Covid-19

Covid-19 Update Page

This page was created to keep our patients and families updated on the most current information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. These updates will be both informational about the condition as well as what we are doing as a practice to support our families during this challenging time. Office procedures and updates to safety measures being adopted in the office will be posted here. The COVID-19 situation is continuing to evolve on a daily basis and you can find the most up to date information on this page. 

At Hyde Park Pediatrics, we take the health and well-being of our patients, families and staff very seriously. As medical professionals we have been in contact with and/or are relying on information relayed to us by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), the CDC, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). 

As a team we are meeting frequently and are formulating contingency plans. These plans are fluid and are in alignment with the health department's recommendations. They are being updated on a daily basis - sometimes multiple times a day.

Our goal is prevent adverse outcomes whenever possible. At this time, close observation and management of minor illness at home may be a better option than coming in to the office for evaluation. With that said, we are continuing to see children for both sick and well visits.  If you already have a well visit scheduled, you will receive a phone call by our staff the day prior and you will be asked screening questions. If we feel that your well visit can and should be postponed due to any potential contacts with COVID-19 or ill symptoms, we will do that. If your child is in severe distress or pain, it would be appropriate to be seen in the office. Please call the office to speak to the triage nurse and we will help you make that decision. If you are scheduled for a sick visit, please call the office when you arrive at the parking lot and remain in your car. We will call or text when your child is ready to be seen.  If your child has a cough and fever, please have them wear a mask.  If you are managing a mild illness at home and the condition worsens, contact the office to schedule an appointment. Please answer all screening questions honestly.

Prenatal visits to the office have been suspended, however, we will still perform prenatal phone calls. Please call and leave a phone number and one of our providers will contact you to discuss the practice and answer questions.

What you should know about the virus

Fortunately, according to the CDC, most children with the coronavirus have mild cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough (upper respiratory infection).  Gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea may also occur. Some children have no symptoms.  With more severe cases of Coronavirus, it appears to sometimes cause pneumonia (lower respiratory infection).  Symptoms would be expected to include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing.  Complications of the virus appear to be uncommon for those under 18 years old - even small infants.  In fact, the WHO-China Joint Mission report states that only 2.5 percent of children diagnosed with the coronavirus had “severe” symptoms, and 0.2 percent were considered "critical."  According to the CDC, recorded complications include acute respiratory distress syndrome and septic shock. 

What you can do at home to stay healthy

As with all communicable diseases, the following measures can help prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water several times a day. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are sick (except to visit a health care professional) and avoid close contact with others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces each day. Use a household cleaner according to label instructions.
  • Avoid large gatherings.
  • Use online transactions when possible.
  • Avoid visiting nursing homes
  • If you have an older person in your home or someone with compromised health, such as asthma, the biggest threat to them may be you bringing the virus into the home.
  • If you or a loved one is older, think twice about an upcoming trip.

We continue to monitor the situation daily and will post updates as they evolve. 

Tuesday August 4, 2020 

Two months seems like a long time for an update! ...While it seems that much is changing in the world today, only a few things have changed here at the practice. The summer season brings in many of our annual well child visits and sports physicals and has kept us steady busy. Well visits are now scheduled throughout the day at both the Hyde Park and Kenwood locations. We continue to try to limit ill visits to the end of the day and to isolated rooms to help decrease the risk for the spread of germs. Strict cleaning protocols remain in place, as always. 

We continue to offer telemedicine visits and drive through testing when appropriate. As cold and flu season approaches, we are considering telemedicine visits for certain situations (acute respiratory and flu symptoms) as an alternative to in office visits in an effort to decrease the risk of spread and exposure. Whether or not these situations are appropriate will be determined by the provider and triage nurse on a case-by-case basis. The exact protocol and procedure is to be determined. Our goal this season will be to keep our patients, their families and our staff as safe and healthy as possible.

Testing remains widely available at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. They offer drive-up and drive-through testing at the following locations: Anderson, Green Township, NKY, Liberty, Mason, Medical Office Building (in Clifton) and Main Campus. The patient needs an order by a physician to be tested and the appointment needs to be scheduled first. Testing site schedules change weekly and the CCHMC COVID Scheduling Center will help to schedule you at a convenient time and location. We are able to swab for COVID in the office but we are not a testing site and will decide when it is appropriate to test in the office versus a CCHMC testing site. COVID antibody testing remains available through CCHMC but the reliability and clinical significance of the test is still not well understood or well described. The test may be appropriate in certain circumstances. 

Flu vaccine clinics at Hyde Park Pediatrics - in the past we have offered flu vaccine clinics where we scheduled patients after hours in large numbers to come in for flu shots only. Given COVID we have decided to offer a drive through flu vaccine clinic. More information on that to come!

Returning to school with COVID-19. This seems to be the topic of conversation among parents and families. As you know, every school district is responding differently based on community preference and available resources. There are many different factors that go into making the right decision for your family. There is no right or wrong answer. We understand you may have questions or concerns and are happy to discuss these with you! Feel free to call, send a portal message or schedule a telemedicine visit. 

Just a gentle reminder - please wear a mask to your appointment and in public places!  This is still considered one of the best ways to slow the spread of the virus and to help protect others. Here are some tips to help kids wear face masks https://blog.cincinnatichildrens.org/healthy-living/covid-19-tips-help-kids-wear-face-masks?_ga=2.240855107.1747131484.1596132948-753899913.1596132948

Tuesday June 2, 2020 

Not much has changed the last few weeks here at the office. We continue with all scheduling and cleaning protocols.  We are sure you have heard this a time or two but just a gentle reminder that the American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging ALL well child visits to continue.  Read more about that here: https://blog.cincinnatichildrens.org/the-importance-of-well-child-visits-during-covid-19.  

You may have heard reports about a possible connection between COVID-19 and a rare but serious health condition in children called Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).  This is happening in children who have known COVID-19 infection and subsequently become severely ill.  Learn more about this condition here: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/covid_inflammatory_condition.aspx

Testing continues through Cincinnati Children's Hospital laboratories.  Tests are scheduled through the CCHMC COVID Scheduling Center.  Face masks in public are still encouraged for those over the age of 2.  

Tuesday May 12, 2020 

Scheduling:  We have decided to expand our "well visit" hours until 3:30 PM in Hyde Park as we begin to catch up on our check ups.  Sick visits will continue to be seen in the afternoon only at Hyde Park from 3:30 - 5:00 PM.  Telemedicine and car visits remain an option when appropriate. 

Testing:  Cincinnati Children's Hospital continues to test outpatients for COVID-19 who meet the guidelines for testing. 

Tuesday May 5, 2020 

A few updates for our families:
 
Scheduling:  We are scheduling well child check-up appointments and encouraging check-ups of all ages. Kenwood remains seeing "well" visits only.  Hyde Park continues to see "well" visits in the morning and "sick" visits in the afternoon.  Telemedicine visits and visits from the car outside remain options when appropriate.  
 
Infection control and office protocols:  We continue to disinfect the office between patients and at the end of each day.  In addition, all scheduled patients are screened for COVID-19 via a phone call on the day prior to their appointment.  In continued efforts to protect one another, you will see staff and providers wearing masks with each interaction.  We ask that patients (2 years and older) wear a mask of their own to protect us.  This is RECOMMENDED but not required.  In order to limit exposure we are asking that only one parent or caregiver (if possible) attend visits with patients.  Remember to call the front desk when you arrive in the parking lot for your appointment - we will let you know when we are ready for you to enter.  
 
Antibody testing:  We have had a number of questions on serum antibody testing for COVID-19. There are several private institutions that are doing antibody testing in the area, but we cannot assess the validity of these tests since they have not been FDA approved. We will continue to stay updated regarding the status of antibody testing at the major health care institutions in the city.  
 
In other news:  A friendly reminder for parents at ALL VISITS - please bring your insurance card with you as we update your chart at each visit!  Also - we are pleased to say that we now have electronic prescribing abilities!  Up until now, parents have needed to pick up prescriptions for controlled medications.  Going forward, these medications can be sent electronically to your pharmacy of choice, which is great and will save time and hassle!
 

Tuesday April 28, 2020

Things have been pretty status quo the last month here at the office.  We hope the same for you at home.  The good news is that in many parts of the United States, a peak has been reached.  Ohio has done a great job in our efforts and many lives have been spared because of it.  We have flattened the curve!  There is talk about returning to normalcy but this will definitely be a "new normalcy" and will develop slowly.  In order to return to our normal, additional testing, therapies and a vaccine must occur. 

Current recommendations: The CDC is recommending that all persons over the age of 2 wear non medical face masks when out in public.  We ask that patients and parents wear masks when in the office to help protect each other.  When masks are worn it is important to remember that this does not replace social distancing.  These masks are worn to protect others from being infected and not necessarily as protection for the person wearing them.  

Infection control: The month of May will look much like April.  We will continue to separate "well" and "sick" visits by time and location.  All of our cleaning protocols remain in place.  Telehelath remains up and running.  We encourage you to ontinue to social distance and stay at home when able!

Well visits: The American Academy of Pediatrics continues to encourage well visits to take place, especially those where important immunizations are needed.  

Testing: Testing is now available for pediatric patients through Cincinnati Children's Hospital.  Symptomatic patients will be prioritized and triaged based on symptoms.  It is done by appointment only, a lab order is required by a provider, turn around time is 24 hours.  

Wednesday April 1, 2019 

Thank you again to our patients, families and staff for being so understanding and flexilble as we continue with our new system of operation with our two locations - Kenwood being "well visits" only and Hyde Park being "well visits" in the morning and "sick visits" in the afternoon.  We really appreciate what you are doing to help improve outcomes!  We are continuing to use telemedicine and televists as we see appropriate and it has been going well!  

In regards to testing: Currently in Ohio, testing is still not widely available.  There has been lots of talk among hospitals and the Ohio Department of Health about the different avenues to get testing up and running.  We will be sure to update our webpage as new information becomes available.  If providers feel that outpatient testing is necessary for any reason we can advise on how to do this. See below for the most recent update on testing guidelines provided to us from Cincinnati Children's Hospital:

  • We continue to follow CDC and ODH guidelines on prioritizing limited testing resources to symptomatic health care workers and symptomatic, hospitalized children. Cincinnati Children's has established a stable supply of tests to meet these needs. These resources are carefully managed as we try to ensure a sufficient supply going forward.
  • We are working with multiple commercial labs to implement needed testing. Turn around times for results are approximately 3-10 days as the labs work through a backlog of tests.  We are adding testing capacity and will keep you updated on these efforts. 
  • Efforts to expand testing include working with multiple vendors who currently provide testing platforms already used at Cincinnati Children's. These platforms can support high volumes and rapid turn around. Current allocation of these test kids are going to hot spots and we hope to be included in the second round of allocation. We will update you when additional information is available 
  • We are finalizing work to obtain FDA approval for an in-house COVID-19 test that would have 1-day turnaround. Chemical reagents required to run this test are in limited supply and, therefore, we will only be able to support our current COVID-19 testing volume with this test. We are working with our research divisions to expand the capacity of this testing option.

Social distancing is working!  We in Ohio are flattening the curve.  Keep up the good work and stay at home! 

Wednesday March 25, 2020 

Yesterday was our first day rolling out our new system of operation splitting "well visits" and "sick visits" between locations and times. We want to thank our patients and families for their understanding and flexibility.  THANK YOU!  Things are going well with the new system and our telemedicine capabilities are up and running -- please ask about our tele-visits.  We will continue using these strategies for the next two weeks and will re-evaluate at that time if we need to roll forward week by week. 

As you probably know, Ohio does have a "Stay at home" order in place.  PLEASE follow this order.  You may leave the house to go to the grocery, the doctor's office or for other very important reasons.  Please refrain from play dates, visitings with friends, going out unnecessarily etc.  Doing so will decrease the risk of spread of and exposure to COVID-19.  Do your part to keep everyone safe and STAY AT HOME.  

Monday March 23, 2020

Beginning Tuesday March 24, we will be moving to a new system of operation in which our Kenwood location will become a "well visit" only office and our Hyde Park location will transition to "well visits" in the morning and "sick visits" in the afternoon.  We will be operating in this manner until further notice to minimize risk and exposure to our families and staff.  For those of you who will be bringing your children into the office, we are limiting visits to one parent/caregiver -- please do not bring other siblings along with you unless they also have an appointment.  In addition to these changes, per the recommendation of our public health officials we are asking each employee to log their temperature before starting each work day.  

Telemedicine:  We are ramping up our telemedicine capabilities and we are now able to offer telemedicine visits for certain circumstances.  Our triage nurse and team will help determine if this is a possibility for those of you who would like to be evaluated by a physician but would prefer not to come in to the office.  This type of visit is exactly as it sounds and will be conducted using a video chat on the computer through a HIPPA compliant service DoxyMe.

An update from Cincinnati Children's Hospital faculty and staff from Infection Control, Emergency Preparedness and Response and Hospital Medicine:  The Ohio Department of Health continues to limit which patients are being tested for COVID-19 and this includes pediatric patients.  At this time we are still recommending that all minor illness be managed at home and monitored for worsening symptoms (ie dehydration, respiratory distress, mental status changes).  As supported by the AAP and CDC recommendations, it is important that we continue with well care visits and routine childhood immunizations, especially those at or under the age of three-four years.  Older children who are up to date on their vaccinations, doing well and have no immediate health care needs are able to postpone their well child visits if parents choose to do so.

Friday March 20, 2020 

We have had a number of parents ask whether or not they should continue to bring their children into the office for well child visits.  The following is a message from the AAP's president, Sally Goza, MD, FAAP: "We want to take a moment to reinforce that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that we continue to see newborns and infants for preventive care, as well as younger children who need immunizations.  We know that delaying care for newborns and other vulnerable children during this time could have devastating consequences for their health.  We can be flexible to determine the best way to schedule patient visits to minimize the risk, including spacing out visits, modifying our clinical space, or rescheduling visits for older children until a later date."  -- Please feel free to call the office with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your child's check up.  Know that we are taking appropriate precautions to ensure the health and safety of you and your families.

An update from Dr. Hector R Wong, Professor and Intermin Chair of Pediatrics at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center: "As you know, COVID-19 has been particularly harsh in Italy. We have communicated with our pediatric critical care colleagues in Italy, and have the following report from a trusted counterpart based in Verona, located in Northern Italy.  Our colleague tells us that there are less than 10 (ten) children admitted to pediatric intensive care units throughout all of Italy. Further, among 35,000+ patients confirmed to be positive for COVID-19 in Italy, approximately 400 (1%) of these are children. An important nuance is that the number of 400 out of 35,000 reflect symptomatic patients who came to medical attention.  Further, among a large sample of pediatric intensive care units in the U.S., our colleagues are reporting 1 (one) patient requiring critical care. Surely there are a few more, but this is nonetheless a good sample size of large pediatric intensive care units in the U.S.  None of this is to suggest that children are not getting infected. I have no doubt that they are, but we should be grateful that the vast majority are doing just fine.  Hopefully this can provide you with some comfort during these difficult times; our patients, children, and grandchildren will be fine when this is all done. Please know that CCHMC stands ready to support you in any manner possible." -- Admidst all of the fear and unkown it is good to know what our littlest loved ones are at such low risk.

Stay tuned:  On Monday, March 23 CCHMC will be hosting a live broadcast on the latest COVID-19 information in our community.  Cincinnati Children’s faculty from Infection Control, Emergency Preparedness and Response, and Hospital Medicine will answer questions from our local pediatricians and pediatric practices.  We will be sure to update our webpage with any new pertinent information.

Thursday March 19, 2020 

To help facilitate a safe environment in the office:  We have removed all toys from the waiting rooms and exam rooms. In both offices, specific exam rooms have been designated as either "well" or "sick" exam rooms. While all exam rooms are cleaned per our strict standard protocol, additional measures are being taken to sanitize "sick" rooms between visits to keep our patients safe.

Social Distancing/Flattening the curve:  While at this point in the pandemic, a complete lockdown is not necessary, do your best to minimize interaction with others. This limits the rate at which the disease spreads which will allow our current healthcare system to have the capacity to deal with ill patients when they arrive. Limiting large gatherings, strict hand washing/sanitizing, not touching your face, keeping 6 feet away from others, avoiding travel unless necessary.  Decreasing all of these close human interactions will decrease the ability for the virus to spread from person to person.  We know that COVID-19 is MORE contagious than the seasonal flu, meaning it seems to spread more easily.  Close contact can cause someone to contract COVID-19, even before a person is symptomatic. The virus is transmitted by respiratory droplets (coughing or sneezing) and can live on surfaces for a period of time.  

Testing: Currently COVID-19 testing for the general public is not available at our office or at any emergency room or urgent care.  Testing was briefly available through the University of Cincinnati’s drive through COVID-19 testing clinic on Tuesday March 17.  However, on Wednesday March 18 we were informed that the clinic was no longer available due to an incredibly high volume.  Testing at this time is now reserved for the following patients:  hospital and health care workers, first responders, high risk patients, and those patients who are hospitalized and/or severely ill. 

For information about the outbreak, please visit the Ohio Department of Health website or the CDC website.