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Our Coronavirus Resources

Capital Area Pediatrics is here to educate and serve our patients and community. While the situation regarding the Coronavirus pandemic is rapidly evolving, we hope to continue to be a resource for you during this time.  

COVID-19 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

May 28, 2021

There are many questions about the Coronavirus pandemic, some that have definitive answers, some that require some judgment.  While the situation is rapidly changing, our recommendations for your family are below. Please check back frequently for updates.

Q:  Do you have tests for Coronavirus?

A:Testing for COVID-19 is important in order to identify those who are ill, and to isolate and trace all contacts.  We are offering swab clinics at all sites, varying by day of the week.  All patients who need a test must have a visit with a provider (in person or telemedicine), whether symptomatic or asymptomatic.

NEW!   We are now offering in-house rapid COVID antigen tests for sick patients on day 1-5 of symptoms.  All patients must have an in person office visit or telemedicine visit to assess your child and give appropriate guidance for their recovery and isolation.  

Rapid antigen test results may or may not clear your child to return to activities based on the organization or facility policy.  If you need clearance to return to a facility or activity, please clarify with your organization what is valid for return. When in doubt, the send out PCR test is the gold standard for clearance (both symptomatic and asymptomatic). Your provider will also help you decide if the rapid antigen and/ or send out PCR are recommended in your child's situation.

All asymptomatic patients may ONLY have a send out PCR test. The turnaround time for this PCR test has been < 5 days.  Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Q:  What do you know about the current COVID-19 vaccines available?

A:  Most of our providers and many of our staff have received their COVID-19 vaccines from the local hospitals and health departments.  We believe in the science behind the current vaccines, their safety, and the hope that we can put the pandemic behind us.  We are hopeful that children will be approved for the COVID vaccine soon.  For more information on FAQs about the COVID vaccine and updates on COVID vaccine clinics at CAP, follow along for updates here

NEW! ALL people ages 12 and up are now eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID vaccine.  We encourage you and your family members that are eligible to get their COVID vaccine at any location in the community that is available to you!  Please see our plans for vaccination at CAP here

Links for information regarding COVID vaccine in our area below:

State of Virginia

Fairfax County

District of Columbia

Q: Now that members of our family are fully vaccinated, what does that mean we can do?

A: NEW!The CDC released updated guidelines if you have been fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated means at least 2 weeks have passed since you completed all doses of your COVID vaccine.  Current guidance allows fully vaccinated people to begin to resume indoor and outdoor activities without masks and without social distancing.

Of note, this does not apply to so many of our children, even the 12-15 year olds that were recently approved.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that unvaccinated people ages 2 years and up should still practice physical distancing and wear a mask indoors (including most sports), at schools/ camps/ daycares, and outdoors when larger gatherings.  Vaccinated family members could still wear a mask to support and be a good role model for the unvaccinated family members that should still be wearing a mask.  

Even when fully vaccinated, masks are still required for public transportation, healthcare settings, and some businesses or workplaces.  

Great graphic from the CDC reminding you how to choose a safer activity for unvaccinated people here.  

Q: Parents and grandparents are fully vaccinated, but our children are not.  What are your thoughts on travel?

A:  At this time, the CDC still recommends that UNVACCINATED people still delay travel, which includes most children.  We ask that you consider the risks and benefits of your travel, such as: What are the rates of COVID where you are going?  What are your intentions for travel?  Are your children at risk of COVID complications?  Can you and your children still take precautions (especially wearing masks and avoiding crowds)?  Will they be going back to in person activities when they return? The CDC does have recommendations for people who are unvaccinated that cannot delay travel here.  Of note, if you are not vaccinated, it is recommended to get tested 1-3 days before travel, 3-5 days after travel, and still quarantine for 7 days after return.

Q: What should my student do if they tested positive for COVID and want to play sports?

A: NEW!Whether asymptomatic or symptomatic, COVID positive patients should complete a full 10 day isolation.  All school aged children, whether they play a competitive sport or not, should have an in person sports physical before return to physical education class, recreational or competitive sports.  A full preparticipation screening and examination should be completed before a gradual return to play. Based on their history and examination, further examination and specialist care may be recommended before returning to physical activity. See AAP Return to Sports.

Q:  What do you think about in person school vs. virtual learning, especially for the 2021-22 school year?

A: NEW! We, along with our fellow pediatricians of the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, support the opening of school for full time, face-to-face instruction for all children.  The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is overwhelming evidence of the negative impacts of school closures on children and their wellbeing, whether academic or emotional.  

We believe that virtual instruction should be utilized only when necessary and in consultation with a child's physician and medical team.  Most children with high-risk conditions can attend in-person school safely with appropriate precautions and close medical management and follow up (including, but not limited to regular well visits, routine immunizations, and specialist visits when appropriate).

Q: Spring is here.  How can you tell the difference between allergies and COVID?

A:  Symptoms of allergies often include congestion, a runny and/or itchy nose, itchy and/or watery eyes and sneezing. Unlike typical seasonal allergies, COVID-19 can cause fever, body aches and chills.  If your child has suffered from seasonal allergies in past years, we recommend keeping them on their usual allergy medications (such as oral antihistamines, intranasal steroids, or allergy eyedrops) as well as rinsing or showering after outdoor play to limit symptoms and confusion with illness.  CDC Allergies vs. COVID-19

Q: Do you suggest wearing 1 mask or more?

A: For everyone age 2 years and up, we recommend wearing a good-fitting double layer mask.  Cloth is acceptable if it is at least 2 layers, with a wire nose piece to pinch at the nasal bridge and no gaping at the cheeks or chin.  Double masking is an option if it helps the fit, but not required.  It is NOT recommended to wear 2 disposable masks or layer other masks with KN95.  See CDC updated recommendations here.

Q: What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

A: There are a wide range of symptoms, presenting 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle aches, sore throat, headache, congestion/ runny nose, nausea/ vomiting, diarrhea or new loss of taste or smell.

Per the Virginia Department of Health, even 1 single symptom in a child is enough to consider coronavirus as a possible diagnosis. Please see their updated recommendations for parents, schools, and daycares.

Q:  Can I get antibody testing for Coronavirus?

A:  While there is abundant information on the media about antibody testing now being available, we are not recommending antibody testing at this time and do not offer it. While there have been antibody tests that have been "approved," the standards for antibody testing are not yet reliable.  In addition, it is not yet clear what antibody testing results really mean for a patient.  We will stay up to date and informed on the latest evidence behind all testing and make changes as guided by the health department and our local infectious disease experts. 

Q:  What does quarantine and self-isolation mean for my family?

A:  Home quarantine and self-isolation are strategies to use in order to limit the spread of the virus.  They both mean staying home and limiting contact with people outside your household, which we know can be challenging for families.

The CDC and the Virginia Department of Health recently updated their quarantine guidelines for those exposed to COVID-19 and are asymptomatic.  A 14 day quarantine is still recommended, as the residual risk of transmission averages at ~0.1%.  In discussion with your provider, a 10 day quarantine can be considered with an additional 4 days of risk mitigation strategies (social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, avoiding crowds and symptom monitoring).  The residual risk of transmission averages at 1% for a 10 day quarantine.

Q: My child needs an appointment (for well, sick or flu shot).  Is it safe to come in?

A:  At this time, we welcome all well visits and vaccine appointments to keep their appointments.  We encourage families with sick symptoms to call us for a telemedicine visit.  We have made many changes in order to keep patients and staff safe.

  1. We are pleased to continue offering touchless mobile check-in and registration.  Save time and check in before your appointment from your computer, tablet or smartphone, whenever it’s most convenient for you, using a link sent to you in a text message or email!  Also, you can now alert us from your smartphone when you arrive so that you can wait in the comfort and safety of your vehicle.  CAP Touchless Check-In Info
  2. Out of an abundance of caution and to increase infection control, we are continuing to separate our well and sick visits.  Our offices are working together to provide different options to be seen when you need us, for sick or well care.  Please do not walk in without an appointment as our efforts in separating well and sick patients needs to be preserved.  For all well visits, you will receive a text with a pre-visit COVID screen.  We ask that you complete this at least 24 hours in advance of your visit.  If we have any questions about your answers, we will contact you prior to your visit.  If your child or family is considered at risk of being contagious, we may ask to reschedule your well visit for the safety of others in the office.  If your condition changes from the time you complete the screen and your actual visit, please notify our office.
  3. For all visits (sick or well), patients > 2 years of age and their accompanying family member should wear a mask.  A scarf, bandana, or homemade cloth mask would be appropriate.  We also ask that you bring only 1 healthy adult with the patient when able, no siblings or other adults.  While we know many of our parents are vaccinated and would like to be in the exam room, CDC guidance for infection control in health care settings is different than the general public.  Masks should be well fitted (especially at the nose and the cheeks) and at least 2 layers. Updated CDC mask guidance here.
  4. In an effort to decrease exposure for patients and staff, we are continuing to provide telemedicine visits!  Many of our “sick” visits will be booked for telemedicine to limit sick exposures in the office. Telemedicine visits are still scheduled with your provider during their office hours. Please note, not all visits are amenable to telemedicine and we will generally NOT be prescribing antibiotics via telemedicine. Many insurance companies are now covering provider telephone advice calls and telemedicine visits – feel free to check with your insurance company regarding coverage.  As part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our providers are able to offer these services to continue providing excellent, personal care to our patients in the safest manner possible.  If during these calls or visits, the provider determines that you need an in-person visit, scheduling that will be arranged.  As we move forward, please feel free to let us know how we can continue to better serve you and your family.  Please see our Telemedicine FAQs.
  5. Herndon Express Care is temporarily suspended.  As always, we will have a nurse or doctor on call after hours to answer your urgent questions.

CAP Resources and Guidelines: 

Websites: