Coronavirus Update (3/13/20)

March 13, 2020


As most people know, there have been 15+ confirmed cases in Maryland although none on the Eastern Shore. We want to reassure you that we have been preparing for COVID-19.

We are here for you.

This is a constantly evolving situation and we do not have all the answers. We are committed to the health and safety of your child and keeping you up to speed with reliable information. Here is what you need to know for now:

Let’s start with three important, take-home points:

  1. Do not panic
  2. Get your information from reliable sources
  3. Wash your hands

 What We Know

  • Basics: Coronavirus is a family of respiratory viruses. Coronavirus-19 is a strain of the virus that originated in Wuhan, China towards the end of 2019 that has since spread worldwide. This virus causes a disease called COVID-19 which is characterized by flu-like symptoms: fever, cough, congestion, chills, and fatigue. In most cases symptoms are mild, however, symptoms can be severe and life threatening.
  • Impact: To date, there have been >125,000 confirmed cases and 4,600 deaths worldwide. There have been 987 confirmed cases and 29 deaths in the United States. To put this in perspective, there have been 36 million cases of influenza and 22,000 related deaths this year.
  • How it spreads: Coronavirus appears to spread from close personal contact, through respiratory droplets (sneezing, coughing), and potentially, from the virus living on surfaces.
  • Children: The early and limited amount of data that we do have suggests that the vast majority of cases in children are mild to moderate. The death rate is considerably lower in children compared with adults.
  • Maryland: Three cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on March 5, 2020. We know that these were all adult cases and the Maryland Department of Health is actively investigating these cases.

What you SHOULD do:

  • Avoid people with sick symptoms: This is no different than business as usual… Just as you would avoid friends and family with the Flu or flu-like symptoms, avoid contact with people with COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Wash your hands – Washing with soap and water is the most effective way to prevent the spread of this virus. For proper hand washing technique, check out this CDC webpage. (You can add your favorite lyrics for washing hands here:
  • Avoid touching your face – The virus infects people by coming into contact with nasal mucosa, eyes, or mouth.
  • Stay home from school or work when sick – Self-quarantine is one of the best ways to contain the virus and limit its spread. Recommendations currently are to self-quarantine for two weeks. Frankly, we don’t really know what length of time is best and we are unlikely to know for months as most tests for Coronavirus will be used to diagnose severe cases rather than test for cure.
  • Avoid travel to high risk areas – These are constantly being updated on the CDC website
  • Get your information from a reliable source – Stay away from information on social media and other unregulated sources. Below are what we consider to be the most reliable sources of information.
  • Wash your hands
  • Wash your hands (this is important)

What you SHOULD NOT do

  • DO NOT panic
  • DO NOT stockpile masks – Simple surgical masks are not effective in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus. The virus is small enough to work its way through these masks. Demand is creating shortages and it is important that healthcare workers have access to these supplies
  • DO NOT rush to the ED (Emergency Department) – Unless you are worried that your child is severely ill and requires emergency services please stay out of the ED. You are more likely to contract Coronavirus than get testing in this setting
  • DO NOT expect to get tested – There is a limited supply of Coronavirus test kits nationally. These are being triaged and prioritized for index cases and cases of severe illness. We DO NOT have access to these test kits at Gateway Pediatrics.
  • DO NOT panic
  • DO NOT panic (this is important)

If your child is sick, call us to make an appointment! We are open and ready to serve you. Remember we offer extended hours Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday until 6:30 pm.

If you have traveled to or been exposed to anyone who has traveled to any of the countries on the CDC list or have been in contact with a known positive COVID-19 patient, please call us before walking into the office.

It may be necessary for you to present to the Emergency Department – Reasons to go to the emergency room are the same as with other illnesses:

  1. Respiratory distress
  2. Dehydrated or not making wet diapers
  3. Lethargy
  4. If your child is less than 2 months and has a fever

We will continue to provide updated Gateway Pediatrics protocols as the situation evolves. We thank you in advance for helping us in the unprecedented time.

To make sure this is crystal clear:

  1. Do not panic
  2. Get your information from reliable sources
  3. Wash your hands

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