07.15.2021 Update: Delta Variant & Kids
If the temperature outside didn’t suggest otherwise, you’d think we’re in the middle of winter. The number of sick children that we’re seeing now is much more like what we’d expect during the winter months when coughs and colds and fevers are common.
So why are the number of sick kids nearly double over last year?
There’s no one answer but a few obvious possibilities.
As the number of people receiving COVID vaccines increase, safety standards have relaxed. Masks are noticeably absent in grocery stores and other public places. Social distancing is becoming a thing of the past as families and friends gather together once again.
While much of what we are seeing is typical childhood illnesses, what is most worrisome is an increase in RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) and of course, the concern about the new, much more contagious Delta variant of COVID 19. Children who are too young to be vaccinated and those who choose not to be, are especially vulnerable.
What do parents need to know about the Delta variant?
Most kids contracting the Delta variant seem to have mild infections but the jury will be out about the extent of complications for quite a long time. It is best to prevent infections whenever you can.
The number of COVID cases are on the rise in Sarasota County. The positivity rate is 8.53, up 3.31% in just the past 7 days. It’s definitely not time to let our guard down.
While communities around the country are walking back precautions, we are going the extra mile to keep everyone healthy and safe.
Weiss Pediatric Care and medical clinics around the country are responding to OSHA’s Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS). Among other regulations, everyone over the age of 2 entering our office must wear a mask. Air purifiers, COVID questions and temperature checks are here to stay for the foreseeable future.
For the sake of our kids and for our community, please continue to practice safety guidelines whether or not you’ve been vaccinated.
03.15.2021 Update: COVID-19 Vaccine for High-Risk teens 16 Years+
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the state of Florida have expanded COVID 19 vaccine availability to certain High Risk adolescent individuals 16 years of age and older.
In our continuing efforts to keep our patients safe during this pandemic, upon request we will complete the necessary form for all children that meet the criteria so that they may receive the vaccine when and if it is available.
This ONLY applies to the Pfizer vaccine* at present. It is the only company with a COVID-19 vaccine approved for ages 16 and up by the FDA. Other companies are petitioning for inclusion but are not covered by this new recommendation.
Weiss Pediatric Care adhere closely to the definition of High Risk as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control. The conditions that are accepted as fulfilling the approval for Pfizer COVID 19 SARS Vaccine are as follows:
These rigid criteria are due to the lack of significant safety data to allow the blanket approval for all children that will hopefully come prior to next school year (2021-2022). This is an emergency approval granted by the FDA and approved by the CDC and AAP at this time.
Weiss Pediatric Care will update this guidance as new information is made available by CDC, FDA, and the AAP.
02.09.2021 Update: Say Yes to COVID-19 Vaccine
Vaccines have done more to save lives in the past 100 years than any other medical accomplishment.
The COVID-19 vaccines will prevent hundreds of thousands of children and adults from becoming very sick or dying from this virus.
That’s why Weiss Pediatric Care is encouraging everyone to get the vaccine when it is available to them. When it comes to children our best hope is that the vaccine may be available for certain age groups before the 2021-22 school year begins.
Here’s what Dr. Weiss wants you to know about the COVID-19 Vaccine:
“COVID-19 can be a ‘silent’ disease that can spread easily to those we meet, talk with, and spend time with. It has been and continues to be a killer of people of all ages. This battle is far from over. We can’t afford to take unnecessary chances with exposing others we love, and care about, to such a dangerous pathogen. The COVID vaccine is our best and only solution at this critical time in history.”
We trust the science and research that support the recommendation for COVID vaccine for all. Yet we know that parents often have questions and want to do their own research before deciding about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Using Google to find answers to important questions can lead to information that is confusing and inaccurate. We encourage everyone to make an informed decision using information that is based in science.
Here are a few places we turn to for trustworthy information about the COVID -19 vaccine.
If you have questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines, please contact us. We are always here to answer your questions.
NOW OFFERING COVID-19 TESTING FOR KIDS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID TESTING WEISS PEDIATRIC CARE
WHO: This service is available to Weiss Pediatric Care patients who meet one of the following criteria: 1) Children with known exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or who has symptoms common to COVID-19; and/or 2) Patients with cough, fever, loss of taste or smell or other symptoms that might be due to COVID-19.
WHAT: We offer Rapid COVID-19 tests, PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) tests, and Rapid COVID-19-FLU Combo Tests.
Rapid COVID-19 tests provide results in 15 minutes. Getting test results quickly helps us make decisions about your child’s care. When a patient’s rapid test is negative, we schedule an in-office appointment. When a rapid test is positive, we offer telehealth appointments.
PCR tests are considered the “gold standard” to determine if a child has an active COVID-19 infection. For that reason, we recommend doing both the Rapid and PCR tests at the same time. PCR tests are sent to an outside lab. Results are usually available in 48-72 hours.
Rapid COVID-19 & FLU Combo tests provide results in 15 minutes for both COVID-19 and Flu with a single swab. Because the symptoms are almost identical, knowing whether a child has one or both viruses (Yes! You can have COVID and FLU at the same time!) can be important for treatment recommendations.
WHERE: A member of our nursing team meets patients at their cars for COVID testing. When you arrive for testing, please park on the interstate side of our parking lot near the green awning. Be sure to call us when you arrive to let us know you’re here. We’ll also need to know the make, model, and color of your vehicle so your nurse will be able to find you. You’ll recognize your nurse because she’ll be wearing a blue protective gown, face mask, face shield, and gloves. We ask that everyone two years of age and older wear face masks when our nurse greets you at your vehicle.
HOW: Rapid and PCR tests require nose swabs, much like the ones we use for flu testing. These swabs are not deep into the nose. Instead, our nurses describe the swabs more like a “tickle” just inside the nose.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Most private and Medicaid insurance plans cover the cost of the Rapid COVID-19 tests and PCR tests. For those without insurance, or if insurance does not cover the cost, the costs are:
Rapid COVID-19 tests: $50
Rapid COVID-19-Flu Combo tests: $75
PCR Tests – $125
For additional information, please give us a call at 941-552-8341. We’re always happy to hear from you!
< 9/8/2020 UPDATE: Flu Clinics During a Pandemic: What it will look like for our patients
FLU CLINIC DURING THE WEEKDAYS: Thursday and Friday from 8:15am to 9:15am / 3:45pm – 4:45pm
ONE-WAY WALK-THRU FLU CLINIC ON SATURDAYS: October 3rd, 10th and 17th from 8am – 12pm
Take a walk with this muggle through the magical world of Weiss Pediatric Care to see what our Saturday Walk-Through Flu Clinics will look like this year:
COVID-19 Scheduling Update: The pandemic and summer physical season have conspired to create a perfect storm …of the scheduling variety. Just when we are at our busiest, we are challenged with significant scheduling restrictions to ensure the safety and health of our families. What that means for you, our patients, is that we may have changed your previously scheduled appointment to allow extra time for:
We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced as a result of the scheduling gymnastics that we are performing on a daily basis to keep you safe and healthy. We are especially grateful for your understanding and your willingness to make changes along with us.
Thank you for your patience as we strive to continue to keep your children healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
COVID UPDATE 07.01.2020
HOW WE’RE KEEPING YOU SAFE
We continue to adjust our guidelines to ensure your safety as more information is made available by the CDC.
At this time, we have no plans to offer COVID testing in the office. However, here is what you need to know about testing in our area.
Anyone who wishes to be tested can be tested without a physician’s note and without symptoms.
When considering whether or not to seek testing, here are a few questions to guide your decision:
Close contact is defined by the CDC as being within 6 feet of that person for longer than 15 minutes. If your exposure doesn’t meet the definition of close contact then your risk is low.
If it hasn’t been longer than 10 days, testing is recommended. If it has been longer than 10 days, then ask yourself the next question.
If the answer is YES, then going to the hospital or being tested is recommended. If the answer is no, then ask yourself the next question.
If the answer is YES to two or more of these symptoms, then testing is recommended. If the answer is NO or yes to only one symptom, then testing is optional.
If you have had direct contact or any of the current symptoms of COVID-19, please call us to review the exposure and provide recommendations and guidance.
For a list of current symptoms of COVID-19, visit the CDC website.
RL Taylor Community Center Complex is the only local testing facility available for children. Adults can also be tested at this facility. Testing is free. No appointment necessary.
RL Taylor Community Complex Drive-Thru Testing
7 days/week 8am-5pm
1845 34th Street
Sarasota, FL 34234
Nose swab. Need valid photo ID. Results 2-4 days.
Plan on long lines at this facility and others in our area. A portion of your wait time will be outside of your vehicle. It is a good idea to bring water and snacks and some entertainment while you wait. There are a limited number of tests available per day, so plan to arrive as early as possible to avoid being turned away.
For additional testing locations, you can contact the COVID hotline at 941-861-2883.
What Else Should You Know?
We encourage everyone to continue to social distancing and follow all the CDC recommended guidelines to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
If you have any questions, concerns or just want general information about COVID-19, we are here for you and doing everything we can to answer all of your questions as quickly and as accurately as possible.
We apologize for all the inconveniences created by this pandemic and thank all of you for your continued trust in us as we work together to keep everyone healthy.
WELL VISITS: KEEPING EVERYONE SAFE
Our busy summer physical season is now in full swing! By following our new protocols, you can help us keep everyone safe during their visits to our office. Please read the important details below:
Thanks for working with us to keep your children and our community protected and safe!
Telehealth is here to stay! OUR KIDS are taking classes at home, YOU are working from home, and NOW, you can see US from the comfort of YOUR HOME. We are offering telehealth to sick patients and for other appointments such as asthma, ADHD and allergy follow-up. Call us to schedule a virtual visit.
We continue to see children for well visits, while also offering limited in-office sick appointments at separate times for issues that cannot be addressed via telehealth such as ear pain and urinary symptoms.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging everyone to keep their well visit appointments. Well visits are an important opportunity to make sure that your child is growing and developing normally, to provide immunizations, to administer age appropriate screenings, and to identify and treat any health problems. In addition, they allow both you and your child an opportunity to ask questions related to their physical and emotional health and well-being.
Call us today to schedule your child’s well visit and beat the summertime rush!
We are taking extra steps to make sure you and your children are safe when you come to see us.
To minimize time in the office and to limit exposure, much of what you used to do while in our waiting room you can now do while waiting in your car for a room to become available. Call us when you arrive so that we can help you:
Now more than ever, it’s very important that families stay connected to their pediatrician and their medical home. We care about the health of your baby, child or teen and are happy to talk to you about anything from medicines and illnesses to injuries and behavior issues.
We thank you in advance for your understanding as we have been moving appointments (unfortunately sometimes more than once) in order to adjust our office schedule to make sure our patients can receive the safest care possible.
We are starting to plan for the next three months and will make accommodations to keep all of our community as safe as possible. Thanks for working through this with us! We will make it through together.
Summer is almost here!
We’re working hard to make sure we have availability for everyone’s well visits while continuing to follow guidelines to keep everyone safe.
Here’s what you can expect:
As we shift things around to accommodate new protocols and staff availability, it is possible that your child’s previously scheduled summer well visit appointment time has changed and maybe even which provider your child was scheduled to see. Please give us a call to confirm your child’s next well visit appointment, if we haven’t already called you, to make sure to secure a day and time that works best for you.
While we are separating well and sick appointments by modifying how we schedule, we are also continuing to follow guidelines to further limit everyone’s exposure.
As for us, we’ll be greeting you with masks on, and offering you hand sanitizer upon entering the office and just about everywhere else you turn. We’re sanitizing like we always have but with even greater vigilance, if that’s possible.
While things are surely not back to normal, our care for your children is all that you have come to expect.
Our team is looking forward to seeing you now and over the summer so that everyone is ready for a healthy start to a new school year.
Please visit our website for real time information on how we are working to protect you and your family at https://www.weisspediatriccare.com/coronavirus-updates/
As an essential service, Weiss Pediatric Care remains open, even as Governor DeSantis has issued a stay-at-home order. We’re here, working hard to answer your questions over the phone, and to provide safe care for well and sick children in our office and through Telehealth appointments.
It is especially important that infants keep their well visits and get immunizations on time. We don’t want to have an outbreak of measles or another preventable illness during this time when hospitals are trying to prepare for a surge of ill COVID-19 patients.
Since many children and parents are home during this stay-at-home period, we encourage you to schedule and keep well visits now to avoid the inevitable summer rush. Many of our student athletes will need sports physicals in the fall. Now’s the time to get in before the rush. We are confident that our office remains a safe place to receive appropriate care.
We are scheduling well visits until 3:00 pm daily, and seeing children with non-respiratory illnesses in the office between 3:00-4:00 pm.
With the introduction of Telehealth, we’re pleased to be able to schedule most sick visits virtually. Telehealth visits are available every weekday from 9:30 am – 4:40 pm.
Effective immediately, we have dedicated exam rooms that will be used ONLY for well visits. We will, of course, continue to clean and sanitize all rooms to the fullest possible extent after every patient visit.
Our staff are wearing masks and face shields for all visits and we’re thoroughly cleaning rooms between patients.
We’re asking all patients to call us from their cars upon arrival. We’ll take care of check-in by phone and let you know when your room is ready. No waiting in the waiting room for now.
We also ask that, whenever possible families have only one adult accompany a child to the office so that we can limit the number of people in the office and exam rooms at any one time.
Please call us first whenever your child is sick and before going to an urgent care or emergency room. Let us help you choose the safest place for care, as the urgent care or ER may increase your family’s risk of exposure.
We continue to provide care for your children – well or sick. Call us first!
WELL VISITS: please keep your appointment. Bring only the child with an appointment and one parent (feel free to have the other parent join the conversation on speaker phone). AND IF YOU DON’T FEELWELL DON’T COME. Please call to reschedule.
SICK VISITS: All sick visits will be screened by the nursing team and then rescreened by Dr. Weiss or a Nurse Practitioner to decide whether an in-office visit is necessary and/or can be accomplished by Telehealth.
We are unable to test for COVID-19 in our office. Suspected cases are being referred to our local health department who will advise if a person is a candidate for testing. Currently only patients who have symptoms including fever, cough, trouble breathing AND known travel or exposure to a confirmed case are being tested.
COVID-19 BASIC FACTS
Viral illness: fever, cough, difficulty breathing; symptoms can be mild to severe.
Spread: person to person, through respiratory droplets; new cases are emerging showing community spread meaning no known contact with an infected person and no recent travel to endemic areas.
Testing: in-office testing is not available suspected cases are being referred to the Sarasota County Health Department.
Treatment: current treatment is supportive care; rest, fluids, fever medications; it is not know if current anti-viral medications are effective against COVID-19
When to call the doctor: if your child is having significant shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or fever over 100.5 for more than 4 days, contact us.
Reducing the spread of viral illnesses:
Remember children with coronavirus generally have MILD symptoms but it is important to keep them from spreading to the more vulnerable people in our community. Social distancing and handwashing are key. If your child is having respiratory symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat) but is not experiencing any distress it is best to STAY HOME!
For trustworthy, current information about COVID-19: