Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ
Over the past year, 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 want to do our part to help you stay informed and confident in caring for and protecting your family.
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.
- There’s a COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 12 and older!
For vaccine-specific questions and answers, see our COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ.
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!
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 seeing a 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.
As of May 12, 2021, there have been 35 cases of MIS-C reported in Oregon. 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? These symptoms 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 two to 14 days of exposure. How long symptoms last varies per person, but most people recover by two weeks.
Q: How long should I quarantine after exposure to COVID-19?
A: After exposure to COVID-19, a 14-day quarantine is the safest option to prevent spreading the virus to others. Quarantine means that you stay home and away from others, including your household members. If you do not develop any symptoms, you may choose to end quarantine early—after seven days (with a negative COVID-19 test on day five or later) or after 10 days (without testing). Please continue to watch for symptom as there is a small chance you could still develop coronavirus up to day 14.
Quarantine guidance is different for people who are fully vaccinated against the disease, or who have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered within the last three months.
Fully vaccinated means you have completed the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (Pfizer/Moderna) or single vaccine (Johnson & Johnson), and it has been at least two weeks since your second (or single) dose. If this is true for you, you do not need to quarantine after exposure UNLESS you have symptoms, or it has been longer than three months since receiving your final dose.
If you’ve had COVID-19 (tested positive) and recovered within the last three months, you do not need to quarantine after exposure UNLESS you develop new symptoms.
It’s still important to keep an eye out for any symptoms during the 14-day period after exposure. If any symptoms develop, isolate yourself and get tested.
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 your quarantine.
Q: Is it safe to bring my child in for a visit?
A: Yes, it’s 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:
- Many of our providers and team members are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19!
- All clinic visitors (ages 2+) and employees must wear a face mask or cloth face covering AT ALL TIMES while inside Metropolitan Pediatrics.
- We have divided our clinics to provide separate care for well patients and patients with contagious symptoms. Most clinics have resumed both types of care, with enhanced safety measures and divisions in place.
- We’ve expanded our telehealth opportunities (video visits) for a variety of visit types with providers at all locations! While COVID-19 remains a concern, most patient visits will start as a video visit. For well visits, we give families the option to come in or do a staged visit that’s part virtual, part in-office care. This helps us limit potential exposures and meet Oregon’s physical distancing requirements.
- All well visits have significant pre-screening before families arrive to make sure clinic visitors are healthy and cleared to come in.
- Patients with cold and flu-like symptom are roomed immediately, and the providers and MAs caring for them wear extra protective gear during the visit.
- 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 transitioned to working from home.
Q: How can I have my child tested for COVID-19?
A: Metropolitan Pediatrics offers rapid testing for COVID-19. We are only able to test patients, and testing requires an appointment. If your pediatrician approves testing for your child, a nose swab will be taken and processed in our office. Results are typically returned within 15 minutes up to a few hours, depending on the volume of tests in line. 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: Oregon has a framework of safety measures based on each county’s COVID-19 risk level. Counties are assigned one of four risk levels—Extreme Risk, High Risk, Moderate Risk, or Lower Risk—each with its own health and safety measures to follow. Counties are reevaluated weekly, with an opportunity to move into a lower risk level. View a map of county risk levels and learn more about risk-level restrictions.
The County Risk Level framework will end when 70% of Oregonians ages 16 and older have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. You can check Oregon’s progress here.
In Oregon, face mask requirements have relaxed for fully vaccinated people. Immunized individuals may stop wearing masks and physical distancing in public places, except where required. Everyone must wear masks on public transportation and in healthcare environments, correctional facilities, long-term care facilities, and any businesses that require them. Oregonians (ages 5+) who have yet to be fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks in both indoor and outdoor public spaces. Though not a state mandate, face masks are strongly recommended for kids between the ages of two and four, and many businesses have mask polices that apply to this age group. People who cannot wear a mask due to a disability or medical condition may request accommodation from a business.
Q: How can I make sure my mask offers the most protection?
A: Masks are most effective when they fit snugly against your face and have multiple layers. There are several things you can do to improve your mask’s fit, such as choosing a mask with a nose wire, using a mask fitter or brace, and adding additional layers. To add layers, choose a cloth mask with multiple layers or double up by wearing a disposable mask with a cloth mask over it. You can also try the knot & tuck trick to get a better fit with disposable masks.
The CDC advises against wearing two disposable masks at once or combining a KN95 mask with any other mask.
Q: Should we cancel our travel plans?
A: Long-distance recreational travel is not recommended for people who are not fully vaccinated. If you must travel outside Oregon, remember to keep your distance, avoid crowded places, wear a mask, and practice good hand hygiene. It is also recommended that you quarantine for 14 days when you return. These steps can go a long way toward keeping yourself, your family, and your community healthy.
The CDC says it’s safe for fully vaccinated people to travel. If traveling within the United States, there are no testing or quarantine requirements when leaving or returning from most states. International destinations may require testing before departing the United States, but you can return without testing or quarantining. Please continue to take all COVID-19 precautions when traveling.
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, staff, and public health. To help schools make decisions about returning to in-person instruction, Oregon has released “Ready Schools, Safe Learners” guidance for the 2020-21 school year. Check with your school district to learn more about online education options and updates about returning to the classroom.
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 younger children’s best defense right now, so please continue to tell them to:
- Wear a mask!
- 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.
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 those recommendations as well.
Q: What can our family do to keep us safe?
A: To help save lives and end this pandemic, we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they have the opportunity. In addition, please keep using all available COVID-19 precautions to keep yourself and those around you safe:
- If you’re unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, limit contact with people who live outside your household. If you go out in public, wear a mask anytime you can’t stay six feet apart.
- If you’re fully vaccinated, you may stop wearing masks and physical distancing outdoors and inside some public places, after verifying your vaccination status. However, many businesses still require masks for all visitors, so keep that in mind and be prepared to wear one.
- 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.
- Keep a two-week supply of food, basic supplies, and medications on hand.
- 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.