We are now a week or more into the school year amidst a pandemic...crazy times... so we thought we'd try to give you an update about goings on and try to answer some of the questions we are getting frequently on our phones.
But before we do...everyone take a deep breath...we will get through this!
Though it feels like this has been going on too long already … just remember that every week that you or your family members stay healthy, the more we know about how this virus works (thus how to combat it) and we are closer to a vaccine. So keep up the diligent work of masking and social distancing at all times when you are not in the proximity of your family/ close circle. The smaller your circle, and the more cautious we all are, the less impact this virus can have on our community.
Schools have been back in session to varying degrees around the area and as we head into what is the typical cold and flu season, it is important to know what protocols are being used when your child develops any illness symptoms. Click HERE to see the basic flow chart that we are following for children who have symptoms with and without known exposure. We are adhering to these guidelines quite closely so it would be good to familiarize yourself with them. Unfortunately, symptoms of COVID-19 overlap with the symptoms of many viral and bacterial infections we see this time of year, so we all need to be extra cautious.
With the COVID-19 protocols and concerns in play, you can imagine that our phones are ringing off the hook so please be patient with us. We are navigating novel territory here and there is a lot ot keep track of to keep you all safe. We ask that unless you need urgent advice, please call only during office hours from 7am – 5 pm M-F, 7-9:30 am Saturday and Sunday. We will continue to try to post information on our web site to help answer common questions as they arise in an effort to keep everyone informed.
We are getting a significant number of requests for mask exemptions for school and sports. We feel strongly that masks are a key factor in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and will not be granting these requests (there may be rare exception made for a child that has severe developmental disability and has tried and failed to mask for school and for whom virtual schooling is not an option.) Your kids are amazingly resilient and their ability to handle masking has a lot to do with how you present it. Make it fun and show them they are helping others. We do want to point out that right now, playing sports, especially contact sports, poses significant risk for COVID-19 and such participation is optional. Each family can judge that risk for themselves and their family. We will be abiding by current health statutes in our state.
We adamantly recommend flu shots every year, but this year it is especially important. We are legitimately concerned that Influenza compounded by COVID-19 poses significant risk. We are working on adapting our flu vaccine clinics to accommodate COVID-19 safety precautions.
We now have flu vaccine (both shot and limited supply of mist) in office for most insurances so feel free to call and schedule your flu vaccine today. We are offering appointments during our regular office hours though these will be spaced out and we are having our patients call in from the parking lot to avoid waiting in the waiting room. You may also have the option to have the shot administered in the car, weather and child cooperation permitting. Our first FLU CLINIC will he held September 26 and will be a drive thru clinic BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. For this particular clinic we are scheduling children who will do well getting a vaccine in the car and we are asking that they wear short sleeve shirts and if they are under 8, have bare legs as well to ease access. There will be more information to follow so continue to check our web site for details.
With a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and concern in West Michigan and throughout the country we wanted to give you a little info on how we will be managing your COVID concerns here at MiKids Pediatrics for the foreseeable future. Our phones have been very busy with questions about exposure, testing, and symptoms so we very much appreciate your patience. To avoid a wait on the phones- take a look here for possible answers to your questions:
A few facts to keep in mind:
We KNOW that masking and physically distancing at least 6 feet (for normal breathing/ conversation) significantly decreases the spread of the virus.
Distancing of 6 feet is NOT adequate when exercising, singing, or yelling.
Being outside is much safer than indoors but this does not mean it is safe, especially if closer than 6 feet. Wear a mask even outdoors if you are not sure you can distance properly. Always better safe than sorry!
Testing is not even close to 100% accurate – and accuracy depends on when, during the course of illness and exposure, you are tested and which test is used. If we test too early, it is less accurate. And a negative test does not mean you don't have COVID or that you can't pass it to others so always be cautious.
If you have had a close exposure (< 6 feet for more than 15 minutes unmasked) with someone who is tested positive for COVID-19:
Ideally we recommend quarantine (stay home...no school/work/daycare) for 14 days. This is the safest and is the best use of resources.
We do not have the capacity to test asymptomatic individuals in our office at this time but can order it to be done at Spectrum, preferably 5-7 days after exposure ensures a more accurate test. We can order the test but needs to be scheduled via the COVID hotline at 833-559-0659 or check with the Kent County Health Department at https://www.accesskent.com/Health/covid-19-testing.htm. Rite Aid also offers testing.
See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html for more info.
If you are asymptomatic without any known exposure:
We do not recommend testing at this time and do not have the capacity to do this at our office.
If testing is required for camp/work/procedure we can order it to be done through Spectrum (again, you will need to call to schedule this yourselves) or call Kent Co Health Department or Rite Aid as above.
If you/ your child have had a close exposure and are showing symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (cough, fever, headache, body aches, inability to taste or smell, and sometimes diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain):
If symptoms are mild and you are able to quarantine at home for the duration, please do so. We can help you navigate these symptoms but assume you have it. It is recommended that quarantine last until 3 days after symptom free or 10 days after onset of symptoms, whichever is LONGER.
We are happy to see you in the office or parking lot to evaluate symptoms and test for COVID- 19 if needed and have specific protocols to do so as safely as possible. Keep in mind that even if your test is negative, you should assume you have it and stay quarantined for 10-14 days.
If you/your child is having symptoms suspicious of COVID-19 but no known exposure, you have the option to keep an eye on symptoms at home, assuming they are mild, or if more worrisome, or we need to rule out other causes, please call to schedule an appointment at our office as above.
A word on antibody testing:
We have had a significant number of calls from individuals wondering if they had COVID-19 earlier in the winter. We are able to order antibody testing through Spectrum (it is a blood draw) to see if you/ your child likely had the virus. Keep in mind that this does not mean that you cannot get sick from COVID again and the vast majority of antibody tests that we have been asked to do thus far have been negative, meaning that they did not have COVID earlier in the winter.
Hey all! We thought we should give you a little COVID/ MiKids update since it has been a few weeks and things are opening up quickly around Michigan. We know this has been a challenging time in so many ways and we are here to help.
First and foremost, please know that though businesses including restaurants and salons are opening, school sports teams are starting up, and life LOOKS like it is going back to normal, the threat from COVID-19 is far from over. Our quick and thorough closure during Detroit's rise in cases kept us from surging in West Michigan but the virus is still very present. We are seeing evidence of this as many areas of the country that opened earlier than Michigan are now starting to see cases spike.
So to help you navigate these waters, we thought we'd take you through some of the MiKids Pediatrics COVID-19 FAQ's.
How do kids handle COVID-19?
We are happy to report that most children and young adults seem to have milder infections than their adult counterparts. There have, however, been severe cases involving inflammation of multiple organ systems in kids and this keeps us on our toes and very cautious! The symptoms of this include persistent high fevers, rash, abdominal pain with diarrhea or vomiting, swollen hands/ feet significant headache, conjunctivitis. Because these symptoms are striking and would typically worry a parent enough to call us regardless of COVID-19. So keep your eyes out, but no need to excessively worry.
Can kids give COVID-19 to others?
We do think kids can transmit the virus to others, even if the child does not have symptoms. So though they may not appear ill, they could give it to parents, grandparents or others at potentially higher risk (and as we mentioned kids aren't very good at socially distancing.)
What are known risk factors for worse outcomes in COVID-19?
We are learning more daily about risk factors but current known risk factors include advanced age, obesity, vitamin D deficiency and poverty. Persons with underlying health issues including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and cancer are also at greater risk for severe outcomes.
Do masks really help decrease transmission of COVID -19?
YES!!!! Masks help decrease transmission! We know that early on there were mixed messages on the use of masks by the general public and this stemmed largely from concern over hoarding and low supply in addition to lack of knowledge about how the virus was transmitted. We now KNOW that use of masks decreases virus transmission but this works best when EVERYONE wears a mask. We know it can be inconvenient, but we all need to do our part to protect our community and each other.
Can wearing a mask cause health problems including issues with carbon dioxide?
No. Unless you have a medical condition specifically prohibiting mask usage, it poses no risk. And wearing a mask does not cause issues with carbon dioxide retention ...after all, our surgical teams wear them for a 8+ hours at at time without any issue.
Do I have to wear a mask to MiKids Pediatrics?
Yes. Masks are required in our office. We see many patients each day and need to keep our staff and other patients safe. Please bring your own masks. Masks are not required for children under age 2. And kids are pretty resilient and adaptive. If you model your mask or make it into a cool dress up gig, they will be all in!
Why do we need to stay 6+ feet apart?
There is clear evidence that social distancing decreases transmission of this virus. Transmission occurs most frequently when there is close contact involving talking, singing, yelling and, obviously, coughing or sneezing. Keeping a distance of at least 6 feet while breathing or quietly talking seems to be sufficient at reducing transmission of these particles, but when exercising, yelling, or singing, the safe distance increases quite a lot. So be careful at those sports camps!
Is it safe to send my child to daycare?
This is such a tough question for us and there really is no great answer. The bottom line is that daycare poses definite risk for transmission of COVID-19 because kids don't know how to socially distance and daycares are not set up to facilitate distancing. We do, however, completely understand the need for daycare as parents need to work! So assess the risks at your individual daycare and of your individual child. Is your daycare frequently cleaning the environment? Do they have a policy for children who are sick or parents who test positive? How many children attend the daycare? Is your child immune compromised or is a parent or other family member that is in regular contact with your child at high risk?
Should my family attend a gathering?
So this, too, is a matter of risk assessment. In addition to what is mentioned above, other factors to be included in risk assessment include:
What is the size of the gathering? More people= higher risk
How careful in masking/ distancing are those that you plan to gather with?
Is there food at the gathering and how is it served? Potlucks pose the highest risk, especially if each person serves themselves. It is much safer to bring your own food or eat at home before you go.
Is the gathering inside our outside? Inside clearly poses a greater risk for transmission.
What will people be doing at the gathering? Any activity putting people in close contact with yelling/ singing/ exercising (including dancing) poses higher risk.
How easy would it be to quarantine you or a family member if anyone were to get ill?
What do I do if you or your child is ill?
Generally speaking, if you or your child have symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, fever/ chills, diarrhea, and body aches, then ideally all members of the household should stay home. We understand that this is not always possible and will try to navigate your individual situation. There are currently no firm guidelines on return to work/ daycare/ school, but we hope these will become more clear as we learn more about the virus. Current CDC recommendations do state that any person with a positive test should stay home for a minimum of 10 days after onset of symptoms or 3 days after fever resolves and symptoms are resolving- whichever is LONGEST. A person with symptoms but negative test should stay home until at least 72 hours fever free. Obviously we will help you navigate this...just give us a call. And know that these guidelines are evolving as we learn more.
I just had a baby...Can we have visitors?
I know we sound like a broken record here but this is also a matter of risk assessment. Having a few close family who have been socially distancing would be fairly safe and certainly use of masks would decrease risk further. Good handwashing is always important!
We recognize that this pandemic is hard on everyone, but we will get through this! Take this time to slow down, enjoy your families, and some sunshine (with sunscreen, of course!)
Hi MiKids Family,
Welcome to what looks to be our new normal as we head into summer amidst Coronavirus. Summer at MiKids means sports physicals and school checkups (and some poison ivy... and an occasional injury)... and we will continue to work hard at keeping our environment safe and available for your pediatric needs! Throughout the summer, we are keeping our mornings devoted to healthy visits and will hold off on walk in hours to be able to control potential exposures. Summer can be a very busy time for checkups in our office and we want to accommodate you, so please call ASAP to schedule your visit (616)818-7454. Keep in mind that given parents' schedules and high volume, there may be some need to schedule some checkups in the afternoon. Rest assured, we use different scales, hallways and entrances for sick children, further limiting potential exposure. Our waiting room remains closed at this time.
Please keep in mind that whenever the shelter in place order is lifted, this does NOT indicate that the virus is controlled or that it is safe to go back to “the way things were.” PLEASE wear a mask when you are in an enclosed public space, including our office (we currently require it), and even wear one when outside if there is any chance you will be in contact with others. Remember that when you are running or biking, your distance from others needs to be considerably greater to be safe. Masks are a way of primarily protecting others in case you have been exposed and not showing symptoms and decreases transmission considerably. Social distancing and frequent hand washing will also continue to limit the spread of the virus and keep you and your loved ones safe.
We have very limited COVID testing capability in our office so if you are concerned that you or your child may have Coronavirus, it may still be best to access one of the multiple testing sights around the city including through Spectrum Health. (The MedNow phone number to get an appointment for testing is 616-391-2380.) If you do get tested, please call us with your results as these don't typically get sent to us. Certainly we are available to help you evaluate symptoms and make recommendations regarding testing. We do hope to have more testing capacity in the future, including antibody testing, and we hope the reliabilitiy of these tests continues to improve.
We know this has been tough on our families in so many ways. We are seeing an increase in anxiety and depression in many of our patients so take care and lean on us if you need to. We are offering telemedicine visits to help you manage and most therapists around town (including the amazing therapists in our building) are offering telemed visits as well. A good dose of outside helps too! So be sure to get some sunshine (sunscreen applied, of course) and get them off their electronic devices!
We continue to offer telemedicine visits for various issues so be sure to ask if this is of interest.
Take care, all!
your MiKids Team
Hi MiKids Family,
We thought we'd send a little COVID-19/ MiKids update!
We continue to work to keep you and your kids safe!
As a medical profession, we are learning more and more about this virus, but we are certainly navigating some new waters with this one and it has posed its fair share of challenges.
Here are the bullet points...keep reading beyond for important details:
Mornings are reserved for our well visits/ med checks/ video visits and injuries. Try to limit to 1 parent/ support person.
No walkins until further notice (likely restart in the fall...sorry for the inconvenience)
Please wear masks when coming in to our office even if healthy to keep others safe.
There is no waiting in the waiting room – see below for details in checking in.
The typical symptoms include fever (not always present in the first 1-2 days and may not be present at all), dry cough and shortness of breath but a wide range of symtoms have been reported, including sore throat, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, body aches, extreme fatigue, and, interestingly, loss of smell/ taste. Many people are entirely asymptomatic and children, in particular, tend to have lesser symptoms or are asymptomatic. This is why social distancing is so important, even from those that appear well, because anyone can be carrying this virus at any time.
We still do NOT have the capability to test our patients for COVID-19 in our office. We are hoping that this is an option for us soon, but that is not in our control. As always, we are glad to go over symptoms with you and give you guidance as to whether you should be tested. Spectrum health continues to offer a free risk assessment on their COVID hotline (616-391-2380) to qualify for their testing. They have been able to widen their testing capability to include milder symptoms, especially as the number of cases increase in the area, which we fully expect in the coming weeks. If you or your child have been exposed and you are tested, please let us know your results. In the mean time, completely quarantine away from other family members to keep them as safe as possible.
What we are doing at MiKids:
In addition to regularly washing down all surfaces in our office...
-We continue to reserve our morning hours for healthy checkups and video visits to minimize any potential unecessary exposure to illness. If you are scheduled for a well visit and are experiencing fever, cough, congestion or other concerning symptoms, we ask that you call ahead and reschedule to minimize risk to all involved. As we move beyond the shelter in place order, we will likely still keep somewhat of this schedule to minimize everyone's exposure.
-We are seeing the majority of our ill visits in the afternoon but as a courtesy, if you think your child needs to be seen for an ill visit, please try to call in the morning or early afternoon so we can get you scheduled. We have somewhat limited staff in the afternoon and will likely be closing earlier if it continues to remain this quiet.
-Our waiting room is closed at this time. We have a dedicated staff member to bring patients right back to the room after arrival for well visits through the front door. If you prefer to check in over the phone and wait in your car, call 616-818-7926 (also on our web page) to let us know that you are here. All ill visits are asked to call 616-818-7926 from the parking lot to be brought directly into an exam room. When you call to schedule an ill appointment, you will be told which parking lot/ door you need to use. You will also may be asked to pre-register and give copays over the phone to avoid additional contact with staff and other patients.
-We are offering video visits for issues including mental health/ med checks, some rashes, and other complaints using the Care Convene app (see website to set this up on your phone) but keep in mind these do need to be scheduled by our staff at times when the docs are available. You will not be able to get a hold of a doc on Care Convene without having an appointment time in our schedule. We are also doing limited visits in the parking lot, weather permitting, for various complaints so feel free to ask about that option if this is of interest.
We'll keep you updated as we know more. Please stay safe, and when the shelter in place is lifted, please still use considerable caution. The lifting of restrictions does not mean that the virus is controlled so it is still safer to go out only when needed, avoid larger groups, socially distance and wear a mask.
Your MiKids team is here for you through it all!
It has been quite a week with day to day changes as we navigate how to serve you best. We are working hard to keep you, your kids, and our staff safe while managing the pediatric issues important to you all including the emergence of COVID-19 in our area. We so appreciate your patience in all of this.
One of our biggest changes is our ramp up of Telemedicine visits! We are offering virtual visits for an increasing variety of issues. We are moving our med checks to a virtual platform as well as many other visits including rashes, acne, as well as appointments for ADHD/ anxiety and depression. We are working to tailor many other types of visits to the virtual platform as well including sore/ strep throat with drive up strep test. Click here for instructions on how to load our Care Convene app which is the first step in our telemedicine visits. You do need to call our office to set up a telemedicine appointment. The app will allow you to make your own appointment but we cannot see this or use this on our end. You need to call the office, set up an appointment time and billing and insurance information will be taken on that call as these visits still go through your insurance.
Obviously it is challenging to listen to a chest or check ears virtually so if there are sufficient concerns about breathing or ears or other concerns, we will generally want you to come into the office knowing that we are keeping people separated and are cleaning extensively. For these ill visits, we are asking people to call from the parking lot to be brought directly to a room by our staff. The number we have dedicated to this is 616-818-7926. (Please DO NOT call this number for medical advice.) We need to handle what we can in an attempt to keep you OUT of the urgent care/ ER where they are overwhelmed as it is, and the potential for coming in contact with other sick people is high.
We are still seeing our well checks but we are scheduling them in the morning hours to avoid contact with any sick kids. So if you have a checkup scheduled but your child has cough/ congestion/ fever, we request that you let us know ahead of the visit so that we can schedule accordingly. If you are not planning on coming for your well visit, please let us know. In addtion, we have essentially closed our waiting room and bringing patients back immediately. You have the option to call from your car (616-818-7926) to let us know you are here to avoid standing at check in.
At this point, weekend hours will work as they always have with phones on at 7 to triage and schedule if you need to be seen. There may be options for telemedicine visits and we will be using our back entrance for many visits depending on complaint. We ask that you call 616-818-7926 when you arrive in the parking lot so we can let you know when we are ready for you or someone will come and get you.
Thanks so much for your patience and understanding as we navigate this pandemic.
A few updated facts to keep in mind as we move forward.
Recent evidence suggests that people are contagious as many as 4 days before showing ANY symptoms. This is why social distancing is so important even if everyone seems healthy.
Though there are only 5 cases reported in Kent County, there are likely many more positives out there which will show up as testing is just getting ramped up. We do not have the ability to test here at the office at this point, so if there is true concern of exposure to COVID-19 and symptoms, you may call Spectrum Health's MedNow hotline at 616-391-2380 to be screened and potentially tested.
We get a lot of questions regarding play dates and travel. Until further notice, we do not recommend play dates or any travel – whether driving or flying. We know this is so very hard and we, too, have had to change many plans because of this pandemic.
We want to keep our patients in the loop regarding COVID-19; what you can do to help protect yourself, your family and your community as well as what you can expect from us at MiKids Pediatrics. We will continue to post significant changes via email (if you do not get our emails, feel free to sign up below) and on our web page.
COVID-19 has presented some unique challenges due to the quickness of its spread, its relative severity, and our lack of testing and treatment options. The good news is that it does not seem to affect our pediatric population as severely as it affects the older population and those with chronic conditions. But children can still catch it and transmit the virus and it might only look like a cold at first so prevention and precautions are critical.
Updates on our process
Designated well and sick times:
We are changing our schedule to accommodate only wells (check ups) until 11 am with no illness visits until after 11. For the foreseeable future, there will be NO WALK IN hours. This is in an effort to keep our check ups in a relatively germ free environment and ensure that our young babes are able to get their vaccines without crossing paths with potentially ill patients. If you absolutely cannot make the earlier checkup times and need an afternoon check up or medication check, just be aware that you will have more potential exposure. The same is true for allergy shots. We are attempting to put all healthy patients in need of allergy shots into our morning hours to avoid unecessary exposure. If you wish to reschedule your well, med check or allergy shot, just give us a call and we will be happy to do to so.
We also have the capability of doing e-visits through the care convene app and are happy to meet with you this way for things that might not require testing or the actual patient to be present. Just call to schedule a telemedicine visit and we will take care of it! Note that our ill visits with cough, congestion, fever will likely be asked to come through our back door.
Our phones have been quite busy, as you can imagine. Please continue to be patient with us. If there is known exposure with COVID-19, you may contact the Spectrum Health MedNow hotline at 616-391-2380 to see if you qualify for testing. We are not sure if we will be given tests to administer here at our office or not but will let you know if/ when this happens. If your child has a fever and cough, but is stable, meaning they are are not breathing fast or working hard to breathe, then it is fine to watch them and just treat symptomatically. If you are concerned about an ear infection, we recommend waiting 24-48 hours since recent evidence suggests that as many as 50% of ear infections get better without antibiotics. If you are concerned about pneumonia, ear infection (more than 24-48 hours), strep throat (significant sore throat, typically without congestion/ cough for more than 24 hours) or prolonged fever (more than 5 days or higher than 104.5 F), we are here to help and have sick hours and halls designated here in our office for these issues. These guidelines are in an effort to minimize any needless exposure for you and your child.
There is a shortage of masks world-wide and our supply is limited as well. The standard masks are meant to avoid the person wearing it from spreading anything. They do not seem to prevent a person from getting the virus. So if you or your child is feeling at all ill (even just the sniffles) and you have a mask at home, please put it on before entering our facility. If you do not have one and are potentially contagious, we will give you one as you enter. Let us know if you have access to masks that you are willing to donate or sell to us.
We are here to help, but here are some things you need to know regarding our office and Coronavirus:
We are CLOSING our current walk in hours until further notice in order to better triage what is coming through our doors.
We do NOT currently have the ability to do Coronavirus testing at our office and testing around the state is limited. Tests are currently being done through the CDC/ Health department in their offices and on hospital campuses and only in certain situations. Possible exposure or mild symptoms will not warrant testing at this time.
If you are concerned that you or your child have been exposed to this virus, please take extra precaution to isolate from others and we advise symptomatic treatment. The time from exposure to illness is estimated to be 2-7 days. The symptoms are typically fever (not always in the first 1-2 days), dry cough, and shortness of breath. Some have experienced diarrhea. Nasal congestion and sore throat are common as well. These symptoms are typical of so many viruses we see this time of year, and we have no way to test , so if you or your child are sick, please stay away from others (especially the elderly or those with other illness) and treat symptomatically.
We want to do whatever we can to help, but suspicion or mild symptoms of Cornovirus are not reasons to be seen in the office. This will potentially endanger other patients and staff and there is nothing we can do at this time other than supportive care.
Please be patient with our phone staff. We have extra people working phones, but our volumes are high and resources limited. Please do your research about what needs to be called in/ seen.
When to call
fever above 101 for more than 5 days
difficulty breathing/ shortness of breath (not related to elevated temperature)
significantly worsening cough
if you are suspicious of strep throat or ear infection – but would watch for a day or so especially with ears as these can get better on their own and a trip in to the office may pose more risk than necessary.
We will likely be moving some of our visits to telemedicine option upcoming so be on the alert for this.
We will be wearing masks for respiratory visits and may ask that you or your sick child wear one to contain spread, so please prepare your child in advance so that they are not frightened.
Yoga classes are cancelled at this time until further notice. We will be offering makeup classes in the future.
Wash your hands often and thoroughly. Washing your hands with soap for 20+ seconds is always better than hand sanitizer but use sanitizer when washing is not available. For more information on prevention see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html
Please don't panic but be cautious. The school and business closings are to limit the spread, and allow the health care system to keep up with the severely ill.
See https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html for general updates on Coronavirus and other helpful links.