Staff at PM Pediatrics offices in Manhasset and Selden on Long Island and North Brunswick and Pompton Plains in New Jersey are now performing coronavirus tests for children.
"While early anecdotal evidence points to children being less susceptible to severe COVID-19 illness, we still want to offer a test to children presenting the specific symptoms, including fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath," said Dr. Jeffrey Schor, co-CEO of PM Pediatrics.
Those with PM Pediatrics said the care center's four locations had seen more than 155 pediatric patients over the last week for coronavirus testing.
Many of them are children of healthcare workers and first responders.
"It is important for us to try to get them tested, so this is a kind of area where we could fill in a great need for the community," said Dr. Sheryl Cohen, vice president of Clinical Operations for PM Pediatrics.
Dr. Cohen said children with underlying health conditions, like adults, are more susceptible to having severe forms of the coronavirus, including children with congenital heart disease, asthma, and diabetes. Newborns are also considered high-risk.
"Overall, children have a much less risk, but we do have to be concerned," she said. "We have to be careful. We have to stay home, do all the social distancing. Just because they're kids, we can't just let them out to play on playgrounds and things like that. We need to be careful."
Cohen said signs of the coronavirus in children might include less apparent signs like having trouble getting the child to drink and the child having a general inability to do the activities he or she usually likes to do.
Cohen said if parents are still working outside of the home, they should wash their clothes as soon as they get home, wash their hands frequently and avoid kissing their children anywhere on the face. The top of the head is recommended instead.
Only pediatric patients who have been evaluated by a pediatric expert from PM Pediatrics, either in-person or via the PM Pediatrics Anywhere telemedicine app, are eligible for the test.
Results are reported in approximately four days. All COVID-19 screening appointments must be booked in advance. PM Pediatrics treats patients from newborns through age 26.
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