COVID-19 protocols keep pediatricians busy


DELMAR, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Fall is typically a busy time of the year for doctors, but Captial Region Pediatricians are extra busy right now. That’s in part due to tight COVID-19 protocols within our school districts.

Ever since the school year began, Dr. Michael Looney of Delmar Pediatrics has seen an influx in patients. He says many are kids being sent home from school because they may have presented one of the many symptoms of COVID-19. Dr. Looney spoke with NEWS10’s Anya Tucker.

“That impacts everyone it impacts them at home and us as pediatricians,” said Dr. Looney.

The list of virus symptoms is long, including milder symptoms like congestion or a runny nose, so even kids with known seasonal allergies are being sent home.

“You think back to before coronavirus days. If someone called me and said, ‘Jimmy had a cough last week. He was home one day and he’s been fine since. He hasn’t had any symptoms or anything like that, is it ok for him to go back to school?’ I would say yes. In this case, now, I have the addition of a negative coronavirus test with no symptoms. That’s straight forward for them taking a note for him to go back to school. “

School districts will only allow a student to return to in-person learning if they are; symptom-free for 24-hours, possess a negative COVID-19 test and a doctor’s note. He says if a child has a known chronic condition state requirements do allow him to write a note allowing that child to continue to attend school, but only if the child’s symptoms do NOT change.

“Because it would have to be something that’s there continually,” he added.

So what if you have more than one child with a case of the sniffles? That could mean multiple trips to the doctor. The pediatrician says he is hearing from many frustrated moms and dads.

“Well, let’s just say that nobody is happy with the situation. But people have to deal with things, and say, ‘Ok, if this is what the recommendations are and this is the way that we are doing it, How is the best way we have to follow those recommendations?’ And then you hope that the people in charge will adjust those, amend those based on what’s going on in the community.”

He says better, more widespread testing would help speed up the process and perhaps make it easier for school districts to have more choices on restrictions and protocols.

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