Updated as of Friday, March 27th
Dear Hudson Heights Pediatrics Community,
We at Hudson Heights Pediatrics are in communication with the Department of Health and the physician leadership at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUMC) / New York Presbyterian (NYP) to address current concerns and limiting the spread of COVID-19.
This situation is unprecedented. We share your frustration with the lack of testing capacity. This is largely due to the short supply of personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing. We have and will continue to advocate for expanded testing capability throughout the greater New York City area. However, we are confident that if everyone does what they can, we can help make the situation more manageable. The most recent data suggests that children seem to have fewer visible and more mild infections than adults-- click here for more information or visit our website. Nevertheless, we need to be prepared because many more infections will be identified in our area over the next few weeks.
To manage this situation we have put in place some temporary protocols to keep your child, our staff, and our community safe and healthy.
Please read the following before calling our office:
We have started scheduling telemedicine visits: If you would like to have your child seen by one of our providers, call our office to set up a telemedicine appointment for a direct, remote, visual consultation. We are quickly gaining experience with these visits and believe they will reduce the need for ER visits.
We are currently not scheduling in-office sick visits. Please do not walk into the office without an appointment. We will have to turn you away until you are properly phone triaged. Our goal is to help you manage your child’s symptoms at home.
Telemedicine appointments will mostly be scheduled for the afternoon.
After you schedule your visit, we will send you a link to the video platform where the visit will be conducted. Please be ready on the platform at least 5 minutes before the scheduled appointment time.
You can connect using a smartphone, iPad, or a computer with a camera. If you do not have access to any of these, let our staff know and we will schedule a phone telemedicine visit.
Insurance companies have recently signaled that these visits will be covered like an in office visit. It appears that in certain cases copays are being waved, depending on the content of the visit as well as the individual insurance plan.
For this reason, we are holding off on collecting copays at the moment until your individual insurance company processes the claim and determines whether or not a copay is due.
Due to these unprecedented circumstances, we will also work with families if their insurance does not cover all or some of the telehealth visit.
If at all possible, we will continue to do our best to help you manage your sick child at home.
Please bear with our staff as we all try to navigate these new routines. Remember we all have the same concerns about our children, families, and community.
We will continue to schedule pediatric well visits for children up to 15 months (particularly important for infants that need immunizations and follow up), flu shot and vaccine visits. These visits will largely be scheduled in the mornings.
Please limit the number of people who accompany your child during an office visit. No siblings and one parent/caretaker if possible. If both parents have a fever or a cough, please contact us to reschedule or make alternate arrangements.
We have removed the toys in our waiting areas & rooms to decrease cross-contamination. Please feel free to bring in your child’s own toys for more ‘contagion friendly’ play.
All visits are being screened. If you or your child has a fever (100.4 or above) or cough or congestion or shortness of breath; we will reschedule your appointment.
In order to come into the office for your well visit, 14 days should have passed from the beginning of their last illness with a cough or fever. (Please inform us if your child has had a cough or fever in the last 14 days.)
You will not be charged a cancelation fee for changing your appointment, and we ask that if you pass the screening questions but your child wakes up on the day of the visit with any of the above symptoms, that you call our office to reschedule.
If there are other concerns that you’d like to consult with your doctor about, let our staff know and we will schedule a telemedicine call.
At this time, there is no testing for COVID-19 in our office. While you may have heard that greater testing may seem imminently available, there are still supply, logistic, and risk related measures that will need to be put in place before testing is available.
We thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Dr. Richter, Dr. Hamlet, Dr. Wang and the HHP Team
COVID-19 and Children:
Yale School of Medicine: https://medicine.yale.edu/news-article/22996/
“For reasons that nobody fully understands, COVID-19 does not appear to cause severe disease in children. “The first, and most likely scenario, is that children are contracting COVID-19 but are getting a milder version of the disease,” says Thomas Murray, MD, PhD, a Yale Medicine pediatric infectious disease specialist and associate medical director for infection prevention at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital.
Other possibilities: they’re not being exposed, or they’re exposed and don’t contract infection. “Given how quickly it circulates and what we know about other respiratory viruses in children, this is unlikely,” says Dr. Murray. Based on what’s known, it appears children contract COVID-19 — but present a milder disease.
As of today, there have been no known deaths reported in the 0-9-year-old age group and there have been lower hospitalization rates compared with adults. The disease seems to primarily impact older adults and those with underlying health problems.”
What preventative measures should parents practice with their kids?
"Wash your hands, wash your hands, and then wash your hands," says Dr. Murray. "Kids like to touch their face. Your nose, mouth, and eyes are all portals of entry for viruses into your body.” Frequent handwashing, especially with toddlers and kids who are in daycare, is important.
Keep kids away from people who are sick, especially if they have respiratory symptoms. And if your kids are sick, keep them home. For COVID-19, one of the most important things for containment is to isolate people who have the virus.
While it’s not clear yet how much COVID-19 is transmitted from surfaces, we know other respiratory viruses can be. “We recommend cleaning surface areas with products that are documented disinfectants, like Lysol, or bleach-based products for surfaces that can handle bleach,” says Dr. Murray.”
Talking to Children About COVD-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource
From the CDC: Talking with children about Coronavirus Disease 2019: Messages for parents, school staff, and others working with children
Other Helpful Links:
The most recent local New York City information can be found using the link below:
Please see the following topics and links for more information:
The general CDC link:
Frequently asked questions regarding disease basics, prevention, medical information, and the current public health response:
Information on COVID-19 and Pregnant Women and Children:
Information from the American Academy of Pediatrics: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/chest-lungs/Pages/2019-Novel-Coronavirus.aspx
How to talk to children about COVID-19:
If you’ve traveled abroad over the last 14 days, please check the link below to see the latest update on countries with local (sustained community) transmission to see if your travel was to an area with a risk of exposure: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html. Please inform us if you have traveled to one of the countries identified on the CDC website.
If you were told your child has suspected COVID-19 infection:
If you have been told to isolate (‘self isolate’) you or your child, As of March 15, 2020, the DOH has recommended that those with suspected COVID-19 infection should isolate themselves in a private residence until 7 days following onset of illness and 72 hours after being consistently with no fever without use of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) as long as they have improved respiratory symptoms.
Close contacts such as parents or siblings should monitor their health at all times, but should be particularly vigilant for 14 days starting from the last time there was close contact with the person while they were ill.
Please see this link for details: