COVID- 19 Guidance for Patients and Families

If you were around someone diagnosed with COVID-19

If you are waiting for a COVID-19 test result

If you had close exposure to someone with COVID-19 and you do not have symptoms

Testing Overview

If a parent or a sole caregiver has COVID-19

Travel & Testing

Keep Children Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Returning to Sports After COVID-19

When is everyone finished with their home quarantine?

 

COVID TESTING AT NEXT STEP PEDIATRICS

Next Step Pediatrics has a Rapid COVID-19 Antigen Test.  This test allows us to get same-day results for COVID-19.  We recommend testing at least 5-7 days after exposure or when the patient has symptoms.  This is when testing is most accurate and it will preserve testing materials for other patients.  

This test is NOT the Molecular/PCR test.  Our test is 100% accurate when positive, but has a 15-20% false negative rate.  For this reason, we recommend that if you have had known direct exposure and the rapid test is negative, remain quarantined as per CDC guidelines.  Also be aware that some facilities may not accept it as a screening test.  If you need a Molecular/PCR test specifically for your child, please let us know.  If you are a parent and need a Molecular/PCR test, please refer to the Maryland Department of Health or Pennsylvania Department of Health websites linked below.  These will help you find low or no cost testing sites near you.

Maryland Department of Health

Pennsylvania Department of Health

 

WHAT WE ARE DOING TO HELP STOP THE SPREAD

We wanted to share with you the changes we have made to our physical space and protocol in order to optimize the safety of our families and staff.  Our goal is to continue essential pediatric care, such as newborn and well visits, in a safe and healthy environment.

We are scheduling well AND sick visits in office.  We still offer telemedicine visits but we do feel the art of medicine is best practiced in person.  However, if you feel that your child may be sick at the time of their well visit we ask that you call us so we can reschedule appropriately.  We also ask that only one parent and one patient be present during your visit.

We recognize that COVID-19 can spread even though the carrier shows no symptoms. For this reason we are requiring a mask be worn by our staff as well as our patients at all times.  We have also implemented a more vigorous cleaning policy which includes spraying disinfectant on all surfaces, including furniture, at the end of each shift.

We have put into place a curbside check-in.  When calling to schedule an appointment, please be sure to let us know the cell phone number of the person who will be bringing the child in for an appointment.  A text message will be sent asking to notify us when you are in the parking lot.  For sick visits, we will let you know when it is safe to come in, which room to procede to, as well as take payment for the visit.  For well visits, we will let you know when it is safe to come to the waiting room.

In our Towson Office, our Sick and Well children are seperated by space.  Half of our suite is dedicated to Sick visits including a dedicated provider, medical assistant, rooms, and equipment.  Our goal is to keep our Sick and Well patients from sharing any space or equipment.  Our Hereford Office is seperated by time.  Sick and Well patients are seen at different times of the day to give us time for a thorough cleaning to prevent cross-contamination.

We are also requiring that all patients have a credit card on file and we offer most of our forms online.  We want to make our office as contactless as possible while still providing the highest quality care.  

We hope that the measures described above will help you feel more comfortable bringing your child to the office for their routine Well Visits.  We are highly discouraging visits to an urgent care or emergency room unless absolutely necessary. This will reduce your potential exposure and reduce the burden to these facilities.

Of note here at Next Step Pediatrics, we still feel it is very important to vaccinate children during this time. We have seen disturbing numbers from the American Academy of Pediatrics showing a large drop in the rate of vaccination. This is understandable with the expectation of social distancing and self-quarantine.  Our concern is potentially opening up the door to a second infectious disease problem because of not vaccinating appropriately.

Lastly, we have been seeing an increase in the rates of anxiety and depression as well as behavioral concerns. We would like to make ourselves available if any of these issues arise.

If you have any concerns please call the office so we could arrange your visit in a way that would address your concerns.

We hope you and your families stay safe and healthy during this crisis. Let us know if we can be of any assistance.