COVID cases are rising in our local communities and in Massachusetts. We are receiving significantly more phone calls about patients with close contacts of known COVID patients and seeing more of our patients test positive. We anticipate that in the coming weeks the state will begin taking more aggressive steps to slow COVID down and reinstitute some of the lockdown measures from the spring (including, potentially, a return to fully remote learning).
We would like to take this opportunity to remind you all of the current guidelines for the management of all illness in the COVID era.
Which Symptomatic Children Should Be Tested for COVID?
Any patient with any symptom compatible with COVID requires COVID testing.
What are the Symptoms Compatible with COVID?
COVID-compatible symptoms include:
- fever (100.0 degrees or higher)
- runny nose, cough, or nasal congestion
- sore throat
- shortness of breath or chest pain
- nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
- headache, fatigue or body aches
- loss of taste or smell
- unexplained rash
How Can I Arrange to have My Child Tested for COVID?
We are pleased to be able to offer COVID testing for your child. If your child has any of the above symptoms, please call our office to arrange for a visit (virtual or in-office) and COVID test. In most cases, we recommend testing as soon as patients are symptomatic, so please reach out when symptoms develop. COVID testing may also be available at local Urgent Care centers or hospitals. The MEMA COVID Test Site locator is a good resource, as well.
How will I get my COVID Results from your office?
Results will be sent directly to you via your MyChart Account which can be accessed through the app or website. At the moment, all in-office testing is being sent to Quest Diagnostics. Current turn around times are up to 4 days, but can change dramatically week by week. Please do not call our office to check on the status of your results (especially after hours or on weekends), they will be sent to you as soon as we receive them. In the event that you are positive, you will receive a call from our staff to review your results with you and give you further guidance.
When Can My Child Return to Activities After Being Tested?
Patients must stay at home (no school, no sports, no trips to the store, no visits with friends) until receiving a negative test result. Patients who test positive must isolate (at home, away from family) until 10 days from symptom-onset (and at least 24 hours without fever).
What if My Child is a Close Contact of a Patient Diagnosed with COVID?
Close contacts (defined as greater than 15 minutes within 6 feet) of patients diagnosed with COVID must quarantine for 14 days following their last contact with the infected individual) and should be tested for COVID 4-6 days following the contact. They must remain quarantined regardless of the test result (ie: even with a negative test result, close contacts must stay at home for at least 14 days).
What are the Different Types of COVID Tests?
In general, there are three types of COVID tests: molecular tests, antigen tests, and antibody tests. Molecular tests (polymerase chain reaction or nucleic acid amplification assays) are the recommended tests for reliable diagnosis of COVID. These are the tests utilized in our office. Antigen and antibody testing is not recommended (and may not be accepted by schools) – if getting tested at an Urgent Care or hospital, please confirm that they are performing molecular testing.
Returning to Sports After a COVID Diagnosis
There are some early reports that athletes diagnosed with COVID may be at increased risk for cardiac complications upon returning to sports. As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics has released interim guidance to help pediatricians safely clear athletes for sports participation. This guidance is based on expert opinion – there are very limited data so far – and is likely to evolve over time.
- Children who test positive for COVID but remain asymptomatic should have a 14-day resting period with no competitive sports or vigorous exercise.
- Children with mild COVID-19 illness should not participate in competitive sports or vigorous exercise until symptoms are resolved for 14 days and they are cleared by their pediatrician. If the patient has any signs of cardiovascular involvement (chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, palpitations, or syncope), they require further evaluation (either an EKG and/or referral to a pediatric cardiologist for clearance.
- Children with severe COVID-19 illness, including MIS-C or any signs of cardiovascular involvement, should be restricted from exercise for 3-6 months and referred to a pediatric cardiologist for management.
A Word About the Holidays
Like many, we are concerned about the potential for a spike in cases with families gathering together and especially travelling or returning from college. Please have a plan in place for the holidays – lets help keep everyone safe!
Please remember to always wear your mask and decrease any unnecessary contact with others by eating only outside, interacting only in small groups, and maintaining physical distancing.
All of us at Westwood-Mansfield Pediatric Associates