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Content provided by Thomas W. Tryon, MD, MBA, FAAP; UCA Pediatric Section Chair
As the Coronavirus pandemic continues across the country, though in most places with some signs that the pandemic is improving, parents are challenged with determining whether their children should return to seeking routine well child care in their primary care office or acute care in their favorite urgent care or practitioner’s office. While there is obvious fear about exposing children to the Coronavirus, we have not seen a significant number of children infected with Coronavirus. According to a recent update from the Center for Disease Control, they report that “based on available evidence, children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults. While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date.” We know that in the United States only 2% of cases have been in children under 18 years of age. That is similar to data in China, Italy and Spain. While you may have heard of Multiple Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) this serious complication of COVID-19 is extremely rare and has only been seen at all in 18 states in the U.S to this point.
What is concerning to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and to healthcare providers for children is that children may not be getting appropriate newborn visits, hearing and vision screenings, monitoring growth, blood pressure and other vital signs, monitoring development, and needed vaccines and needed well child care because of fears of the child being exposed to COVID-19. They also may not be getting appropriate care for illness or injury for the same concerns. Urgent Care Centers and physician offices are working very hard to protect patients who are seen in their sites as well as protecting healthcare workers who are caring for children to ensure their safety as much as possible.
Many primary care offices and urgent care centers are working to provide care under the safest possible conditions. This may include moving sick patients to a room right away and not allowing them to stay in a waiting room, placing masks on patients as they arrive, providing hand hygiene and separating them in the waiting room, scheduling sick patients in a primary care office in the afternoon while seeing only well child appointments in the morning, and using telehealth visits where appropriate to help parents continue to socially isolate with their child if that is appropriate while still allowing them to seek care.
I firmly believe we will get through this as a nation and our lives will improve over what they have been the past few months. My hope is the Coronavirus COVID-19 will burn itself out or mutate into a less virulent virus for at risk adults and senior citizens. What I believe is key is to continue to use good hand hygiene, avoid large crowds if you have risk factors, and utilize your healthcare resources whether in your friendly urgent care or primary care office to assist you in determining whether you or your child needs care. Best wishes and stay well.
Urgent Care Association
28600 Bella Vista Pkwy, Suite 2010
Warrenville, IL 60555
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