• Dr. Ryan Hassan MD MPH

COVID Testing and Sick Visits at the Happy Valley Sick Clinic

This summer, Oregon Pediatrics implemented its Drive Through Clinic at our Clackamas location, in order to ensure we could continue providing medical care for children with infectious illnesses in a safe environment, while minimizing the risk of spreading the pandemic.

While this strategy was effective a few months ago, our clinicians knew that Winter was coming, and, with it, the annual influx of pediatric respiratory illnesses that spread faster than Oregon wildfires. That's why our very own Dr. Brian Blair, with help from our incredible administrative staff, designed and implemented the Happy Valley Sick Clinic, in order for our providers to be able to safely see more sick patients during this busy season, and provide rapid COVID testing for those who need it.

Since early November, and continuing for the next few months, our Happy Valley location has been working with a skeleton crew of a single Customer Service Representative, a single Medical Assistant, and a single provider, seeing only patients with symptoms that could pose an infectious risk to other children and staff. I had the opportunity to work at the clinic during the first week of December, where our fantastic staff members Liz and Skye continue to work tirelessly providing care for dozens of patients per day 5 days per week. Our staff are working with full PPE, and taking precautions to minimize the risk of COVID transmission between staff or to our patients, including an over-the-phone check-in and triage process, curbside testing in our parking lot, and physical exams in patients' cars when appropriate.

In addition, Oregon Pediatrics has now acquired rapid COVID testing kits, so that we can provide testing for patients who need it on site at the Happy Valley location. We have tested hundreds of patients already, and are doing our best to maintain adequate testing supplies to continue testing any of our patients who have COVID symptoms, or a high risk exposure to someone with COVID. Ideally, everyone who wanted testing for COVID would be able to get it, which could give us much more accurate information about the spread of the disease within our community and help us combat the pandemic. Unfortunately, the national availability of COVID testing continues to be insufficient to make this happen, which means we have to carefully steward whom we test and when, in order to protect as many of our patients as we can.

If your child is feeling unwell in anyway, please contact us as you normally would, and we can schedule you to be seen at our Happy Valley sick clinic. If you feel your child may have been exposed to or has symptoms of COVID, such as cough, runny nose, fevers, sore throat, or changes in their sense of taste or smell, please call us or send us a message through our online patient portal, MyHealth, so that we can let you know how, when, and whether to get tested.

In these challenging times, it remains critically important that everyone does their part to help us slow the spread of the pandemic, which has already killed over 300,000 Americans, and is on the verge of overwhelming our hospital capacity in the state. Currently, almost every county in the state, including Clackamas, Washington, and Multnomah, are designated as "Extreme Risk", which means that there have been over 200 cases per 100,000 people in the last 14 days, and over 10% of patients tested in the last 14 days have been positive for COVID. The only way to slow the spread, and help save lives, is by adhering to public health guidelines: stay at home when you can, minimize unnecessary travel and gatherings, wear a mask while in public indoors, limit indoor gatherings to 2 households and 6 people, and maintain social distance, preferably outdoors, as much as possible.

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