identified (future use). The use of this test for diagnosis of infection remains unclear.
- At this time, positive antibodies may indicate exposure (assuming, that the positive is a true positive) but does not necessarily indicate immunity. The value of repeat testing without any symptomatic illness is likely very low.
- Currently available serology tests results should not be used to guide return to work policies, use of PPE, or “safer at home”practices
- Quest and some other labs currently offer only an IgG antibody test, not IgM, and they also use multiple different assays that have been released for emergency use by the FDA but are not FDA-approved. We do not yet know the sensitivity or specificity of their tests.
- At home and finger prick antibody tests are not considered reliable so they are not recommended at this time.
CHLA is performing blood draw antibody samples for Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Antibody IgG at the CHLA drive through location in addition to the outreach satellite locations in Pasadena and Encino. This service is open to Health Network physicians like us, families, staff and patients. The test they use is considered a very good one. We can also order antibody testing through a few other labs that we work with.
What patients need to know:
- Antibody testing may indicate, if present, that a person has had the novel coronavirus though it be could be positive due to other coronaviruses like the common cold. It looks for signs of previous infection but does not guarantee that someone had COVID-19.
- Antibody testing cannot be used to predict individual immunity. In other words, we do not know with any certainty that you cannot get COVID-19 again. If there is any immunity, we also don’t know how long the potential immunity could last.
- With this in mind, patients should continue to practice social distancing, wear appropriate face covering, frequent washing of hands with soap and water, and monitoring your own and family’s health for COVID-19 symptoms.
- The antibody test may not be covered by your health insurance and could result in having to pay cash.