Dayton Children’s preparing for possible COVID-19 surge when school begins

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – With school approaching and fall sports practices starting, anxious parents and school districts are trying to determine how to handle the coming year during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dayton Children’s Hospital said it’s been preparing for a possible surge from schools starting; putting together guidelines for coaches, parents and athletes to follow, as well as expanding its ability to treat and test for COVID-19.

“(We’re) helping schools develop a plan to re-open and what that surge might look like,” Ben Goodstein, Vice President of Ambulatory Services at Dayton Children’s Hospital, said. “But Dayton Children’s has been preparing for it for about two months.”

Goodstein said the hospital hasn’t seen what it would define as a surge in patients but said the recent increase in the number of positive tests in children are due to tests being more available. “We have made it as easy as possible for children to get the test,” Senior Director of Medical Imaging Melanie Wilson said. “We’ve seen about 6,000 kids since we started testing for COVID-19. I think as we continue to increase testing, we will see higher rates of positive patients. That’s what we’ve seen nationally.”

Goodstein said Wilson was part of a team that developed testing protocols to allow children to take the COVID-19 swab test while in a car. He said it cuts down on the number of people the child has to come into contact with.

“It’s very helpful to test kids in the car and it keeps them from having to get out and go into a medical facility, which is a place they don’t need to be in,” Goodstein said. He added schools should be in contact with their local health commissioners regarding best practices.

Melanie Amato, the press secretary for the Ohio Department of Health, said it has sent information to all Ohio physicians through a health alert that they can allow patients to get tested. If a patient can’t get a referral for a test through their family physician or pediatrician, Amato said they can visit any CVS or Kroger that offers to test.

According to Amato, any parents or patients that feel they’ve been unfairly denied a referral can file a complaint at the Ohio Department of Health website.

Dan Suffoletto, the public information supervisor for Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County, told anyone who wants a test can go to a pop-up site. Referrals aren’t required at the pop-up testing sites. You can find a list of those sites by tapping here.

For a list of guidelines for athletes and other students in extracurriculars, visit the Dayton Children’s Hospital website.

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