Dear CMG families,
Happy New Year! We made it to 2021! We are so thankful to have this past year behind us and are hopeful for the year to come.
Since the holiday season, there has been a steady increase in COVID-19 cases and resulting hospitalizations. Unfortunately, we are on the brink of exceeding our healthcare capacity and running out of resources in our community. Our hospitals are going to have to make impossible choices. We know you are tired of staying home and isolating with your small circles. But now is the time to hunker back down. Please wear your masks when you are outside of your home, wash your hands, and socially distance when able.
We are so pleased to announce that almost all of our physicians and staff have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. What a blessing!! This has been in large part due to Lauren Clark and HEB pharmacy. We cannot thank you enough for keeping our office safe.
As you know, the COVID-19 vaccine has not yet been approved in children. Fortunately, they are finally enrolling children in trials and we are hoping to have safety data over the next several months. CMG has been approved as a site to deliver the vaccine once the vaccine is approved in children. We will notify you prior to the vaccine arrival and will likely have something similar to our flu clinic for scheduling. We are sure there will be a lot of questions about the safety and efficacy. Once the data is available, we will share it with you.
We have received a lot of questions about the safety and efficacy of nursing moms being vaccinated. Both the AAP and the CDC feel that it is likely safe, given the nature of this type of vaccine. However, there is currently no data around nursing moms. This should change over the coming months as more real time evidence becomes available.
The Austin Public Health Department updated their guidance on exposure requirements in the middle of December. The CDC is leaving guidance up to each individual health department. If your child has had confirmed COVID-19 in the past 3 months, these rules do not apply unless they have new concerning symptoms. They would be considered covered by prior immunity.
Exposure is defined as proximity to someone with confirmed COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes AND within 6 feet of that person. The contact needs to be WITHIN 48 hours of the infected person’s symptom onset (i.e.,after they have already developed symptoms). This means that if your aunt tested positive today and just started to have symptoms yesterday and your kids have not seen her for over a week, they should be fine. Timing of symptom onset is very important.
Following a confirmed exposure, the new rules are:
We offer both the rapid antigen test and the PCR test. The rapid antigen test is done in our parking lot and takes about 20 minutes for results. It is a great test if your child has current symptoms – meaning congestion, cough, fever, or sore throat. It is a nasal swab. If your child has NO symptoms, we really recommend doing the PCR test. This is a send out lab that goes to CPL. It can take 1-3 days to get results. It is much more accurate, particularly if your child is asymptomatic. It is obtained as a nasopharyngeal swab and we need to go pretty high to get a good specimen. We understand how nice it is to get results immediately and to plan your life around these. But if your child has no symptoms, it really is worth the wait to get the most accurate test and results by doing the PCR test.
All children after infection with the novel coronavirus should wait 14 days before returning to competitive athletics. If your child has had more moderate to serious illness, they likely need a physical exam to be cleared to return to sports. More serious cases may need cardiac evaluation with an EKG or cardiologist review. If we have diagnosed your child with COVID-19, we have likely spoken with you about this directly. If your child has been diagnosed elsewhere, this may be a reason to reach out to our office to see if this may apply to your child.
We are just beginning to see our first mild flu cases of the season. We are amazed we have made it this long into the year!! It is truly remarkable. You have all done a wonderful job of getting your kids vaccinated against influenza this year. We will continue to provide vaccines to patients 6 months and above at routine well visits until we run out. The measures you take to prevent COVID-19 transmission should also help to prevent the spread of influenza. Keep up the great work!
The Austin Public Health Department and the CDC continue to recommend 10 days from symptom onset with at least 24 hours mostly symptom free. Some older children may remain without taste or smell for weeks to months and this is not a reason to remain in quarantine. If your child never had symptoms, then we have to begin the 10 day count from the date of the positive test result.
There is a global shortage of gloves. I guess just one more thing to add to the pandemic. Our typical medical suppliers do not have any extras to provide us. TCMS came through with an amazing last shipment but we are close to running through this supply. If we run out of gloves, this will limit our ability to care for sick children in the parking lot. If you hear of anywhere with additional supply, please reach out to our office. We would be so grateful. Our office has remained open and stocked during the pandemic largely on the generosity of others. We are so appreciative.
Thank you to everyone who has sent us Christmas and New Years cards. It is so amazing to see your children grow!! I wish you knew how much joy you all bring us. Thank you for continuing to trust your children to our care. It is an honor.
We are celebrating our own themed music festival day in our office on Friday. Why? Because, why not? Hopefully you can take a minute, put on a great song, and dance around the yard with your kids. “Nothing spreads cheer like singing loud for all to hear.”