written by Anastasia Gentles, MD, Chief Medical Officer
To find a NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care near you visit www.nightlightpediatrics.com/locations.
During this unprecedented time, the telemedicine co-pay will be temporarily waived and telemedicine self pay rate is reduced to $50.
Disclaimer: The current state of COVID-19 spread and recommendations are changing so rapidly that we recommend the following websites for the most up-to-date and accurate information:
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
American Academy of Pediatrics
Harris County Public Health
Texas Health and Human Services
Stay Healthy Texas!
NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care is staying open to help the Greater Houston community via our eight clinics and all of Texas via our pediatric telemedicine service (www.nightlightpediatrics.com/telemed/).
Monitoring this rapidly changing situation, the NightLight clinics are committed to the community’s health and the safety of employees. The clinics will remain open for the foreseeable future to meet the ongoing health needs and to help decompress hospitals and other clinics where those with COVID-19 symptoms will need to go for their care. Bookmark the NightLight website for updates on hours and testing sites.
In order to provide the safest environment for all of our patients and staff and to meet the needs of the Greater Houston area, we are putting the following measures in place:
- If your child is at risk for having COVID-19 AND is severely ill or having difficulty breathing, we recommend that you take them to a hospital to be evaluated and treated.
- We are encouraging those of who have non-life threatening symptoms and conditions to be seen via a telemedicine visit. Visit the telemedicine page for a list of conditions NightLight providers are able to see virtually.
- Flu and strep testing is also being done via telemedicine. If during a video visit, a NightLight provider determines the patient’s symptoms warrants a flu or strep test, the patient will come to the closest NightLight clinic, call from the comfort of your car in the parking lot, and a medical assistant or nurse will come to the car to swab the child. Then, the patient and parents will be able to go home and can expect a call with results and prescription, if needed.
- Employees have been instructed to stay home if they are ill or have been in contact with a COVID-19 positive patient.
- A higher level of sanitation has been implemented to our already stringent cleaning policies for all rooms and surfaces in the clinics.
- NightLight clinics are not performing testing for COVID-19. As soon as widespread testing is available, the clinics will be prepared to access this testing for all who meet criteria.
- Signs are posted on our clinic doors and website to deter patients who have been exposed to COVID-19 from coming into the clinic to protect our other patients and staff. For those that are concerned their child possibly has COVID-19, it is advised to call from the parking lot and a provider will evaluate you.
- To minimize everyone’s exposures to infections, it is encouraged that guests come into the clinic only to check in, do paperwork, and wait in their cars. A text message will notify the guest when it is time for the child to go into the clinic room and be evaluated.
- We are encouraging the fewest number of people possible to accompany the patient into the clinic rooms.
- Please remember to wash hands and seek medical attention for fevers with sore throat, cough, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- Remember that although children are at low risk for severe illness, they can easily pass on this virus to their elderly or immunocompromised relatives and friends.
Evaluation for Testing
The federal and state government is asking that testing for the following high risk groups be prioritized:
- Health care workers and first responders
- Elderly individuals over the age of 65
- Immunocompromised individuals with underlying illness
- Those in close proximity to those who have tested positive for COVID-19
Others who have mild disease or who are at low risk for severe illness – such as having no respiratory distress, no underlying medical conditions, no signs of dehydration, and under 65 years of age – are encouraged to stay at home and contact their primary care provider for advice.
Parents or patients should call their local health department for instructions on where to go for testing.
Houston Area Health Departments
Houston Health Department
- COVID-19 Call Center: (832) 393-4220
- Telephone: (832) 393-5080 (24 hr #)
- Fax: (832) 393-5232
Harris County Public Health
- COVID-19 Call Center: (832) 927-7575
- Telephone: (713) 439-6000
- Fax: (713) 439-6306
- After Hours: (713) 755-5000
Texas Department of State Health Services
- Telephone: (713) 767-3000
- Fax: (713) 767-3006
- After Hours: (800) 270-3128
Montgomery County Public Health Department
- Telephone: (936) 523-5026
- Fax: (936) 539-9272
- After Hours: (888) 825-9754
Brazoria County Health Department
- Telephone: (979) 864-2168
- Fax: (979) 864-3694
- After Hours: (800) 511-1632
Galveston County Health District
- COVID-19 Call Center: (409) 938-7221
- Telephone: (409) 938-2322
- Fax: (409) 938-2399
- After Hours: (888) 241-0442
Fort Bend County Health and Human Services
- COVID-19 Call Center: (281) 633-7795
- Telephone: (281) 342-6414
- Fax: (281) 342-7371
- After Hours: (281) 434-6494
Chambers County Health Department
- Telephone: (409) 267-2730
- Fax: (409) 267-4276
- After Hours: (409) 267-9862
What’s the deal with wearing masks?
Masks are in extremely short supply across all health care centers.. The CDC does not recommend face masks for people who are well to prevent them from getting sick. Respiratory contact is best prevented in the general public by social distancing measures.
Masks are only recommended for people showing signs of COVID-19 to prevent the spread of the virus and for health workers and care takers in a health care facility (since they can be coughed on directly).
Take Home Points
- Most patients that get COVID-19 will have a mild illness. Patients with mild symptoms should stay home and use telemedicine.
- The elderly and those with chronic illnesses are at highest risk of severe illness because this is a novel (new) virus that few people have immunity to and the measures being taken to stop the spread are very important to prevent hospital overload.
- You can help by staying out of crowds and staying away from hospitals if your child is not seriously ill. NOTE: At this time, COVID-19 is rarely causing serious illness in children.
- Severely ill patients should go to the hospital.
- There is no rapid test, no vaccine, and no specific antiviral treatment for COVID-19.
- Wash your hands! Read about Hand Washing and Preventing Childhood Infections.