Coronavirus Updates

Monday, May 18th

A New Note on Toddlers & Masks

We know some toddlers are having a hard time wearing masks right now, and we’ve gotten lots of questions from parents about how to help them do it.

Dr. Stefano has a whole bunch of great suggestions in her new Doctor’s Note on Helping Toddlers Wear Masks.

Thursday, May 14th

A New Note on Returning to Child Care, and an Updated Note on MIS-C

With Western PA set to enter the “Yellow Zone” tomorrow, we’re hearing lots of questions from parents who want to know if it’s safe to let their kids return to child care. That, of course, is not an easy question to answer. But  a new Note From Dr. Springer provides the best guidance we have at the moment.

Speaking of notes from Dr. Springer… We’ve also updated her Note on Kawasaki Disease, MIS-C, and “COVID-Toes” with the most up-to-the-minute information.

Wednesday, May 13th

More Great Information from a Pediatric Infectious Disease Expert

We hosted another Facebook Live session today with our friend and colleague, infectious disease expert Dr. Andy Nowalk.

Dr. Wolynn and Dr. Nowalk provided another round of, accurate, up-to-the-minute information on Coronavirus, answering lots of viewer questions, and giving straightforward, evidence-based information about health and safety issues for both children and adults.

If you didn’t see it, we recommend you check it out.

Tuesday, May 5th

Fact-Checking Some Scary Headlines

If you’ve seen scary click-bait headlines about children hospitalized with mysterious syndrome possibly linked to COVID-19, or about a condition called “COVID Toes”…

…We have a new Note From Dr. Springer to put your mind at ease and tell you everything you need to know.

Wednesday, April 22nd

As Things Slow Down, Here’s a Summary

We’re thrilled that the pace of these updates has slowed the past two weeks. It feels like we’re settling in a bit to this (temporary) new normal.

We thought we would take this chance to remind you of some of the current highlights:

We’re still open all our regular hours, and urging you to keep your (always important) Well Visits.

• We’re now offering Virtual Visits! (See a Kids Plus Provider on your own screen in your own home!)

Walk-In Hours are now ALL DAY, EVERY DAY at all three offices! (Forever!)

• All check-ins and waits are now in your car. When you arrive at the office, just give us a call!

• We’re all wearing masks, and asking that everyone who enters our office wear one too.

• We have separate exam rooms for Well Visits and Sick Visits.

• If your child has fever and cough, we ask that you call the office and speak to our triage staff in advance of a visit.

• In addition to all of usual strict cleaning and safety protocols, we’ve instituted even more to keep you safe.

• If your child uses an inhaler and spacer, please bring them with you to the office for your visits.

Thursday, April 16th

You Get a Mask! You Get a Mask! Everyone Gets a Mask!

Now that Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Health have issued an order that requires everyone in the commonwealth to wear masks when staffing or visiting an essential business, we will require that all patients (over age 2) and adults who accompany them wear cloth masks when when they enter and exit our offices.

All of our staff will, of course, continue to wear masks as well — at all times during your visit, including in the exam rooms with you.

Monday, April 13th

Our Expectant Parent Orientation & Prenatal Breastfeeding Classes are Now Being Held Online!

Starting this week, all of our Expectant Parent Orientation and Prenatal Breastfeeding Classes will be held online through Zoom.

Just sign up as you normally would on our web site through Eventbrite, and you’ll receive a confirmation email. The day before your class, you’ll receive an email with the Zoom meeting link.

We can’t wait to meet you online!

Monday, April 6th

New Mask-Wearing Guidelines

Now that both the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health updated their guidelines to encourage EVERYONE to wear a mask when out of your home and around other people, as a way to reduce the spread of virus from folks who are infected but have no symptoms.

This means that, in addition to wearing masks when interacting with patients, families, and each other, all Kids + Team Members will be wearing masks at all other times in the office as well. We ask that all patients (when age-appropriate) and family members do the same.

Friday, April 3rd

Great Information from a Pediatric Infectious Disease Expert

We hosted a Facebook Live session today with our friend and colleague, infectious disease expert Dr. Andy Nowalk.

Dr. Wolynn and Dr. Nowalk provided lots of great, accurate, up-to-the-minute information on Coronavirus, answering lots of viewer questions, busting a bunch of myths that are floating around social media, and giving straightforward, evidence-based information about health and safety issues for both children and adults.

If you didn’t see it, we highly recommend you check it out.

Wednesday, April 1st

Virtual Visits Now Available

This is NOT an April Fool’s Joke! It’s the first day we’re able to launch, and we didn’t want to wait.

We’re thrilled to introduce Kids + Virtual Visits, a way to see a Kids Plus Provider from the comfort and convenience of your own home — or anywhere! — on your computer, tablet, or smart phone.

Every weekday from 9am-5pm, we now have appointments for virtual sick visits.

To get an appointment, you just have to register on our Virtual Visit site (so we can contact you through our telehealth platform), and be signed up for Kids + AutoPay (so we can seamlessly bill your insurance for the visit).

Once you’re registered, all you have to do is call the office and make your appointment, the same way you would for an in-office visit. When your appointment time comes, just sign in to our Virtual Visit platform, and we’ll connect directly to you.

To lean more about Kids + Virtual Visits, including a tutorial on how to register (it takes fewer than five minutes!) for the platform and an early list of FAQs, see our Virtual Visits page.

Tuesday, March 31st

Please Bring Your Child’s Inhaler & Spacer to the Office

Due to new information that aerosolized medications may be a vector for spreading coronavirus, we’ll now be using inhalers for all breathing treatments in the office. If you’re bringing your child to the office for breathing concerns, and your child already uses an inhaler and spacer, please bring it with you to the office.

Monday, March 30th

Walk-In Hours Now All Day Every Day Everywhere

At a time when other medical offices are cutting hours and limiting services, we’re still here, still open all of our regular hours at all three offices, still doing everything we always do.

And now we’re expanding services too.

Starting today…

WALK-IN HOURS will be ALL DAY at ALL THREE OFFICES.

Not just for now, but forever.

As always, Walk-in Hours are for routine, straightforward health problems like sore throat, ear ache, cough, fever, rash, runny nose.

For symptoms of any length. For kids of any age. Just walk in. (Or, right now, during the pandemic: just show up and call us from the parking lot to check-in !)

Any office. Any time we’re open.

All-Day Walk-Ins are just one more way we’re always working and adapting to provide the best possible care and service for you and your family.

Wednesday, March 25th

More Patient Protections in Place

We’re now asking ALL patients to check in from your cars, and to not sit in the waiting room, to maintain the best possible physical distance between everyone. Families arriving by public transportation will, of course, be allowed to wait in our waiting rooms, with appropriate social distancing in place.

We also ask that, whenever possible, families have only ONE adult accompany a child to the office, so that we can limit the number of people in the office and exam rooms at any one time — which, of course, will also help us maintain appropriate social distancing. Exceptions are for Newborn Well Visits, including Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh visits, through the 1 month Well Visit — when it always helps to have both parents present.

Tuesday, March 24th

Masks in Our Offices

Following updated CDC guidelines that recommend health care personnel wear masks when seeing all sick patients, our Providers and Medical Assistants will now be wearing masks in the office for all sick visits, regardless of the symptoms for which they’re being seen.

This is just one more step we’re taking, following the guidance of national experts, to do our best to keep everyone in our office — patients, families, and our Kids Plus Team Members safe and healthy.

Monday, March 23rd

Another Safety Measure: Temperature Checks

To keep our patients, families, and Kids Plus Team Members safe and healthy, we’re monitoring temperatures for ALL of our team members as they arrive at the office, and then a second time throughout their shift.

Anyone with a temperature over 100 degrees will be sent home for follow-up and evaluation. Just one more extra precautionary measure we’re taking to ensure that our offices are as safe and healthy as possible.

Coming Soon: Online Telehealth Virtual Visits

We’re actively ramping up the ability to provide online telehealth virtual visits during our normal business hours! We want to offer this option as soon as possible, but we also want to make sure that when we do it, we do it right, and that everything works as well and as seamlessly as possible. We expect it to go live sometime in the next few weeks, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted as we begin to roll it out.

Friday, March 20th

Well Visits Continue, as AAP Recommends

The American Academy of Pediatrics has reaffirmed its recommendation that all routine Well Child Care continue as usual, given its important role in keeping kids healthy. We certainly appreciate, and agree with that!

We urge you to keep your scheduled Well Visit appointments, and to make one if you haven’t gotten around to it yet or might be overdue. We have open slots every day, and both our Car-Wait option and enhanced cleaning protocols (see below) have been huge hits with the families we’ve seen in the office this past week. We’ll keep you safe during your visit, and we’ll keep your child healthy as we monitor growth and development, answer your questions, address your concerns, and provide critical vaccinations.

We Remain Open as Most Pennsylvania Businesses Shut Down

As a life-sustaining businessKids Plus remains open for all of our regular hours, 7 days and 4 nights a week, even as Governor Wolf has ordered the closure of most businesses in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We’re still here, working hard to keep you informed, to answer your questions over the phone and online, and especially to see you here in our offices for both sick and well visits.

Thursday, March 19th

Breastfeeding Center Virtual Visits Available

Our Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh has long offered virtual visits with our incredible team of Lactation Consultants.

If you or someone you know is breastfeeding and needs our support, we have an option to connect right from the comfort and safety of home. Learn more about Virtual Visits on the BFC web site.

Our PSA on Play Dates & Social Distancing

Representatives of several elected officials reached out to us on Tuesday afternoon and asked us to produce a video on the importance of NOT have play dates during a time of critical social distancing. So we wrote, shot, edited, and directed this Public Service Announcement, which will soon be shared all around the region. We urge you to share it as well…

Tuesday, March 17th

Wait-in-Car Process Now Available to Everyone

Beginning Wednesday, March 18th, we will offer the Wait-in-the-Car plan as an option for everyone.

It will still be mandatory for patients with fever and cough, but anyone who prefers to wait in their car instead of the waiting room will be able to do so.

Dedicated Exam Rooms for Non-Infectious Visits

Effective immediately, we have dedicated exam rooms that will be used ONLY for non-infectious visits.

We will, of course, continue to clean and sanitize all rooms to the fullest possible extent after every patient visit, but we will have separate exam rooms designated for patients who are NOT potentially infectious.

Monday, March 16th

Waiting Room Process Update

Through the first day of our new Car-Wait Process for patients exhibiting fever and cough, the process has worked extremely well. Thanks to everyone who came to the office today for your understanding and cooperation, as we make every effort to safeguard the health of everyone in our Kids + Community.

Sunday, March 15th

A Plan to Make Our Waiting Rooms Even Safer

Beginning Monday, March 16th, we will implement a small but significant change in our check-in process that will make our waiting rooms and offices as safe and hygienic as possible.

Now that Coronavirus cases have been announced here in Western Pennsylvania, and until the pandemic has subsided and the threat to public health has returned to far-less-heightened levels, we will be asking all patients who exhibit symptoms consistent with the virus — fever and cough — to return to their cars after checking in at our front desk.

We will call or text when an exam room is ready, and we will then escort the patient and family member(s) directly to an exam room, where they will be seen by a provider.

This process will ensure that anyone who MAY pose a risk of infection remains at a safe distance from other patients and family members in our waiting rooms, and it will also ensure that our waiting rooms remain as safe and sanitary as possible for patients and family members who come to our office for well visits and other, less potentially serious illnesses.

If your child DOES have fever and cough, we ask that you call the office and speak to our triage staff in advance, so we can talk to you directly and make the best possible assessment before your visit.

We also ask that, no matter your reason for visiting us at Kids Plus over the next few weeks, you bring as few family members as possible, and consider asking family members (like grandparents) who may be at higher risk, or anyone of any age who may be ill, to remain at home.

We will continue to evaluate this process, as well as all others in our practice, to ensure we’re doing everything possible to take care of you and your family.

Classes & Support Groups are Suspended Indefinitely

We’re deeply sorry to announce that, effective immediately, and continuing indefinitely, we will be suspending all of our public classes and support groups in The Well, including New Mom’s Coffee, Not-So-New Mom’s Coffee, Working Mom’s Coffee, Toddler Time, Moms of Two, and Mom & Baby Yoga.

Now that Coronavirus cases have been announced here in Western Pennsylvania, in an effort to follow evidence-based best practices that recommend social distancing as a way to flatten the curve of additional cases and infections, we feel this is the best possible strategy to help lower the risks and to protect public health in our communities.

We’ll continue to monitor the situation as it develops. And we will, as with everything else we’re doing at Kids Plus right now, continually re-evaluate our decisions as conditions change.

Thank you for your patience and understanding, and for being a part of our incredible Kids Plus Community. We’re looking forward to having you back in The Well as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Saturday, March 14th

A Note From Dr. Wolynn

To Our Kids Plus Community:

I wanted to touch base with you on the subject of Coronavirus.

First — We always serve our patients and families using evidence-based best practices. Right now, we know that much of what’s out there is alarming. Both media and social media are scaring and sensationalizing, doing their best to drum up fears and views and clicks. But at Kids Plus, we will continue to do what we always do: follow the science, pay attention to the data, and provide outstanding care to our families according to guidelines recommended by local, regional, and national experts and authorities.

Second — Now that Coronavirus cases have been announced in Western Pennsylvania, public health officials will be able to determine the next best steps, and Kids Plus will, as always, stay on top of everything.

Third — We’ve received some calls from parents asking if they should cancel or reschedule well visits. Right now, we’re urging everyone to keep all well visit appointments, because that recommendation follows CDC guidelines. And because it’s always critical to keep kids up-to-date on routine care.

Finally, and most importantly — We are doing, and will continue to do, everything we can to ensure that every patient, family member, and visitor remains safe and healthy in our offices. Right now, that means mostly business as usual, because we already take extraordinary care to keep our facilities clean and safe. We’ve added a few extra cleaning and sanitizing precautions, as well as a new check-in process to keep our waiting rooms even safer, thanks to the work of our Clinical Committee, which has been working tirelessly the past few weeks and tracking recommendations from the AAP, CDC, local health departments, and other sources.

As new information becomes available, and as guidelines and recommendations are updated or changed, we will keep you up-to-date.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns, or if we can help you in any way.

Because at Kids Plus, we’re always here for you and your family.

Dr. Todd Wolynn
CEO, Kids Plus Pediatrics