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Top COVID questions answered: Testing, virtual visits, hospital safety and more
January 13, 2022
Boy with mask on chin having his throat checked by a CHoR pediatrician

    Dr. Suzanne Lavoie, infectious diseases specialist, answers the top questions we’re getting about COVID-19 in 2022.

    We’re seeing an increase in the number of children testing positive for and needing to be hospitalized with COVID-19. We’re also continuing to care for kids with diseases and injuries that don’t stop for a pandemic.

    We understand families have questions, and we’re here to help! Don’t panic – check out these FAQs, follow these prevention steps and don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s health care provider if you have questions or concerns.

    I’ve heard COVID doesn’t impact kids. Is that true?

    No! We are seeing a dramatic increase in kids testing positive for and needing to be hospitalized with COVID.

    We know everyone is ready for life to return to “normal,” but it’s critical that we all continue to practice these prevention measures. Remember the 5 Ws:

    *Any mask will provide some protection but because Omicron is much more contagious than prior variants, we believe that cloth masks may be less effective than level 3 (surgical masks) or N95 (KN95/KF94) masks. If you need to be indoors and have access to one of these higher-level masks, please use it in preference to cloth masks. 

    My child has been around someone who tested positive for COVD-19. What should I do?

    If your child has symptoms:

    • Monitor and manage the symptoms at home with fluids, rest and pain medication if needed
    • ONLY GO TO THE ER for COVID if symptoms require emergency care, such as difficulty breathing, worrisome and worsening cough, chest pain, confusion, extreme sleepiness or inability to wake, or persistent high fever that doesn’t respond to medication

    If they’re asymptomatic (showing no symptoms of COVID), monitor your child at home and manage symptoms if they arise.

    You’ll also need to make sure they’re following the school guidelines, which vary by county/city.

    Check the CDC’s website for the most current guidelines on isolation and quarantine.

    When and how can I get my child tested for COVID?

    You can test on day six after the exposure or once symptoms appear. It’s not necessary to test if you can quarantine the full recommended time period, but some schools, daycares and activities do require a negative test to return.

    If your child is an existing CHoR patient, it’s best to message their provider in MyChart to request drive-thru testing, or request a virtual visit to speak with their provider.

    You can also use VDH’s website to find a community testing site near you.

    My child needs to see their specialist. Is it safe to visit CHoR’s clinics?

    Yes! We have measures, including limited visitation and mask requirements, in place to keep patients, families and team members safe during in-person visits. We’re also seeing patients virtually through telehealth if you’d prefer this option. Don’t delay care – call (804) 828-2467 to schedule an appointment.

    My child is scheduled to have surgery. Is it still safe?

    Again, yes! We have practices in place (testing before surgery, all team members have complied with the vaccination policy, masking, etc.) to help keep everyone safe.

    Though surgeries are safe, we are postponing some procedures at this time.

    • Elective/non-urgent surgeries that may require blood transfusion are postponed due to a severe national blood shortage. This is an effort to ensure patients facing urgent or life-threatening situations can continue receiving the blood products they need.
    • Elective/non-urgent surgeries that require an overnight stay are postponed due to constraints on hospital capacity due to the pandemic.  

    We will contact impacted patients directly to reschedule.

    Surgical cases will not be postponed if they are urgent/emergent or if postponing would jeopardize patient care.

    Is the ER open? Is it safe?

    Yes, just as we do in our outpatient and hospital settings, we have practices in place in the ER to help keep everyone healthy and safe.

    Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for kids?

    Yes! Vaccination is the best defense against COVID-19, including the Omicron variant. Make sure all your family members are vaccinated and boosted when they’re eligible.

    Call to schedule your child’s vaccination or ask for the vaccine during their next appointment with a CHoR provider at our Children’s Pavilion or Fredericksburg Multispecialty Center. Vaccines are also available at pharmacies and clinics throughout the community.

    Do you offer virtual visits if I’d prefer not to leave my house for non-urgent care?

    Yes, nearly all CHoR services are available virtually! Give us a call if you’d like to schedule or reschedule an in-person appointment to a virtual one.

    I’m concerned life during COVID is impacting my child’s mental health. What should I do?

    The pandemic has changed our lives in some dramatic ways. How to best help your child largely depends on their age/stage of development, but in all cases it can be beneficial to keep the lines of communication open, allow them to have control in appropriate areas of their lives and seek professional help if you think it would help.

    These articles offer some additional insight:

    Find all the latest COVID info to keep your family safe and healthy.

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