Important Information on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Dear Families:

Over the past several months, the COVID-19 (coronavirus) has been spreading across the world, originating in China. The physicians of Carmel Pediatrics have been closely monitoring the situation, and we felt it was necessary to reach out to you to share what we know. As of today, the risk to you or your children of contracting the virus is slim. Early studies are also showing that this particular virus is not affecting children as much as older adults, and the children who have contracted it experienced mild symptoms.

Understanding the virus and how it affects us is important. We will continue to provide you with updated information as it becomes available. We have updated our emergency procedures and have supplies on hand in the office should the virus be present in our area. Due to shortages in masks, we will only provide masks to sick children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a FAQ to help us understand the basics of the coronavirus:

What is coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

How does COVID-19 spread? The virus that causes COVID-19 probably emerged from an animal source, but now it seems to be spreading from person to person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. Some diseases are highly contagious (like measles), while other diseases are less so. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainable the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading between people.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

How can I protect myself? The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.

There are simple, everyday preventative actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. These include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If a tissue is not available, cough/sneeze into the inside of your elbow, not your hand.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

What should I do if I recently traveled to China or other affected countries and got sick? If you were in China or other affected countries and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical care. Please contact our office to inquire about what to do next. We will give you instructions on how to receive care without exposing other people to your illness. While sick, avoid contact with people, stay home, and delay any travel to reduce the possibility of spreading illness to others.

What if I have an upcoming vacation planned? If you are traveling to China or other affected countries, please check with the CDC website for an updated list of countries that have travel advisories. If you are traveling to areas that are not currently affected, it would depend upon your personal risk tolerance. This is a decision only you can make.

Is there a vaccine? There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.

Is there a treatment? There is no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 can seek medical care to help relieve symptoms.

If you have further questions, do not hesitate to call the office and ask to speak with a nurse. Bottom line, you do not need to panic.

For the Children,

Randall D. Stoesz, MD

Susan L. Davis, MD

Carolyn O. Robinson, MD

Anna G. Gilley, MD

Elizabeth J. Beach, MD