As headlines about Coronavirus continue to flood the media, so far very few cases have been reported in the Northeast. While we expect this to eventually change, we are continuing to monitor the virus and remain in close contact with the Mass Department of Public Health and experts at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Today, we polled our triage nurses to see what you, the patients and families of Westwood-Mansfield Pediatrics, were calling to ask.

Before revealing those questions, however, a bit of trivia – the word quarantine is derived from Italian quarantina meaning “forty days.” It was originally used in Venice to keep ships from plague-stricken countries waiting off its port for 40 days to assure that no latent cases were aboard.

OK, back to our FAQs. According to our expert triage nurses, these are the 4 most frequently asked questions about coronavirus this week!

1) Should we cancel our plans for April Vacation?

Like most of the questions on this list, it is almost impossible to give a general answer to this. First of all, a lot can change in the next 6 weeks so making a decision now feels a little premature. Two questions that may help you think about this are: A) how worried are you about contracting the virus (ie: are you a high-risk person or do you fall into the standard risk category) and B) how problematic would it be if you went away and were detained there? Right now, if you are a high-risk individual, it probably increases your exposure potential and is a little bit risky to travel by airplane. If you are standard risk and feel that getting stuck in Florida (or wherever you plan to travel) is not too bad, it might be reasonable to keep your plans. It is important to remember, however, that all of the information we have is changing quickly and this advice could change at any time. For more information on this question, visit www.cdc.gov/travel.

2) What should we do if a classmate tests positive?

So far this has not happened. In the event of a confirmed classroom contact, there will be a clear set of recommendations from the school and the Department of Public Health (which may involve self-quarantining at home). If you are not sure what you are supposed to do, please contact our office.

3) What should we do if there is a possible case in my child’s school?

See the above answer for Question #2. Essentially, follow the directions of the Department of Public Health. If you are not sure what to do, please contact our office.

4) What should we do if we were in a public place that has now reported a confirmed case?

See the above answers for Questions #2 and #3. The Department of Public Health will be leading the management of potentially exposed individuals.

While we apologize for our necessarily vague answers, ultimately, time (and the Department of Public Health!) will make the answers to all these questions more clear.

For now, common-sense precautions (good handwashing, etc…) should rule the day.

We will continue to provide updates as this situation develops.

All of Us at Westwood-Mansfield Pediatric Associates