With the return to in person learning and seasonal illnesses, our practice is experiencing record setting volume. We try hard to manage as much as we possibly can in house to prevent overload on others in the healthcare system, but unfortunately testing supply shortages make that difficult. We’re struggling to accommodate our patients to the best of our ability and have had to make some sacrifices.
Phone lines are now open 8:00am-5:00pm. All urgent matters will be triaged by our nurses who can involve additional resources as appropriate. Due to increased visit volume, non-urgent call backs from your provider may take up to 48-72 hours.
Calling & Visiting Us
- Our front office staff will determine how best to handle your call. Symptomatic patients will be advised to make an appointment for an in person visit. Depending on age, patients with history of a direct exposure to a person diagnosed with COVID-19 will be advised to schedule a virtual visit OR be referred elsewhere.
- We require all adults & children over 2 years to wear a mask/face covering when visiting our office & throughout your visit. Masks protect both you & those around you, and generally speaking, most children have adapted well to regular mask use. Please note that we will not write letters of exemption from mask wearing except in cases of extreme physical or mental disability.
- Only one parent/guardian (no siblings, please) should accompany the child to his/her visit whenever possible.
- All patients visiting our office will be verbally COVID screened and directed to the appropriate waiting area. Positive responses will not jeopardize your ability to be seen but rather help us wear the appropriate PPE & sanitize properly. Our medical assistants work hard to get our patients roomed as quickly as possible, particularly infants.
- For patients/parents/guardians with current COVID infection or currently in quarantine, we kindly ask you to reschedule your non-urgent/well visit.
- We continue to take appropriate precautions to decrease germ transmission within our office by limiting crowding, regular cleaning, frequent handwashing, & wearing personal protective equipment.
We are able to provide COVID testing for patients who are ill. Depending on volume & the type of testing available, results are expected in 1-2 days and will be uploaded to the patient’s MyChart account.
Symptomatic – available
We generally prefer to see symptomatic patients in office so that we can do a physical exam & ensure there are no alternative diagnoses before ordering testing. When available, we try to utilize rapid PCR testing & results are expected same day. We strongly suggest maintaining access to your MyChart account – lab results are posted there in real time so often, you will be notified of results before our providers get to review labs during lunchtime or end of day!
Asymptomatic exposures to COVID-19 – limited
Patients who do not have symptoms but were directly exposed will need testing on day 3-5 after exposure depending on several factors. Due to limited testing supplies, we are only able to manage direct exposures for patients age 3 years & under here in our office.
Patients 3 years and younger must schedule a virtual visit with one of our providers before we can order testing to be done in our office. Tests will be sent out & results are expected in about 48 hours, which is reasonable considering that those exposed must quarantine for a minimum of 7 days.
Patients over 3 years with direct exposures need to visit an alternate testing site for COVID testing. We recommend using this tool to locate a testing facility. Please note we will not write any orders for testing to be done outside of our practice.
Travel or pre-participation testing – Unavailable
As of 8/18/21 we are no longer able to offer testing for travel/pre-participation due to supply shortage.
We understand the inconvenience caused by limiting our testing available in office, but it’s critical that we have supplies available for symptomatic patients. Please use this tool to locate a testing facility near you. We strongly encourage calling ahead to inquire about each site’s procedures, how long results take to return, and what your insurance may or may not cover.
- MA Department of Public Health Quarantine Guidelines 12/7/20
On May 10, 2021, the Pfizer COVID vaccine was granted emergency use authorization for children age 12+ years. We hosted several clinics earlier in the summer but do not currently have COVID vaccine available. We hope to be able to secure more soon, but in the interim, patients are encouraged to secure vaccination elsewhere. There are many sites, including state & local health care organizations & retail pharmacies, that are offering vaccine.
Our providers have all received the COVID vaccine and feel comfortable recommending it for our patients in this age group. There are no contraindications to vaccination, so there are virtually no patients in this age group who are ineligible. Please rest assured that though the vaccine development process seemed fast, we trust the strict guidelines already in place. Here are some great resources on the Pfizer vaccine, but please call us with any case specific questions or concerns:
- Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers
- AAP Statement on Myocarditis & COVID-19 Vaccines – AAP
- Developing COVID-19 Vaccines – CDC
- Answers to questions about the COVID-19 vaccine – Boston Children’s Hospital
- Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the US – CDC
- COVID-19 Vaccination Information for Teens – Boston Children’s Hospital
- The COVID-19 Vaccine & Pregnancy: What You Need To Know – Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Shattering the infertility myth: What we know about COVID-19 vaccines & pregnancy – Stat News
We will follow CDC recommendations for COVID booster doses, which currently call for moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals to receive a (Moderna or Pfizer) booster dose. Individuals that qualify include, but are not limited to, those receiving cancer treatments & organ transplant patients on immune suppressive medications.
Vaccination for Younger Age Groups
We heard recently that Pfizer feels it’s vaccine is safe & effective for the 5-11 year old age group. Pfizer plans to submit for emergency use authorization and once approved, we hope to secure vaccine for our patients in the age group. Please stay tuned for more information as it becomes available!
As we continue to learn more about COVID-19, we now know there have been limited reports of cardiac effects from even mild COVID infections. The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending clearance for return to sports/activity after COVID based on factors including severity of symptoms & intensity of sport/activity. Children of all ages with moderate COVID infection (>4 days of fever, etc.) will need a clearance visit three weeks after COVID infection. Parents should connect with our nurses to determine the best course of action before returning to activities, and once the patient is determined safe to return, a gradual return to play will be recommended.
Additional Information & Resources
Please note that