Community News

COVID-19 UPDATES:

Updated 8/30/2020:

Information about Masks and Children

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC recommend all children over the age of 2 wear a mask when at school or outside of their home. We understand many parents are concerned about their child wearing a mask. Please visit these  links that discuss myths around masks as well as children with special needs wearing masks.

Also, please note that we will not be providing letters of exemption for influenza vaccination unless there is a documented allergic reaction to the vaccine. Any issues with influenza vaccination beyond allergic reaction needs to be worked out between your family and the school.

Back to School

As school approaches, you are having to make decisions about sending your child to school dependent on whether your school has adopted the hybrid or full-time model. We are fielding many phone calls asking to advise on an individual basis. Although we would love to help every family through this decision-making period, we are unable to do so. This decision is one that must be made by you, the parents or guardian, in relation to your child, your family, family and individual risk factors, and the community that you live in. We are providing the following links to help you make your decision. Please look atcdc.gov, mass.gov, or nh.gov for further information. Your school is also working with the Department of Public Health as well as the Department of Education in order to provide a safe and healthy learning environment.

COVID-19 is a novel virus, meaning we are still learning about it. From what we have learned as of now, kids are less likely to become severely ill with the virus and younger children are less like to spread the virus. There are children who fall into the high-risk category. For a list of high-risk conditions please see here.

As with any season, but particularly this influenza season, we highly encourage your child to receive their influenza vaccine. We anticipate starting vaccination mid to end of September. We will have updates as to when we have received our allotment of vaccines and will be posting here. Until we are given the date for our vaccines to arrive, we cannot book appointments for influenza vaccination.

DOES YOUR CHILD HAVE COVID-19 SYMPTOMS OR AN EXPOSURE:

If your child has been exposed to COVID-19 or has mild symptoms, please call during business hours only. If your child has more severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, please call the office or seek care immediately.

If you are looking for a testing site, please look  at MASS.GOV GET TESTED for up-to-date testing site information. There is also a testing location in Lawrence on Canal Street that is offering free testing from 9a-5pm Monday through Friday until August 14th, 2020. You must be in line by 4pm.  Results will be available in 3-5 days. If you look up this information online, the details are incorrect. We have verified the above as of today with the testing site.

There is also the option of at home testing kits. The test will provide results 3-5 days after they receive your kit. The link to order can be found here: AT HOME TESTING.

Tests ordered through local hospitals can take take 7-10 days to receive results due to an overwhelming number of tests being done. The laboratories are prioritizing the tests of people with severe illness. These appointments must be scheduled by our office and require a provider order.

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 MASS.GOV STOP THE SPREAD.

OFFICE VISITS:

We continue to be open for well and sick visits.  We are using Doxy or tele-health visits where determined appropriate by your provider and approved by your insurance company. We are taking all precautions in our office to keep your child and family safe.  We strongly urge you to keep your appointment for a well child check and consider scheduling now.  It is important to check your child's growth, development, check any necessary labs, and administer needed vaccines.

FOR SICK VISITS:
We are no longer taking walk in visits during sick call hours.  We ask that you call from home before coming or from the parking lot if it is between 8-9am (during our previously normal sick call hours) before trying to enter the office.  On weekends, please call once you arrive at the office and you will be instructed on when to come in. This helps us to keep everyone distanced from each other, keeps you out of the waiting room, and helps keep your child, your family, and our staff safe. We have plenty of visits during the day and will be able to accommodate anyone needing an appointment.

In the Merrimack Valley, rates of COVID-19 are fairly low with Haverhill having the highest rate of infection.  We urge you to continue to stay home, wear masks when making necessary trips out of the house, and practice good hand washing.  For more information about COVID-19 and the pediatric population please check this article.

 

OFFICE VISIT UPDATES 3/24/2020:

As of 3/24/2020

In an effort to minimize exposure to illness for well visits, we are changing how and where we do visits.  We are separating sick and well visits by location and or time. We have many available sick appointments during the day.  Also, we will be closing the office at 5pm in all locations.  IT IS STILL RECOMMENDED TO KEEP YOUR WELL VISIT.  We are doing our best ensure your safety by sanitizing between patients, rooming patients immediately, and wearing masks for all visits.

We ask you follow the guidelines below for visits:

  1. Only one adult per child and please limit siblings and other family members.
  2. If a parent has any symptoms associated with COVID-19, another caregiver should bring the child into the office.
  3. If a parent and/or child has been exposed to COVID-19, please call the office to schedule an appointment so we take appropriate precautions.
  4. All attempts should be made to keep any adult over the age of 60 from coming into the office

This can be a stressful time for children.  Please refer to these resources for more information on how to help your child.

5-4-3-2-1 Coping Technique

Grounding Techniques

Coping During COVID-19 Resources

99 Coping Skills

 

URGENT CARE REFERRAL POLICY

At Childrens Health Care, we strive to provide the best care for our patients at both sick and well visits. This includes timely availability of our pediatric providers for urgent visits, with access to your child's medical records, in a friendly and familiar setting. With rare exceptions, such as extreme inclement weather or other emergencies, we are open 365 mornings a year for walk-in sick call and also have urgent appointments available each weekday until 8:00pm.

In most cases, we therefore will not issue referrals or provide approval to insurance companies for outside urgent care or walk-in clinic visits for services that could have been provided in one of our offices on days when we are open. if you have a question about the need for urgent care for your child, please call and speak to our triage nurses or the on-call provider, who can help guide you to the most appropriate care.