Updated Office Workflow

As of August 3, 2021

We are currently seeing an unprecedented number of sick patients this summer, with non-COVID19 viral illnesses more typically seen in winter and early spring. In addition, we are now seeing COVID19 infection creep back into our community. This is disappointing but not surprising given the uptick in COVID19 infections across the United States and the world. In response to this, Sound Beach Pediatrics has updated our workflow. We remain steadfast in our goal to provide outstanding health care to our families, while simultaneously protecting our patients and our staff from COVID-19 disease transmission.

Office hours remain the same:

  • Monday-Friday: 7:45 am-5:00 pm (closed for lunch 12:30-1:30)
  • Saturdays: 9:00 am-12:00 pm
  • Sundays: closed

Appointments can be scheduled during regular business hours.

All visits:

  • One parent or caretaker per child per visit. We currently allow an exception for newborns through 7 weeks, for both parents to attend.
  • No siblings allowed unless he or she is also being seen for an appointment (ie. double check up, double sick visit). Exceptions made only in urgent circumstances with provider approval.
  • Masks required for all children 2 years and up and all parents and caretakers.
  • Please complete Phreesia Digital Check In prior to your appointment. This includes the COVID19 screening questionnaire.

Well care:

  • Your child must be well and without recent COVID19 exposures. Please provide honest answers to our COVID19 screening questionnaire to ensure everyone’s safety.
  • All children must be healthy to come to a “face to face” well visit – no fever, no cough, no vomiting/diarrhea. If your child has any symptoms of illness, or COVID19 exposures, please let our front staff know so we can reschedule your well visit.
  • In certain instances, children with mild symptoms of illness (mild nasal congestion) who need a well visit urgently may be seen on the South Side in full PPE, at the discretion of the pediatrician.
  • We encourage children who require vaccinations to come into the office to receive immunizations.

Sick patients:

  • Please call upon your arrival to the parking lot.
  • You will be brought back to an exam room when our staff is ready for you. No sick patients sitting in our waiting room.
  • Sick patients will be seen on the South Side. These visits will take place in designated “sick rooms” by providers in full PPE, separately from our well patients.
  • No walk-in visits at this time.
  • Laboratory testing and referrals to the ER will be made as appropriate.
  • For a true emergency, call 911 and go directly to the Emergency Room.

SBP Drive-Up Testing (by appointment):

  • We continue to offer testing for rapid flu, rapid strep, and COVID19 PCR (sent to Greenwich Hospital) through a designated, drive-up parking space in our parking lot.
  • The parking space is located near the back entrance – the space on the far-right corner, near the lawn area.
  • Appointments for testing will be available Monday-Friday.
  • Swabbing will be performed with the child seated comfortably but firmly restrained in the car by parent or care provider to ensure safety – passenger side, back seat, allowing our staff to approach your car on the passenger side.
  • A member of our clinical staff will perform any necessary testing in full PPE (personal protective equipment).
  • To ensure best flow and efficiency in our parking lot, any rapid strep and/or rapid flu results will be called to the parent after the drive-up appointment.
  • For your child’s safety, no physical exams are performed in our parking lot.
  • COVID19 PCR tests will be processed by the Greenwich Hospital Lab (just as before).
    • COVID19 results are generally back within 24h-48h.
    • Negative results will be sent to the portal.
    • Positive results will be called to the parent and also sent to the portal.

We continue to see fluctuations in demand for COVID19 testing and will also continue to refer patients as needed to Greenwich Hospital (or Stamford Hospital) for drive up testing. We ask for your understanding as we balance individual patient demands and our staffing day to day, with unknown volatile fluctuations of the pandemic in our community.

In addition:

  • Medical advice and medication refills are provided through telemedicine visits​​.
  • Portal messages will be answered generally within 24-48 hours, Monday through Friday.
  • Please call us for urgent matters.
  • Please reserve after hours calls for true emergencies and urgent health matters.
  • As always, please call 911 for a true emergency.

We remain vigilant in ensuring your safety. We remain committed to following recommendations outlined by the CDC, AAP and Yale.

We will continue to make adjustments as the demands of the pandemic continue to change this summer, and into fall and winter. We will keep you informed. All of us at Sound Beach Pediatrics are here to help support your family in the coming months as we face the challenges of the pandemic with you.

Two New Pediatricians Will Join Our Team This Fall

In Autumn 2021 we will be welcoming two new physicians to Sound Beach Pediatrics, Dr. Jennifer Fenster and Dr. Alyssa Schunk. They are going to be fantastic additions to our team, and we we can’t wait for you to meet them!

The Latest Update on COVID19 Vaccination for Children

Good morning!

As many of you know, the FDA has just authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of 12 and 15 in the US. As the Washington Post just reported (5/10), this authorization was based on “a trial of nearly 2,300 adolescents between 12 and 15 years old, half of whom received the same two-shot regimen shown effective and safe in adults.”

Sound Beach Pediatrics is thrilled with the expanded offering of the vaccine to younger children. Dr. Henry and I encourage parents to vaccinate children 12 years and above.

We respect that some parents may be uneasy and opt to decline or defer vaccination. But, we strongly believe the benefits of vaccination outweigh any potential risks. The challenges for children during this pandemic, particularly for their mental health, have been tremendous. We are eager to see the pandemic further controlled and our patients’ lives return to normalcy.

In this very early stage, Sound Beach Pediatrics is not a vaccination site. The CT Department of Public Health has provided the following guidance this week:

  • To make an appointment: Log into the CT Vaccine Portal, which allows patients (and parents) to search for a vaccine provider nearest to you. Once results are returned, the locations display what types of vaccines are available at the locations listed, including Pfizer vaccines.
  • Other sites coming soon: Towns and school districts are planning some school-sponsored vaccination clinics. Parents can expect communications from participating school districts, or can reach out to theirs to inquire about available school sponsored clinics.
  • Administration of other vaccinations: The ACIP COVID-19 vaccine clinical considerations currently recommend spacing of 14 days prior to and following any other vaccines. But, please do not delay routine vaccinations for your children.
  • Setting expectations: According to the CT DPH this week, “No additional age expansion for children younger than age 12 years of age is expected prior to the fall of 2021.” Studies in younger children and infants are ongoing.

We will continue to keep you informed of important changes, and we eagerly await the authorization of the use of the COVID19 vaccine in our younger patients. On a personal note, my 17 year-old daughter (photo above) has already received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and my younger children will be soon to follow.

Wishing you good health and Happy Spring!

Dr. Katy and The Sound Beach Pediatrics Team

Dr. Katy shares her sunny outlook and practice’s enthusiasm for COVID19 vaccination for children

Sound Beach Pediatrics sees a bright future ahead with the growing availability of the COVID19 vaccine and its use in children on the horizon.

New Guidance for Patients with Recent or Prior COVID19 Infection

Dear SBP Families,

 

Dr. Henry and I wanted to reach out with an important update related to children, COVID19, the rare but serious potential for cardiac complications, and new guidance on return to PE and sports clearance. This is an important topic for all parents to understand – so please read on here and also visit our updated COVID19 Resources page.

Current data suggest that a very small proportion of children with COVID19 infection can go on to develop a serious condition called myocarditis (heart muscle inflammation). Symptoms may include chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations or syncope (loss of consciousness).

Fortunately, most children are either asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic with COVID19 infection – this is published widely and is also what we have observed here at Sound Beach Pediatrics since the pandemic began.

Among experts and academic institutions, there is a general consensus that the risk of cardiac complications increases with more significant symptoms of infection. Sound Beach Pediatrics has reviewed the most recent AAP guidelines, as well as guidance from a number of academic medical centers. We are implementing a new protocol for post-COVID19 PE and sports clearance, without age specification given how active school-aged children are.

Moving forward:

  • If your child develops COVID19 infection, we will ask you to fill out our Daily Symptom Checker and to come in to our office for a follow up visit 2 weeks after symptom resolution.
  • Please connect with our office by phone or portal for fever/ fatigue/ chills/ muscle aches lasting 4 days or more.
  • Call us immediately for any symptoms such as chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, loss of consciousness, or extreme lethargy.

Retrospectively:

  • If your child has had confirmed COVID19 infection (or strongly suspected), please reach out to us and make an appointment to come in for an office visit.
  • We will review your child’s symptom history, perform a physical exam, and guide you on any next steps.

We expect recommendations will evolve as we continue to receive new information related to COVID19 infection and its complications. Sound Beach Pediatrics will keep you informed and continue to work collaboratively with our local schools as well, to ensure best processes.

Please reach out with any concerns. We care deeply for your children and their health and are grateful for the continued trust you place in us.

 

Dr. Katy and The Sound Beach Pediatrics Team

“Healthy Living Doesn’t Stop During a Pandemic” ~ A Reminder to Family Members of All Ages

Dear Sound Beach Pediatrics Families,

Dr. Henry and I hope this message finds you well! With increasing community COVID19 spread, it is now more important than ever before to exercise caution and use discretion in our day-to-day activities. Wearing masks and maintaining social distancing continue to be the mainstays of disease prevention, mitigating COVID19 transmission and protecting those at highest risk. Please tell your children: “Keep your guard up, keep your mask up!”

Particularly during this pandemic, it is critical to make health and wellness a top priority for your family. Please continue to keep an eye on maintaining preventative care appointments not only for your children, but also for yourselves. It’s equally important to follow up on signs and symptoms of illness, knowing we have excellent community hospitals ready to help you in times of need. With this spirit in mind, and reflecting on my own near-miss with breast cancer, I just wrote a piece for Serendipity Magazine, “Healthy Living Doesn’t Stop During a Pandemic,” which I hope will provide each of you with renewed focus on your family’s whole health. (Click here to download a Wellness Checklist for your family!)

Many of you have been inquiring about the COVID19 vaccine for your family. We are just as eager as you are to see the vaccine distributed widely. As you know, priority will be placed in the early weeks on vaccinating our front-line health care workers and long-term care facility residents. We will keep you posted as we learn more from the CT Department of Public Health on details of the COVID19 vaccination program for children, and we will share AAP updates and our practice perspective with you as well. Dr. Henry and I suggest a look at this terrific AAP link to answer some of your questions.

Above all else, all of us at Sound Beach Pediatrics sincerely wish you and your family a special holiday season and good health. Like you, we look forward to 2021 with great anticipation!

Dr. Katy and The Sound Beach Pediatrics Team

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