Northern Berkshire Pediatrics (NBP) Guideline and Protocols for Coronavirus

Northern Berkshire Pediatrics (NBP) Guideline and Protocols for Coronavirus (COVID -19) May 12, 2020

We at NBP hope you are all staying healthy, physically and mentally, during these trying times! We’re very happy about the recent sunshine and hope you’ve been getting your families out for fresh air as often as possible. Our community seems to be doing a great job distancing from others to slow down the spread of COVID-19; thank you for doing your part. As it’s been a while since we posted, we wanted to update you on what’s been happening at our offices. 

We have carefully been seeing Well Child visits for newborns through age 15 months, as well as problem-focused visits that need to be in-person in both our North Adams and Williamstown offices. Only patients, parents, and staff members that screen negative for Covid-19 symptoms are allowed to come to the office, and temperatures are taken for all upon arrival to ensure that they do not have fevers. Because we all know that people can spread this infection without showing symptoms, every staff member wears a mask and eye protection at all times.

We appreciate it if parents and children over age 2 can wear a mask as well, since of course you’ll be within 6 feet of our providers and staff members. If you don’t have masks, we will provide donated cloth masks to better protect everyone. We are also limiting the number of people coming to each visit to only one parent or guardian and the patient.

Given all of these protections we have put into place, under the guidance of Boston Children’s Hospital and pediatric practices all over the state, soon we will adding back some older child physicals - initially those where the patient is scheduled to receive vaccines. Unfortunately, COVID 19 is not going away anytime soon, and we very much do not want an outbreak of another serious infection because we stopped vaccinating! 

       Many of our visits currently are Virtual Visits. We connect to these through our patient portal - MyChart. This is a secure way of having an appointment online using video and audio so that we can talk to you and see you. These are a great way of connecting for when you don’t really need to see us in person. If you don’t have a MyChart account, we recommend that you call the office to have an account set up.

            What about if your child is sick and needs to be seen by their doctor? For patients who are having fever, cough, sore throat, breathing problems, or other symptoms that need medical attention, we are using a separate and isolated wing of our main office for these visits. These patients never enter the waiting room; they check in by phone from the parking lot and then go straight to the exam room through a secured entrance. Our staff will be in full personal protective equipment (PPE) during these visits and the exam room and equipment used will get a full cleaning between patients. 

Of course, our entire offices and all of the exam rooms are cleaned multiple times a day and again every night. Our management & providers are meeting regularly and will change these policies if new information suggests changes should be made. With all of these measures described above, we will continue to do everything we can to protect our patients, staff, providers, and the community. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

Below are some useful links that provide up to date and accurate information:  

CDC 

Healthy Children.org 

How to talk to your children about Coronavirus

NPR

Mass.gov

World Health Organization (WHO)

NY Times - how to talk to your kids about Coronavirus