We’re surrounded by information about the new coronavirus and the disease it causes called COVID-19. At VPG we want to be able to help you and your family understand the current situation as best we can. We also want to let you know our plans for our office as the situation evolves. BASIC INFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19

There are lots of really well written websites with useful information about COVID-19. Rather than regurgitate good information that is already available, we want to point you to a few good information sources. Here are two of them:

From a pediatric infectious disease specialist:

From the Centers for Disease Control:

What do we think will happen?:
Most experts are anticipating that the numbers of people infected in the US will continue to rise. We are all aware of dramatic measures being taken to decrease the risk of spread of the virus including closing of schools, cancelling of meetings and festivals, suspending athletic events, etc. Even taking these measures, the virus will continue to spread. However, measures like these will hopefully slow the spread so that our healthcare system will be able to meet the needs of those who are ill.

How do I talk to my kids about COVID-19?
Be honest with your kids. If they have questions, take the time to listen and allow them to express their questions and fears. If you don't know the answer to their questions it's ok to tell them you don't know. But, take time to reassure them that you will do all you can to keep them safe and make sure they are well taken care of. Remember that COVID-19 generally causes only very mild or even no symptoms in children and even young adults.

How is VPG responding?
Currently private doctor's offices in our area have no ability to test for COVID-19. We are coordinating with Augusta Health to evaluate any patients who are suspected of having COVID-19. Those patients will be instructed to go directly to the Augusta Health ER for evaluation and potential testing. Procedures are also in place for isolating patients seen at VPG with possible COVID-19.

We know that it may feel a little scary to bring your well child to a doctor’s office at this time. However, it’s still important for us to continue to provide well visits, monitor your child’s growth and development and vaccinate them for many of the other infectious diseases that they are still at risk for. We will do all we can to prevent exposures to all of our patients, whether they are sick or well. We have a number of plans in place for this but we also need your cooperation as we work to protect each other:

1. As always, we will continue to have physically separated waiting rooms for those being seen for sick visits and those for well visits.

2. If you prefer, you can wait in your car until an exam room is ready for your child. If you choose to do that you must have a functioning cell phone with you. We have dedicated phone numbers for each office to call when you arrive. For the Waynesboro office the number is 540-609-2900. For the Verona office the number is 540-213-4663. Please note that these numbers are ONLY for notifying us that you are waiting in the parking lot. We cannot take other phone calls, questions, appt requests, etc on these lines. We will call you back on your cell phone when we are ready for you to come into the office. You will still need to stop at the registration desk to register but we will then take you and your child immediately back to the exam room area.

3. In order to decrease the number of people in the office, we ask that you limit the number of people accompanying you and your child to the appointment. As much as possible, please leave all other children or family members at home.

4. If you or your child have a fever and a cough we will provide you and your child with a mask and require that you wear it over your mouth and nose the entire time you are in the building, unless directed to remove it by the doctor or clinical staff.

5. We want to see your child if you need us. As always, we won’t turn anyone away. However, we anticipate most children with COVID-19 will have mild symptoms. We ask you to limit calls and visits to our office if your child’s symptoms are mild and can be treated at home with over the counter measures.

6. If your child has fever and cough and has either traveled to an area where COVID-19 is present or has been exposed to someone known or suspected to be infected with COVID-19 PLEASE CALL AND ASK TO TALK TO A NURSE. DO NOT JUST CALL TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT. In that setting we want to direct you to where your child can be tested appropriately. We are unable to test for COVID-19 in the office.

The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to evolve over the next few months. We will continue to update you here on VPG's response. Thank you for your patience as we work to continue to provide your child with the best quality pediatric care that we can.