Sunday, March 22nd, 2020
Dear CMG families,
We hope you are all staying safe. We know this is a scary time for everyone. We assume you are all practicing good hand washing and social distancing. Our knowledge about COVID-19 is changing daily, especially as we have seen it spread across Travis County. We are continuing to make changes here at CMG to keep all our patients and staff healthy.
The purpose of this post is to update you on our latest office policies and pass along information that may be helpful, based on what we currently know.
CMG is currently operating under normal office hours (8:00am-5:00pm, Mon-Fri). In the event of a “shelter-in-place” order, we plan to remain open. Health care facilities are generally considered an “essential” business and in other communities under these orders, residents have been permitted to leave their homes to seek health care.
We are offering telemedicine to all patients. For patients with fever and/or coughing, we require an initial telemedicine visit before you may visit our office. All major insurance companies are fully covering these visits. Please call our office at 512-451-5161 to arrange a telemedicine visit.
There are limitations to our telemedicine exams, but we can still prescribe medications and do a general overview of your child. We can evaluate rashes, tummy bugs, feeding issues, sleeping concerns, and many others easily this way. Hopefully, this can save you a visit to our office.
All patients with a fever and cough will START with a telemedicine visit. If additional testing or evaluation needs to be done, we will schedule a time for you to come to the parking lot and obtain what we need from your child while in the car. This may be to look in your child’s ears, listen to their lungs, or obtain strep or flu swabs. We are working on getting a tent set up in the corner of the parking lot. There will be a marked spot in the parking lot reserved next to the tent.
The symptoms in children continue to be reported as more mild than those seen in adults. Most have been reported as being typical cold symptoms – cough, congestion, and fever. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. Most of these cases in children can be managed at home with supportive measures, as discussed in our previous email. As of today, Dell Children’s Hospital has no reported cases of COVID-19, which includes all children currently hospitalized.
There is still no known treatment for COVID-19. A few drugs are currently under investigation and being given in the United States to adults in the ICU setting. None of these are available or currently recommended for outpatient use. There is also a current trial for evaluating a vaccination against COVID-19, but this also remains investigational.
There is also discussion about ibuprofen or motrin being dangerous when given to patients with COVID-19. Some observational studies done in the ICU setting have shown this, but all nonsteroidal drugs (like ibuprofen and motrin) can be hard on your renal vasculature and are typically avoided in patients in critical condition for this reason. If your child has fever or is uncomfortable, it is fine to give them tylenol. You can also give ibuprofen to your child as long as they continue to be well hydrated. If more accurate literature comes out to suggest that nonsteroidal drugs are truly not safe, we will let you know.
This is an incredibly confusing time for everyone. Understandably, many children are worried and scared about the future. They do not understand why they cannot play with their friends, go back to school, or hug their neighbors. Many are not capable of expressing their anxiety. The American Academy of Pediatrics has produced some great resources broaching this topic. We encourage talking to your children about the pandemic. Reassure them that doctors and researchers are doing everything they can to learn more about the virus and stop its spread. Remind them that they can help by washing their hands, covering their mouths when they cough, etc. Do your best to stick to a routine (or in most of our cases a “new routine”). Watch their media use on the topic and be careful about some of the scary images being shown on TV and computer screens. Many of us have our televisions on in the background, but remember that your children are listening and absorbing as well.
Please take care of yourselves and your families. Try to enjoy this time together. If you have questions, please let us know. We hope you will find us a resource during this challenging time.
Children’s Medical Group
Dr. Bell, Dr. Dodson, Dr McConnell