As many of you know, the WHO has declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic today, we have been getting many phone calls about this and we understand that many of you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed about what is going on. There has been a flood of news about COVID-19, and the situation is changing rapidly. This what we know today:
- San Mateo County has 15 cases of COVID-19 with no deaths. Santa Clara County has 48 cases with 1 death. San Francisco County has 14 cases and no deaths. We are not aware of any local reports of pediatric fatalities.
- Today San Mateo County health officer Dr. Scott Morrow published an excellent update that focuses on 3 key areas: Individual and community preparations should focus on three tasks—reducing each person’s chance of getting sick… helping households with basic survival needs during a pandemic, and minimizing and coping with larger disruptions in how the normal day-to-day world works.
- San Mateo County Health Department’s advice about not getting sick states that steps to prevent the spread of flu will also guard against the spread of COVID-19: cover your cough and sneeze, wash your hands frequently, avoid shaking hands and touching your face with unwashed hands, and if you are not feeling well or are experiencing cold, flu, or other symptoms, stay home from school or work.
- We do NOT have access to unlimited testing for all patients for COVID-19. We are being advised that these are being prioritized for high risk patients: 1) those with a high fever, cough and trouble breathing 2) known exposure and high risk symptoms. If we feel a test is indicated we are calling the county health department for guidance.
- We have actively been planning and working on internal procedures to help minimize exposure risks for patients, families and our office staff. You can help us by letting us know if your child has a high fever, cough or other risk factors. Please call us and we can work out a plan together. Please do not walk in to the office as this puts everyone at risk.
- At this time we are not being advised to cancel routine well visits or defer sick visits. However, many of you are uncomfortable about visiting a doctor’s office with the current outbreak. We can arrange for video visits if needed, we can reschedule visits, and we can also sign you up for patient portal access which allows us to communicate via email. We are here to help all our patients and families through this uncertain time.
- Prevention is the key, and being prepared will help us all feel better about facing the challenges that lie ahead. This is a good time to update your earthquake survival kit, make sure you have enough supplies of key medications and supplies [for example enough diapers and formula to last 2 weeks, any prescription medication or over-the-counter medication that you use regularly, etc.], update emergency contact numbers, be prepared for events/school to be cancelled, review travel plans and consider alternatives.
- some helpful links: CDC coronavirus update, WHO coronavirus update, San Mateo County Health Department, Santa Clara County Health Department, Healthy Children AAP update.
- We will post regular updates to our pediatric wellness group Facebook page, twitter @pwgrwc, and Instagram @pwgrwc.
Remember: we are a strong community, we can and will get through this!