From our friends at Clackamas & Oregon Pediatrics
By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, people are making a point to thank medical health providers. From doctors and nurses and pharmacists to everyone else involved in the medical profession, these individuals deserve every bit of applause and gratitude. Not only are these individuals risking their lives, but they’re making the necessary decisions to best ensure the safety of their patients and the surrounding community. Clackamas & Oregon Pediatrics is no exception.
Earlier this month, when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic, Clackamas & Oregon Pediatrics met with its group of lead providers to determine the best course of action.
Dr. Ankur Shah, who has been with Clackamas & Oregon Pediatrics since 2017, said the clinic made several key decisions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. He explained that the heads of the practice knew these decisions had to be made quickly.
This is not the regular flu, it’s a whole different ball game.Dr. Ankur Shah
First, the clinic decided to close two of its locations that were directly connected to hospitals. Second, the clinic chose to limit its number of physical appointments.
Currently, only newborns to 2-year-olds can have physical appointments. Shah said newborns and toddlers need to continue to receive their vaccines, including the vaccine for polio, hepatitis B and more.
Fortunately, for those who don’t qualify for in-person appointments, there’s an alternative. As part of its response, the clinic adopted a telehealth practice. Now, parents can call the office and schedule a virtual visit with a provider. Shah said that right now the best practice is to stay at home and practice social distancing and good hygiene. While a lot of the cases are mild and are reported as mild illnesses, it’s still very dangerous, he said, especially to elderly folks and those with underlying health conditions.
If someone is experiencing symptoms, the best thing to do is speak with a medical provider and to practice self-isolation. Parents should keep in mind that a lot of children may be asymptomatic, he added. As of right now, testing kits are still limited.
The gravity and impact this concern has on families with little ones is well understood, and those at Clackamas & Oregon Pediatrics are here. There is a drive-thru option where families can get testing such as:
· Strep test
· Flu test
· RSV testing
· Ear check
· and more
(Currently the drive thru is not offering COVID-19 testing.)
The goal is to flatten the curve—to lower the number of cases—which is why social distancing is so important. Shah said initially people weren’t taking coronavirus seriously, but over time, he’s noticed fewer cars on the roads and people are starting to take greater precautions. While there’s no clear end date to the quarantine, Shah said he wouldn’t be surprised if it continued.
“If it’s working, we need to extend it as long as possible,” he said. Still though, not all hope is lost. Recently, the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration recently approved a COVID-19 testing kit, which could yield results in five minutes. Shah is also seeing a positive response from the community.
“The hopeful thing is that people are coming together and putting their personal needs aside to help their neighbors,” he said. “Everybody is coming together and making sure everyone is ok.”
To learn more or schedule your first visit our website: oregonpediatrics.com/welcome. Also, subscribe to our e-mail list to receive an update on our free community webinars hosted by our Providers and Clinic Experts.