Letter to our patients and their families: March 16.

Dear Patients and Families,

Due to the overwhelming number of requests for advice and information regarding Coronavirus “COVID-19” we have compiled the appropriate resources below. Please also check our website for further updates www.centrepediatrics.org.

This information is current as of March 16, 2020. Please be sure to get all of your information from reputable sources including the CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and not news media outlets. Please take time to read this entire message.

We know that this is a stressful time for all and we aim to support our patients and families with the highest level of care. Thankfully at this time it appears that young children are not considered a high risk population and will likely have a relatively mild course of illness, however, they can carry COVID-19 and spread virus to others who may be more at risk.

We understand that each individual has a unique situation, but we do not have enough information at present to offer tailored advice that is any different from what the CDC is suggesting. MGH, Partners Healthcare, Boston Childrens’ Hospital, MA Department of Public Health, and the CDC are all giving us daily updates as to how to most appropriately care for our patients, and we are implementing their recommendations.

If you have questions about TRAVEL this is a decision that you and your family need to make after reviewing the CDC website about travel. This website is the most up to date in reference to high risk areas.

At present we do not have testing for COVID-19 in our office. We have stopped testing for Strep and Influenza as swabbing can spread disease.

We do NOT recommend that individuals without symptoms, or individuals with mild symptoms go to the emergency rooms for testing. There are strict guidelines from the CDC for which patients are tested. Patients who are not sick should avoid emergency rooms so that hospitals can provide appropriate care for those who need it, and so that patients can avoid unnecessary exposure to illness.

The recommended screening questions we are asking for COVID19 are as follows, and the patient is considered to be at risk of coronavirus infection if:

  • Has the patient or household member had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 AND has at least one of these symptoms: fever, cough or difficulty breathing.
  • Has the patient or a close contact traveled to China, Iran, Japan, South Korea or Europe in the past 30 days AND has both a fever and a respiratory symptom (cough, difficulty breathing)

If you or your child answers YES to these questions, the recommendation is to call the Urgent COVID-19 Partners line 617 724-7000.

The patient should stay at home unless they are experiencing severe symptoms including dehydration or respiratory distress. Of note, severe symptoms of COVID-19 may not occur until the second week of illness but are rare in children.
The patient should call 911 if they are experiencing life-threatening symptoms.
The patient should NOT be scheduled for an appointment at the practice. If you have concerns about dehydration or respiratory distress please call our office to discuss with our nurses or doctors and we will inform the DPH and the appropriate emergency room.

If your child does NOT meet the high risk criteria above but your child has fever and cough you may call our office for triage.
– If your child is over 3 yrs and can communicate with you, and they are able to drink fluids and are not having difficulty breathing, it is safe to observe them at home and treat with Tylenol and Motrin and plenty of fluids such as Pedialyte or Gatorade and rest. They should not attend daycare or school or have playdates. All viruses are contagious, regardless of concern for COVID-19. Please practice good hand hygiene to prevent household and community transmission. You should still quarantine for 2 weeks to help stop spread.
– If your child has specific complaints such as ear pain, a sore throat WITHOUT runny nose and cough, or trouble breathing we can evaluate them for specific diagnoses such as ear infection and strep throat in the office.
– If your child is under the age of 3 and has persistent fevers, trouble breathing, fussiness, inability to eat or drink, a history of ear infections or urinary tract infection, or wheezing please call the office to schedule an evaluation. At this time, no antiviral drugs have been approved for treatment and no vaccines are available for COVID-19.

Please also refer to the Massachusetts DPH website

We are at this time also changing the regular routine of our office:

Walk-in-Clinic at Centre Pediatrics has been suspended at this time (as of 3/13/20):  Please call ahead to schedule an appointment and please do not come to the office for walk-in-clinic.  We are reserving afternoon time slots for sick visits.

At this time due to the current COVID-19 situation, we are reformatting our policy for our scheduling.  To help ensure the safety of our patients and parents, we will be scheduling essential well visits in the morning time and scheduling

sick visits as needed in the afternoon.  Throughout the day we are thoroughly and frequently cleaning all rooms and the waiting area.  In the evenings we will be having a deep clean.

Essential visits until further notice:  It is important for your child to receive necessary vaccines to ensure their safety.  We will continue to have infant visits through the 15 month well check in the office.  If you have an upcoming well visit in the afternoon, you will be contacted by the office to reschedule starting today (Monday, 3/16/20).  For well checks over 15 months, we are aiming to move towards virtual visits in the coming weeks or rescheduling for the summer.  We ask that only one (1) guardian accompany your child to their visit.  Please aim to leave other children at home.

Virtual visits:  We are currently working on both well and sick virtual visits, which will include video chats and assessments to best serve our patient medical needs.

Thank you so much for your patience and stay well,


Centre Pediatrics