January 1, 2021
We at Amherst Pediatrics would like to wish you all the the best in the coming new year. We have been through quite a lot this past year, and we look hopefully foreward to what we believe will be a much better year ahead. That said, the next couple of months will be difficult as the pandemic continues to rage out of control, with the winter months looking to be possibly the worst we have seen so far. The good news, and it is very good news indeed, is that two very effective and safe vaccines are being rolled out as we speak. Providers and staff at Amherst Pediatrics have been among the first in the region to receive the vaccine, making our office that much safer and more secure for our patients. Soon, the vaccine will be available to the general public as well. We will be sure to keep you informed as soon as we have more information about that phase of the rollout.
We urge you to continue to take all of the pandemic safety precautions very seriously.
Wear a mask
The single most important and effective strategy to prevent spread of this virus is to wear an appropriate face covering. Please follow this link for complete information about what that means: CDC Guide to Mask Wearing
Maintain at least a 6-foot distance between you and others who are not in your household - both indoors and outdoors.
Please refrain from going into indoor spaces outside of your home. That includes restaurants, shops, gyms, salons, grocery stores, and other people's homes. If you can, try to order items by delivery or curbside pick-up.
When it becomes available, we urge you to get vaccinated as soon as possible. This will be a crucial element to ending this pandemic. It can only be achieved if the vast majority of us get the vaccine. We know that many people have reservations about this vacceine, because it is perceived to have been developed and rolled out so fast. In fact, safety has not been sacrificed during this process. The historic speed with which the vaccine has beeen readied is due to the unprecedented efforts of scientists and the huge amount of resources poured into this effort. It is a process that will likely be replicated in the future, and in which we can all be proud. The vaccine is extremely effective and SAFE!
As more and more people again seek and require testing, our regional testing capacity has become increasingly strained.
At the moment, Amherst Pediatrics recommends the following options for COVID-19 testing:
Anyone with possible symptoms of COVID-19 will need to be tested either offsite (see below) or in our outdoor facility at Amherst Pediatrics. Our capacity to test symptomatic patients at Amherst Pediatrics is very limited, and will be determined by our clincal team. COVID-19 symptoms include:
An increasing number of individuals are seeking or requiring testing in order to attend school, to work, to see relatives, or to travel. Amherst Pediatrics has very limited on-site capability to perform coronavirus nasal swab testing. We are therefore recommending the following off-site testing options for our patients:
Off-site testing locations
UMass State Testing Facility - Mullins Center
The State of Massachusetts offers free community testing on the UMass campus. Please follow this link for complete details and information:
NOTE: This testing is available only for those age 10 years and older who are asymptomatic.
Baystate Medical Center
Testing can be performed at several Baystate locations. Appointments are arranged by Amherst Pediatrics, but the location and time is set by Baystate. Appointment information will be sent to you as a portal message. The current Baystate locations are Springfield, Greenfield, Ware, and Westfield.
Cooley Dickinson Hospital
Drive-through testing as well as urgent-care evaluation and testing can be performed at CDH in Northampton. Scheduling is initiated by Amherst Pediatrics and patients are then called by CDH to complete the scheduling process.
Turnaround time for receiving test results varies by location and testing demand, and is beyond our control.