Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ
Over the past few weeks, our advice nurses and pediatricians have fielded hundreds of questions about COVID-19, a new coronavirus with symptoms similar to the common cold or flu. Because the virus is new and spreading globally, it has been covered nonstop by the media, making all of us extra uneasy about the current situation.
We share your concerns, and we want to do our part to help you stay informed and confident in caring for and protecting your family.
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Below are the most-asked questions and our answers to them. We hope you find this information helpful! If there’s anything else we can answer on this FAQ, please send your suggestions to [email protected]. We will update this information regularly.
When we start to worry, let’s all take a step back and remember these comforting realities:
- Children seem to handle the illness better than adults.
- Most people who have gotten sick have recovered.
Now please go wash your hands with soap and water like your health depends on it—for at least 20 seconds—because it does, now more than ever.
Q: My family is having a hard time right now. How can we talk with our pediatrician or behavioral health provider about our COVID-19 worries and concerns?
A: All our providers, including our behavioral health team, are up and running with video visits. If you need to talk about your family’s thoughts, feelings, or daily struggles related to COVID-19, or need advice on how to manage your child’s boredom or behavior during this difficult time, our team is here for you! Please call and ask for a video visit with your child’s primary care provider (PCP) to discuss your challenges at home and your concerns for the greater community. If you need additional resources or help, your PCP will also be able to involve our amazing behavioral health team. We are happy to talk with you about anything! Let’s connect virtually!
Q: Does my child have coronavirus (COVID-19)?
A: Just like most respiratory viruses, COVID-19 starts with a fever, cold symptoms, and/or cough. If your child’s symptoms are mild, it’s best to treat them like you would any other illness—stay home, limit contact with household members, practice good hygiene, rest, and drink plenty of fluids. If your child is having fever and/or cold symptoms, and you are interested in testing for COVID-19, we can provide that. Please call your provider’s office for an appointment.
We’re starting to see a new, rare condition in children, called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), that causes inflammation and poor organ function following COVID-19 infection. Children with MIS-C look sick. Symptoms are generally more severe and include ongoing fever, abdominal pain, rash or changes in skin color, trouble breathing, or your child seems confused or overly sleepy.
Oregon announced its first case of MIS-C on May 13, 2020. We’re still trying to understand how this virus affects the human body, especially children, and will be keeping a watchful eye on any new developments. Thankfully, complications of COVID-19 remain very rare in kids, with most experiencing mild or no symptoms.
So, what if my child has some of the symptoms: red eyes, rash, diarrhea, cough? Many symptoms such as these are common with many different viruses; however, if your child’s symptoms have you concerned, please call us. All Metropolitan Pediatrics locations are currently open, and our team is available to help support you through this time. We are here to talk and can also set up a video visit to evaluate your child and determine next steps.
Q: My child may have been exposed. What should I do?
A: Please call us if you believe your child may have been exposed AND is now showing symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cold symptoms, and/or cough. It is important to remain at home so as not to infect other individuals. Our team will schedule a video visit with you to assess your child’s symptoms and discuss what to do next.
Q: How long do symptoms last?
A: The main symptoms of COVID-19—fever, cold symptoms, and/or cough—typically appear within 2-14 days of exposure. How long symptoms last varies per person, but most people recover by two weeks.
Q: How long should you stay home (home isolate) after having COVID-19?
A: If unable to test whether you still have COVID-19, you must stay home until you meet all three conditions:
- No fever for at least 72 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medicine)
- Other symptoms have gone away (no more coughing or shortness of breath)
- At least seven days have passed since symptoms started
Remember, Metropolitan Pediatrics is here to help guide your recovery. Your pediatrician, along with our state and local health departments, will help you determine when it’s safe to end home isolation.
Q: Is it safe to bring my child in for a visit?
A: Yes, it is safe to come in for a visit! Metropolitan Pediatrics is taking extra precautions to avoid exposing families to all the viruses going around this time of year:
- As of 3/25/20, we have divided the care we provide into different locations for in-person services. Most clinics are dedicated to well care and non-contagious concerns, while our Bridgeport and Happy Valley-Sunnyside locations are looking after patients with cold and flu-like symptoms.
- We’ve expanded our telehealth opportunities (video visits) for a variety of visit types with providers at all locations! For the time being, all patient visits (including well care visits) will start as a video visit. This helps us limit potential exposures and meet Oregon’s physical distancing requirements.
- While COVID-19 remains a concern, all well visits will have significant pre-screening before families arrive to make sure clinic visitors are healthy and cleared to come in.
- For sick visits at our two response care clinics, we’re masking everyone with respiratory symptoms and rooming them immediately. Providers and MAs are also wearing extra protective gear when they examine patients who don’t feel well.
- To limit germ sharing, toys and books have been removed from our waiting areas and exam rooms.
- Our team members are under strict orders to stay home if they become sick, and employees who do not need to be onsite have already transitioned to working from home.
Q: How can I have my child tested for COVID-19?
A: Metropolitan Pediatrics is now able to test patients for COVID-19, but testing supplies are still limited. Our providers will use their clinical judgement to decide who gets tested. At this time, we cannot offer testing by request. If your pediatrician approves testing for your child, a nose swab will be taken and sent out to a local lab for analysis. Results are typically returned within a week. Any positive results will be reported to the Oregon Health Authority.
As of today, we are unsure how all health plans will cover the cost of COVID-19 testing, but many are fully covering the cost of the test.
Q: Is it safe to take my child to public places?
A: As of May 15, Oregon has slightly relaxed stay-home orders for everyone, but still asks residents to stay in as much as possible to save lives. Retail stores (except those located in malls) are now open, with physical distancing measures in place. Local cultural, civic, and faith gatherings up to 25 people and social gatherings no more than 10 are both allowed, with appropriate physical distancing. Some daycares and day camps are now open for all families, with some restrictions. Hospitals and clinics, including dental offices, have resumed non-emergency procedures that require personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, and gowns).
If your county has not entered Phase I of reopening, personal care businesses (salons, barbers, gyms, etc.) remain closed as do restaurants and bars. Takeout and delivery orders are still going strong.
Oregon is asking everyone to be considerate and wear face masks for any public outings. Face masks are REQUIRED for all individuals age two and older (unless not permitted due to a disability or medical condition) on public transportation.
Families should find creative ways to spend time together at home or outdoors, away from others. Oregon has reopened some state parks for day-use, but many remain closed or have use limitations, so check before visiting. Please recreate responsibly by staying local (within 50 miles of home) and continuing your physical distancing efforts.
Q: Should we cancel our travel plans?
A: Under our state’s current Stay Home, Save Lives order, Oregonians cannot travel for non-essential reasons. Travel is only allowed to and from work; to get food or other essential consumer needs; to receive education, healthcare, or emergency services; or to look after family members or animals in your care. Fun outings, other than walks and hikes with appropriate physical distancing, and vacations must be put on hold until this order is lifted.
Q: What are Oregon’s plans for reopening?
A: Governor Kate Brown has announced a three-phase plan for rebuilding a safe and strong Oregon. Counties must meet state requirements to move into Phase I, which allows limited reopening of restaurants and bars for dining in, personal care businesses (salons, barbers, gyms, etc.), and retail stores. Local gatherings up to 25 people are also approved. So far, 34 counties have entered this first phase of reopening. View reopening status by county.
Counties will remain in Phase I for at least 21 days to monitor how things are going and whether they can graduate to Phase II, which permits more in-office work, limited visitation to nursing homes, and larger gatherings. The final phase of Oregon’s plan is many months away as it requires a reliable treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. When we achieve that goal, we can enjoy events with large crowds again. For now, Oregonians should expect summer concerts, conventions, and live sporting events to be postponed. They should also know that physical distancing, face masks, and handwashing hygiene practices will remain part of our lives for the foreseeable future.
Q: Is it safe to send my child to school?
A: Viruses can spread anywhere people get together. So far, kids seem to experience milder illness than adults, which is a relief. Officials will continue to monitor the situation and do what’s in the best interest of students and staff, which currently means closing all K-12 schools for in-person learning starting Monday, March 16 through the end of the school year. Oregon universities have also been asked to move classes online for the same timeframe.
It’s important that people with symptoms (fever, cold symptoms, and/or cough) stay home. It’s one of the most effective ways to minimize exposure.
Good hygiene habits are everyone’s best defense right now, so please continue to tell kids to:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow (NOT their hands!).
Q: Can I send my child to school or daycare with a cough or runny nose, but no fever?
A: Kids with mild respiratory symptoms, such as a minor cough and/or runny nose, can go to school or daycare if they feel well enough and do not have a fever. Caregivers should encourage frequent handwashing and teach kids how to cover their coughs and sneezes to avoid getting others sick.
Most schools and childcare facilities also have guidelines about when to keep kids home, which might be stricter now due to COVID-19 concerns, so be sure to follow their recommendations as well.
Q: What can our family do to keep us safe?
A: Because there is no vaccine, the best thing people can do is avoid exposure.
- Wash hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water (length of the ABC song), or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when sick.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or elbow (NOT your hands!).
- Keep a two-week supply of food, basic supplies, and medications on hand.
- As this virus continues to spread, consider ways to safely involve the elderly and those with underlying health issues in social events and activities. Stay in touch with phone and video calls, social media, email, a handwritten note, or a special “thinking of you” delivery.
Stay updated on what’s happening with COVID-19: