SVPAM FAMILIES ~ Posted 12/8/2020
As Members of the Pennsylvania Pediatric Health Network, we share this important message with our patients & their families:
As we craft this letter, in support of our nurse leader colleagues who shared an earlier message with the community on November 20th, Allegheny County has seen an alarming increase in the trend of daily new cases since then – case counts ranging from several hundred to over 1,000 new cases per day – and a cumulative total of 575 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Allegheny County alone.
As pediatricians throughout Western Pennsylvania, we care for our region’s youngest patients and witness firsthand the impact of this pandemic on our youth. We know that pediatric patients are struggling with the challenges of virtual schooling, mental health, lack of physical activity, and other health and wellness components.
We all want to see an end to the pandemic and for a successful return to in-person schooling for all students across our region, as well as a return to general wellness for all. Our hope is that if we continue our mitigation efforts as a community, we can each do our part to support those goals. For those reasons, we are asking you to continue to support us, and each other, through ongoing efforts including:
*Wearing a mask every time you leave your home
- Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, vigorously and frequently
- Maintaining physical distance of at least six feet in addition to masking
- Keeping your holiday gatherings limited to those in your household and connecting with others virtually
- Please stay home if you are feeling at all unwell and keep your child home from school
- Contact your pediatrician’s office to get (you and) your child vaccinated against seasonal flu
Making good choices now may allow us to celebrate the holidays in person next year as well as support a full return to in person school for our shared students and patients.
We sincerely thank you for continuing to support us, our fellow health care workers, and each other during this particularly challenging time of the pandemic through your ongoing actions to reduce the spread of COVID 19.
The Physicians of the Pennsylvania Pediatric Heath Network (PPHN)
Sewickley Valley Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
AGH Pediatrics – Pediatric Alliance
Children’s Community Pediatrics
General Academic Pediatrics – Primary Care Pediatrics of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Kids Plus Pediatrics
SVPAM COVID-19 Mask Exception Statement ~ July 23, 2020
Recent scientific evidence suggests, with virtually unanimous support from our nation’s foremost public health experts, that the universal use of face masks in the United States works in controlling COVID-19 spread. As our knowledge of COVID-19 expands & recommendations change, we will continue to update our guidance to you appropriately.
There are times when wearing a face mask or covering may need an exception. Based on the latest CDC guidelines, the exceptions include, but are not limited to:
Children under the age of 2 years
Patients with active respiratory distress
Patients who are unable to remove their own mask
Patients with Sensory Processing Disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorders
Patients with certain facial deformities and/or airway problems
SVPAM is unable to “mandate” or “require” that schools, daycares, or businesses make exceptions for your child(ren).
If you feel your child meets any of the exceptions, we encourage you to discuss your specific situation with your schools & daycares directly and partner with them so everyone can be educated on the latest guidelines & areas of exception.
It is our hope that we can all continue to work together to keep everyone safe and healthy.
Daniel M. Graff, M.D. Robert Schwartz, M.D. Amerigo N. Ceccarelli, M.D.
Rose Munroe, D.O. Susan Mihaljevic, CPNP Jennifer Schaefer, CRNP
Rachel Sullivan, PA-C Sarah Matusek, PA-C Kristina Johnson PhD.
Tips & Suggestions for Helping Your Child Wear a Mask
It is our view that parents play a significant role in helping their children navigate the COVID uncertainties and the “new normal” of mask wearing. We have put together some helpful tips, via the links & information below, to help you help your child to make mask wearing fun!
What if my child is afraid to wear a face covering? It is understandable that children may be afraid of cloth face coverings at first. Here are a few ideas to help make them seem less scary:
- Look in the mirror with the face coverings on and talk about it.
- Put a cloth face covering on a favorite stuffed animal.
- Decorate them so they are more personalized and fun.
- Show your child pictures of other children wearing them.
- Draw one on their favorite book character.
- Practice wearing the face covering at home to help your child get used to it.
For children under 3, it is best to answer their questions in simple language they understand. If they ask about why people are wearing cloth face coverings, explain that sometimes people wear them when they are sick, and when they are all better, they stop wearing them.
For children over 3, try focusing on germs. Explain that germs are special to your own body. Some germs and good and some are bad. The bad ones can make you sick. Since we cannot always tell which are good or bad, the cloth face coverings help make sure you keep those germs away from your own body.
One of the biggest challenges with having children wear cloth face coverings relates to them “feeling different” or stereotyping them as being sick. As more people wear these cloth face coverings, children will get used to them and not feel singled out or strange about wearing them.
SVPAM COVID ADJUSTMENTS UPDATE ~ 7/7/2020
COVID UPDATES ~ Posted 6/15/2020
SVPAM COVID UPDATES ~ posted 6/4/20
Our Sewickley location reopened on 6/1/20 for Well Child Exams only. Sick patients will continue to be triaged by our clinical staff and if appropriate will be scheduled in either the Wexford or Rochester location. Sick patients will only be seen in the afternoon; morning appointments are reserved for well patients in accordance with our COVID policies and processes.
In accordance with the Governor’s mandate, effective 4/20/20, ALL VISITORS to the office MUST WEAR MASKS (children above 2 years of age) ~ please note that our mask supply is extremely limited, so if you arrive for your child’s appointment without masks, we may, unfortunately, have to refuse services. Additionally, only one parent may accompany the patient to the appointment, with the exception of newborn families for their first visit.
IMPORTANT SVPAM MESSAGE 3/12/20:
Effective immediately, we are suspending all WALK-IN APPOINTMENTS and scheduling via our patient portal until further notice due to the national pandemic of Coronavirus. We have policies & procedures to keep staff/providers/patients and families as safe as possible.
We ask that if you feel your child needs to be seen, please call the office to speak with our staff who will guide you in scheduling an appointment for appropriate care.
Thank you for your understanding. Posted 3/12/2020; modified 3/16/2020