Dear CMG families,
We hope you are all staying safe. The cases for the novel coronavirus continue to grow at an incredibly rapid rate in our community. From the City of Austin Digital Dashboard.
Please continue to stay vigilant by wearing masks, washing hands, and physically distancing. We have a few updates we would like to share.
We are incredibly fortunate that we have been able to obtain the Quidel rapid antigen test for COVID-19. The rapid antigen test is being used at most of the local hospitals including Dell Children’s to identify patients with COVID-19. It takes 15 minutes to get results.
This test is an antigen test, which detects the protein that makes up the novel coronavirus. Similar to the PCR test, the rapid antigen test detects active infection and is tested using a nasal swab. It is different from the PCR test that identifies genetic material.
The cost for the test is $75. CMG will attempt to bill your insurance provider for this amount. Many insurance carriers will cover the full cost of the rapid antigen test; please check with your health insurance company to determine what coverage is offered by your plan.
Many people have asked us about the accuracy of this test. Since this testing is so new, there are limited trials reviewing sensitivity and specificity. However, it is thought to be 91-92% sensitive (meaning it may miss a few patients who have the disease and read false negative) but is close to 100% specific (meaning if it is positive, then you are actively shedding the novel coronavirus).
We are getting more and more calls about your children possibly exposed to someone with active COVID-19. We know that the best test results are obtained 5 days or later after exposure, as testing too early has been shown to have a high false negative rate (you have to be producing enough of the virus to show on testing). For this reason, we recommend waiting 5 days before getting tested and self quarantining during this time to prevent spread to others. You can also choose to self quarantine for 10 days and not get tested. As long as no symptoms develop, you can return to work, school, etc. following this 10 day period.
For the safety of our staff and patients, we do not perform any COVID-19 testing in our office. All samples will be taken in the parking lot from your vehicle. To have your child tested:
Prior to having the rapid antigen COVID-19 test, we were sending nasopharyngeal PCR samples to CPL. For the next two weeks, CPL is not taking any new PCR tests. On Friday 6/26/20, CPL had over 46,000 PCR tests waiting to be run.
The antibody test is a blood test that looks for past infection, identifying someone who has had the novel coronavirus and recovered. We can order this to be done at a lab if it’s been greater than 3 weeks from suspected infection. This does not determine active infection. Unfortunately we also do not know truly how to interpret a positive result as we don’t know how effective or long lasting immunity is to this particular virus.
As part of our ongoing commitment to maintain a safe office environment, we continue to see well visits in our office until 2pm each day. Any sick or acute appointments will need to wait to be seen in the parking lot after all well visits have been completed. We also offer telemedicine appointments throughout the day. You can make the appointment by calling our office 512-451-5161 or scheduling online through the patient portal.
We ask all our families to check in from their car. You will be asked screening questions from your vehicle and have your temperature checked on entering the building. Please bring a mask for you and your child. Only one parent per child allowed inside the building to limit exposures for other families and staff.
If you or your child has COVID-19, you need to quarantine for at least ten days from symptom onset with three additional days of being completely asymptomatic (meaning no fever or respiratory symptoms without the use of medications). This is a CDC recommendation.
As more and more people in our area become ill, the need for plasma with COVID-19 antibodies becomes greater. The reserves of convalescent plasma in our community have been depleted. Thank you to all our parents who have already donated their plasma. If you have had COVID-19 and fully recovered, please consider donating plasma to WeAreBlood. You will be saving lives in Travis County.
Thank you again for being so incredible during this challenging time. We are so grateful for you.
Children’s Medical Group