Coronavirus Update

Update April 16, 2020
 
It still is difficult to comprehend our new “normal” and how we find ourselves in a reality we never could have imagined due to COVID-19. There is fear, worry, and it feels like there are so many unknowns. We at Pearland Pediatrics want you to know that you can rely on us. We are here for your family, now more than ever, and are committed to protecting the health and well-being of our patients, staff, and community.  We want to update you with how we are preparing for and responding to the Coronavirus pandemic and how it relates to your care.  Be well, Stay Home, and Stay Safe. 
 

Some of this is changing weekly or even daily based on our State orders and local clinical experience.  Our goal is to provide the best possible care for you while avoiding undue risk to you and our staff.

Our Safety Plan:

  1. Your waiting room is now your car! Our waiting rooms are closed to limit the number of people in our building at one time and to maintain social distancing.  Patients check in virtually and wait in their car until their nurse is ready to take them directly back to the exam room. 
  2. We screen each patient/parent during virtual check in for any COVID symptoms, exposure or travel risk. If you answer yes to any of these, do not worry, we will still take care of you! This just helps us prepare how and where we conduct the visit. 
  3. To minimize exposure, we ask that only one adult accompanies patients to in-office visits and that other family members remain at home whenever possible. The accompanying adult should be free of any illness. (We know that moms of newborns may need some assistant at their visit.  Two adults are allowed for newborn visits.)
  4. Only well children/adults are allowed into the building.
  5. All rooms are sanitized before and after every visit along with more frequent cleaning of doorknobs and shared surfaces.
  6. All sick visits are seen via telemedicine. If determined that the patient needs to be seen for an exam or swab, the patient is seen outside in our open-air exam room, i.e. tent.  Providers and nurses will be in full PPE for the visit.
  7. Lactation appointments are still available in office or via telemedicine. In office appointments are seen in a room dedicated to well parents and babies only.  The room is located in an area set apart from regular clinic exam rooms. 
  8. As mandated by the CDC, all patients over 2, accompanying parent and all staff wear masks while in the building. If you do not have a mask, please bring something to cover your nose and mouth.  We are not able to give you a mask as we need to conserve our supply for our staff. 
  9. All doors that are not exam room or bathroom doors are propped open to prevent touching surfaces and the potential spread of germs.
  10. Our floor in front of check out has been marked to help patients physically distance.

You may be wondering whether it is safe to bring your child in for your child’s well visit during this pandemic. Our answer is “Yes, it is still important to keep up with preventive care!” If you’re wondering why….

  • For young babies and toddlers, there is a great amount of growth and development that happens in the first few years of life. A lot can change in just weeks or a couple months. Well visits help us make sure your child is meeting critical developmental milestones and growing appropriately. The earlier we can detect a possible issue, the better.
  • Regular well visits keep your child’s immunizations on track, which help avoid preventable illnesses. 
  • For patients with ongoing conditions (e.g. asthma, diabetes, anxiety, depression, etc.), well visits are a chance to check in to see how your child is doing managing those conditions and discuss whether any adjustments need to be made.
  • Our routines and daily lives have drastically changed over the past several weeks. It can be difficult for children to understand why they aren’t at school, can’t hang out with their friends, go visit grandparents, and why everyone is wearing masks. It is okay and normal for your child (and parents!) to feel more scared, anxious, and maybe depressed. If your family is having a hard time adjusting to the new normal, our caring providers are here to talk with you and connect you with any tools and resources you may need.
  • As a bonus, keeping your child’s well visit now while schools are closed means they won’t have to miss school for an appointment later when classes are back in session.

The well-being of you and your children is important to us, and we feel that office based well child care should be continued during the Covid-19 crisis so long as it is possible and safe for us to do. We understand that the pandemic changes rapidly; therefore, if there comes a time we feel it has become unsafe to see patients in our office, we will notify our patients and update with a new plan.  We value the trust you have shown us before and during this pandemic and assure you that we will always put the health and safety of your children and family, as well as our staff, as our primary goal.

 
 
Updated March 20, 2020
 

In response to the growing number of cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the Greater Houston Area, we must continue to evolve as your medical home to continue to care for your children in the safest way possible. Below is a summary of changes we are making to our clinic beginning Monday, March 23:

  • You will no longer be able to walk in to the walk-in clinic.
  • All visits to our clinic must be scheduled with our office.
  • To conform to current guidelines, we will allow only ONE parent/guardian to enter the building in addition to the patient(s) being seen for any sick visits. We will be happy to discuss the visit with any other legal guardian by telephone.
  • We will be increasing the availability of our telemedicine services.

We will continue to see the important well visits for patients without symptoms of illness on the main side of our building. If your child is scheduled for a well visit, but your child also has fever or cough, we ask that you reschedule your well visit for when your child is well.  We will be happy to see your child for his sick symptoms.  All sick kids who need to be seen at our office will be seen on the walk-in side.

You may request an appointment to be seen for a sick visit in one of two ways – via our patient portal or by calling the office for an appointment. Your child’s symptoms will determine the appointment type. We will be doing our best to keep you from bringing in your sick child to our office for any visit that can be handled by our new telemedicine services. We will be able to handle many problems through this new service, and you will not even need to leave the comfort of your home! If during your telemedicine visit our provider determines that we should see you for further evaluation or testing in person, then we will arrange for you to come to our office in a timely fashion.

If you have not already registered for our patient portal, please contact our office so we can get you set up with this valuable tool. Also, if you have not registered for our telemedicine service, please do so at your earliest convenience. If you register now, it will greatly expedite your visit when the need arises.  Please click Telemedicine for more information on how to register.

This is a difficult and uncertain time for everyone. Please know that all of us at Pearland Pediatrics will be with you every step of the way to ensure your children’s healthcare needs are always met.

 
 
Updated March 13, 2020
 
As you all may know, there have been several cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the Greater Houston Area. There have recently been a few confirmed cases of community spread, meaning that there are some people in the area that are spreading it unknowingly to others. We knew this would happen sooner or later, and we have been tirelessly preparing for this.
 
One thing we want you all to be aware of is that this is a worldwide public health crisis. There is one main reason for all the school closures, cancelling of large gatherings such as the rodeo and sporting events, and the constant reminders to wash our hands – it is to prevent the breakdown of our healthcare system. This is what happened in Italy and China, and that is what would happen here if we did not control the spread of the virus. If our healthcare system breaks down, that means that we would not get proper care not only for the COVID-19 cases, but for all other illnesses, injuries, and prevention of disease that we currently have.
 
The bright side in all of this is that while this is a serious public health issue, the disease itself is usually relatively mild for most people who get it. It is clearly worse than catching the flu for a lot of people, but young healthy people, especially children, seem to tolerate it quite well. The other bright side is we think this will be a temporary problem until a vaccine is created to protect our communities from the disease.
Pearland Pediatrics is continuing to make changes to keep serving you and your families while at the same time keeping all our patients and employees healthy.
 
Beginning Monday, March 16th, we will be instituting the following changes:
  •  We will be closing our waiting rooms. 
    • We now have online check-in at our office. This will be utilized for all types of visits, including scheduled and walk-in visits. This allows you to check in from your vehicle, and you can be properly screened before entering our building. It also allows you to wait in your car to be roomed to prevent exposure to other people.
    • Our doors to the clinic will remained locked to prevent unscreened individuals from entering the building. When we call you back to be roomed, we will open the front door to let you in.
  • We will have one entrance devoted to patients and/or family members who have no illness, and a separate entrance for our patients and/or family members who have an illness.
    • Our regular clinic entrance will be for people who have no fever or cough, such as well visits or injuries.
    • Our walk-in entrance will be used for any patient who has an illness, whether it is a scheduled visit or a walk-in visit.
    • We are asking that whenever possible, please bring only your children to the clinic who need to be seen by us.
  • We will be starting to separate all well visits from sick visits this week.
    • We will have designated well rooms.
  • All patients or family members who have FEVER OR COUGH will be required to wear a simple face mask from the time they enter the building until the time they leave the building.
    • We ask that you bring your own mask, if you have one. If you do not have one, then please try to bring an article of clothing that you can put over your mouth or nose.
    • The CDC recommends that people who cannot tolerate a mask (such as younger children) should have a tissue placed over their mouth and nose. We ask that you bring your own and hold it in place for the duration of your visit.
    • If you cannot bring your own mask or tissue, we will supply you with one. PLEASE keep in mind that our number of masks is limited, and it will be difficult for us to replenish our supply given the worldwide shortage of personal protective equipment. Maintaining our supply of masks is critical for us to continue to serve you safely.
  • All employees at Pearland Pediatrics who have direct patient contact may be wearing simple face masks.
    • The CDC considers any provider-patient encounter to have a low risk of spreading COVID-19 if both people are wearing a simple face mask – this means that by wearing masks at the office, it reduces the likelihood that we will require quarantine if we come in contact with a case of COVID-19. This is obviously an important step that we must take to stay open so we can continue to serve you and your families.
    • We will not allow any of our employees to work while they show signs of any illness.
  • We will be starting telemedicine visits sometime next week.
    • This will allow us to see you from the comfort of your own home
    • We will be able to see you for certain types of visits such as rashes, pink eye, and medication check-ups, to name a few.
    • We will give more details on this when we officially roll it out.
All these new procedures will ensure that we continue to comply with (and in some cases exceed) the CDC’s recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We believe that we are making our clinic as safe or safer than any other public facility in the Greater Houston Area. We feel very strongly that even though we have some early community spread of COVID-19 in a nearby county, your family’s health care should not suffer. We will continue to provide all the important well visit care that your children deserve unless we feel there is any increased risk to the community.
 
Thank you for cooperating with us to allow us to serve your family’s health care needs through this challenging time. We are dedicated to continuing to provide you with the highest quality care that your family needs. Please reach out to us if you need anything or if you have any questions.
 
Updated March 5, 2020
 
Fort Bend and Harris County health officials have confirmed the first non-imported cases of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus 2019) in Texas.  In both counties, the cases are travel related.  This hit close to home for us at Pearland Pediatrics, given the cases are in our neighboring counties.  We are dedicated to keeping our patients and community safe.  The Coronavirus is real and should be taken seriously, but it is not a cause for panic.  We will continue to monitor this dynamic situation and provide updates as more information becomes available.  "The good news is that cases in children have been very rare... It appears that when kids do get it, they have much milder symptoms." says Dr. H. Cody Meissner, M.D., Chief of the division of pediatric infectious disease at Tufts University School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Infectious Diseases. 
 
There is an abundance of information about COVID-19 in the news right now. Our providers want you to be informed of the important information below:
 
Symptoms to Watch For: 
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the common cold and flu. They typically develop within 14 days after exposure. 
Fever (temperature above 100.4 degrees)
Cough 
Breathing concerns: shortness of breath, rapid breathing, difficulty breathing, chest pain
Sore throat
Body aches
Headache
Tiredness
Pneumonia
Diarrhea
 
When to Contact Us: 
If your child develops symptoms after a known exposure to someone with COVID-19, or after travel to an area significantly affected by this disease, call our offices right away to discuss a plan of action. It is important to stay home if you are sick to prevent spreading the virus. Testing is only indicated for individuals with the following: 
 
Fever or lower respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, breathing concerns) AND has had close contact with a lab-confirmed COVID-19 patient within 14 days of their first symptoms
Fever and lower respiratory symptoms AND has traveled in the affected geographic areas in the last 14 days
Hospitalized patients with fever and acute respiratory illness (e.g., breathing concerns, pneumonia) AND no other cause has been identified.
 
As disruptive as it can be to stay home from school/daycare and work when sick, this is the most effective way to avoid infecting others and spreading this disease. 
At this time, we cannot test anyone for the coronavirus that does not meet the above CDC criteria. If your child does meet one of the above criteria, please call us BEFORE coming to the office so we can contact the proper authorities to determine the best way to get your child tested and evaluated.
 
Waiting in our Waiting Room:
If you do come to our clinic for an appointment and you or your child has fever or a cough, it is best to limit the transmission of your germs to others. One of the most effective ways to do this is to keep the sick person’s mouth and nose covered with a mask. Our protective equipment resources are limited, and there is currently a shortage of supplies for us to order replacements. If you happen to have a face mask, please bring it with you and wear it when you arrive at our clinic if you or your child has fever or cough. If you do not have a face mask, bring something with you such as a clean, washed handkerchief, scarf, or other article of clothing that you can use to cover you and your child’s mouth and nose.
 
Try to keep your children from touching objects and surfaces in the building. We have temporarily removed all books and nonessential items from our rooms to try to prevent the spread of infection. Feel free to bring a few personal items to keep your child occupied while they are waiting to be seen.
 
How to Protect Your Family:
Like the common cold and flu, Coronavirus is spread from person to person through droplets in the air from a sneeze or cough. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent the virus. The most effective way to protect yourself and your family is to avoid exposure. Other simple and effective measures include: 
 
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Refrain from unnecessarily going to public places.
 
Resources for Information: 
If you have further questions, we are always here for you and your family. For additional reliable resources, we recommend: 
 
 
 
Updated on March 3, 2020
 
Due to the recent COVID-19 (novel coronavirus 2019) outbreak, we at Pearland Pediatrics are actively working with public health officials and our affiliated hospitals to create the safest environment for our patients, our patients’ families, our employees, and our community. We still have a lot to learn about this new virus, and every day we are learning more about it. Until we know more about this emerging disease, we are planning to implement strategies at our clinic to best serve all of you. Our primary goal is the safety of our patients and employees. With that goal in mind, if and when we start to see cases in our area of the state, we will be implementing strategies to keep our clinic safely operational so we can continue to serve all of our patients with the same high quality of care that you are accustomed to receiving from Pearland Pediatrics.
Some of the strategies we plan to implement in the event we start seeing COVID-19 cases in our community are the following:
 
The walk-in clinic will likely be closed – all patients seen in the office will need to have an appointment to enter the building. This will allow us to properly screen our patients so we can avoid unnecessary exposure of our patients and families to COVID-19
We are planning to significantly increase our phone triage by our health care providers, including a new telemedicine platform.
We strongly encourage using the patient portal to be contacted to make an appointment or be triaged by telephone.
All patients and their caregivers who arrive for their appointment will be screened prior to entry into the clinic to ensure that anyone with a fever or cough is cared for in the safest manner possible.
 
The goal of these and other temporary procedural changes will be to keep everyone as safe as possible. We encourage anyone who has a fever or a cough who is otherwise doing well (looking OK, not having breathing difficulties, able to drink well) to stay home and treat your symptoms. It is most important to follow strict handwashing procedures to prevent the spread of the virus. We will do everything we can to give you the best guidance for caring for your child. We feel that these strategies will be the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to your family who may not yet be infected.
 
As more information becomes available about this virus and the impact it has on us all, we will likely be making further changes to our procedures, and we promise to keep you continually updated. Our mission is to always be there for you and your families, and we will continue to strive to give you the highest quality of care in your time of need.
 
Links to important information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Office Hours
Monday: 08:10 AM - 05:00 PM
Tuesday: 08:10 AM - 05:00 PM
Wednesday: 08:10 AM - 05:00 PM
Thursday: 08:10 AM - 05:00 PM
Friday: 08:10 AM - 05:00 PM
Saturday: Beginning at 09:00 AM
  (Acute Illness Only By Appointment)
Sunday: Closed