We would like to give an update about how Island Pediatrics of Honolulu is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our main concern is the health and well-being of our patients and their families and limiting the spread of this extremely contagious infection.
We understand there is a lot of fear and concern right now. The sensationalism, non-stop coverage from the media, and misinformation is making it difficult to respond adequately.
On March 12, 2020, the CDC held a webinar about COVID-19 and pregnant women and children. Fortunately, the vast majority of children under 15 have asymptomatic or mild illnesses. Children under 5 years of age are more likely to have severe illness than older children. Children are exposed to many other coronaviruses every winter and this is thought to be one of the reasons why the infection is less severe in keiki. However, they can expose others who may be at greater risk for more severe outcomes. Smokers, pregnant women, people over 60 and those with chronic medical conditions are the most vulnerable.
The symptoms of COVID-19 are common in many illnesses, and include fever, cough, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, pink eye, vomiting and diarrhea. Some children had vomiting and diarrhea before they developed cold symptoms. Children can shed COVID-19 from their nose and mouth up to 22 days and in their stool for up to 30 days. It is important to wash your hands before and after caring for your children and after changing their diapers or going to the bathroom. If you or a caregiver is sick, they should wear masks while caring for children, family members with chronic illness, or those over 60 years of age. If your child is sick, have them wear a mask when they are around others (especially grandparents) until they are asymptomatic and keep them home from school. For children that won’t wear a mask, gently cover their mouth and nose with a tissue.
To prevent the spread, please stay home and avoid crowds. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, cough or sneeze into your elbow, stay 6 feet away from others, etc. Go to cdc.gov, who.int, aap.org and healthychildren.org for up-to-date and accurate information. It is our kuleana (responsibility) to practice respiratory etiquette, social distancing, and hand hygiene to help slow down the spread of this illness in our community.
In order to reduce the risk to our patients and their families, we are strongly encouraging the following:
We are scheduling essential well checks (newborns, infants and those children needing immunizations) in the morning and sick visits in the afternoon.
Pregnant women, families with infants, or children with immunodeficiency please enter and exit through our back door.
We ask that you go straight into an exam room and remain there until the end of the visit. I know that our waiting room is a lot of fun, but we are taking extra precautions to avoid spread, so please visit Bubba, Nemo, Kimo and Dory at another time.
We are asking families to bring only the scheduled patient(s) to the office and no siblings, hanai family, or cousins.
We are asking people over 60 to avoid the office unless there is absolutely no alternative.
If your child has fever and cough and is not ill-appearing, it is best to limit exposure to others. We are now able to test for COVID-19 in the office by appointment only. Do not go to the Emergency Room or the Kapiolani After Hours Clinic for testing without calling the office so we can let their teams prepare for your arrival. We can also refer you to centers that are testing as they become available. If you think your child needs medical attention, please call us and we will arrange appropriate care.
Remember that washing hands and being aware of our surroundings is very important to staying healthy.
The most important aspect is to remain calm and rational. We will continue to be accessible and provide the level of care you have come to expect. I will add resources to our Facebook page and website soon with more information.
Mahalo for trusting us with the care of your families.