We wanted to take some time to communicate information about COVID-19 to the Manhattan Valley Pediatrics community. We are aware that there have been a lot of mixed messages out there and hope you can look to us for recommendations during this stressful time.
COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus. It is mostly spread from person to person through respiratory droplets: when someone sneezes or coughs and you are close to them and inhale those droplets. The virus can also be spread if you touch an object that someone recently sneezed or coughed on, and then rub your nose or mouth. It seems to live for a long time on things. People are the most contagious when they are sick, but begin to spread virus about two days before symptoms appear.
People who are sick with COVID -19 can vary in severity. Children tend to have mild symptoms: cough, fever, and body aches. Some people may have shortness of breath. Most individuals with COVID-19 are not congested. As we are all aware, COVID-19 is the most lethal for the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. When you look at the numbers from China you can see that no children have died from COVID-19, but there are some young adults and middle aged people who get very, very sick from the virus.
We want everyone in our community to stay safe and healthy during this time. It is important that we are all responsible and do our part to minimize spread of the virus. Although most of us will be ok if we get infected, we need to keep our elderly population and the limitations of our hospital resources at top of mind. If thousands of us become ill at the same time, the hospital system will be unable to take care of everyone.
With all of that in mind we recommend taking the following steps to help slow the spread of COVID-19:
Minimize socializing: We know this is so, so hard. No one wants to be stuck inside with their kids. Avoid social gatherings if you can, even if “everyone is healthy.” If you are going to see friends, keep the gatherings small. Avoid playgrounds or any place large numbers of people gather. Everyone should go out for walks, go to the park, but try not to touch benches or playground equipment.
Hand Hygiene: Wash your hands either with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. Wash your hands when you walk in the house first thing. Wash your hands immediately after leaving the grocery store. Again, we don’t know who was there before you and whether or not they are sick.
Clean: Disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. Keyboards, tables, doorknobs, toilets…
Stay home if you are sick: Even with the mildest of symptoms, be diligent. This is not the time to be a hero and go to work even if you feel bad. Wear a facemask if you have to go out.
Cover coughs/ sneezes: If you are coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth with your elbow. Wash hands frequently.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding COVID-19:
My child may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, can they be tested? As you know MVP is not yet open, so we are not testing here. Your child may be able to get a test at Urgent Care, the Emergency Room or their current pediatrician. At this moment there are limited tests so people are being triaged based on level of risk.
Should I travel right now? I want to get out of town! We do not recommend any unnecessary air travel at this time. As you are all aware, you cannot travel to the countries most severely affected by COVID-19. Getting on an airplane and being in the airport only increases your potential exposure to the virus. Short local trips are ok as long as you are close to a hospital in case someone in your family becomes ill.
Can we see our friends? Can we have a playdate? We recommend minimizing all social interaction at this time. We understand it is extremely hard, but this is one factor we can control and we need to work as a community to slow the spread of COVID-19.
If someone is sick do they need to be isolated? Right now anyone who is sick with fever and cough should be isolated from the rest of your family.
Do I need to come to the doctor if I am worried my kid has COVID-19? It really depends on how sick they are. If they are having any of the following: difficulty breathing, fever for more than three days, lethargy or not eating or drinking well, the answer is yes. It is helpful to do a flu test on these kids since some of the symptoms are very similar to the flu. If your child is a little under the weather but has energy, is breathing comfortably, and is drinking adequate fluids you can stay home and minimize risk of exposure in the doctor’s office.
How worried should I be? How serious is this? Although this is a very serious situation, the majority of us will not become seriously ill from COVID-19. If it is not controlled, however, it will be a huge stress on our hospital systems and take the lives of 15% of those over 80 who become infected with the virus.
Can my kids be with their grandparents? I would recommend minimizing contact with anyone over 60.
We are here for you should you have any questions about the current situation. Try and stay sane during this stressful time. Take walks daily, the fresh air helps. Please reach out via our Facebook page or our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please see the attached resources for additional information: