Dear CMG families,
We hope this letter finds you enjoying the sunshine and the last weeks of school. It has been an interesting couple of weeks as we have seen the city and our neighborhoods gradually reopen.
As discussed in our last letter, we have been taking baby steps with our own families and are still doing our best to be very careful. As expected, total cases have increased since re-opening began at the end of April. Many thought this number would be much higher by now. Thankfully we have not seen a huge spike in hospitalizations or deaths. This is very encouraging.
Starting in June, we will be opening up more appointments for well visits. We plan to continue to provide a safe environment for everyone who enters our office – screening at the door, universal masking, and avoiding lingering in the waiting room. If you had an appointment in March, April, or May that was cancelled, please call our office to reschedule for June or July.
Sick visits will continue to be seen by telemedicine or in the parking lot. We are also planning on doing many of our ADHD and asthma follow ups by telemedicine. If it is time for a follow up for your child, please call to schedule.
We are transitioning to a new software system called Athena, which has several features that many of you have been asking for! Athena’s patient portal offers online bill pay, online scheduling (for certain appointments), medication refill requests, ability to ask questions to our nurses and doctors, and better access to your child’s medical history.
In the coming week, you will receive an email notification to register for the new patient portal with athenahealth. Unfortunately, they will not allow us to do this for you. Please register when you have a few minutes so that we can extend the benefits of our new software to you.
We have been planning this for months, but we know there will be a few hiccups! We apologize in advance for any confusion and appreciate your patience during the transition.
The Austin Public Health Department has prepared new guidelines on how to proceed based on your family’s associated risk. Travis Country is currently stage 3 (with stage 1 being least restrictive and stage 5 being most). They are encouraging people to continue to maintain social distancing and wear facial coverings in public, along with washing hands and staying home when sick. Check out their chart to see the APH guidelines for your family based on your risk category.
We now have the ability to order antibody testing through Clinical Pathology Laboratories. This is a blood test to determine if your child has had the virus in the past. Please call our office for a telemedicine appointment if you are interested in having your child tested. If you think your child may currently have COVID-19, nasal swab testing by PCR can be done in our parking lot or through the health department. Any parent or family member who may have symptoms can be tested through the Austin Health Department by simply filling out the online form from their website.
Many of you have been reading about this new illness associated with COVID-19. The American Academy of Pediatrics has produced some helpful information for families to learn more about it. The most important thing to remember is that this illness is still very rare. Again, most children who get COVID-19 do not get very sick. With time, we hope to learn more about this illness and its association to the novel coronavirus. The CDC posted guidelines at the end of last week and they are gathering information to help us learn more.
We continue to see a variety of pediatric illnesses. Most of our calls over the last few weeks have been from gastroenterologic issues – vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. We have seen a variety of odd things grow out of children’s stool. Please be careful with preparing meat at home and washing vegetables and fruit. Have your children wash their hands after playing with reptiles or in creek beds before eating. Please do not stop the exploring! Being outside and discovering new things is one of the best things for your child’s mental health.
Thank you all again for your patience. We also wanted to give a big thanks to our families, Tito’s, Texas Stars, Austin Couch Potatoes, CTPCA, TMA, and TCMS who have all so generously donated personal protective equipment for our doctors and staff. We could not be doing what we are doing without it.
We hope you know how much your children mean to us. Stay safe.
All our best,
Children’s Medical Group