Central NC pediatricians busy keeping up with COVID-19 testing needed for school-age children

LILLINGTON, NC (WNCN) — As the students returned to school, Premiere Pediatrics in Lillington started to get busy. dr. Lori Langdon said she gives a COVID-19 or RSV test at about 90 percent of the sick visits she sees.

“Thanks to the delta wave, we are now at full power almost every day,” Langdon said.

The tests are necessary for students trying to return from quarantine as well as students sent home with COVID-19 symptoms who want to show the school they don’t have the virus.

In Harnett County, where Langdon’s practice is, students in quarantine can only return after seven days if they receive a COVID-19 test at least five days after exposure. Without a test, the quarantine is 10 days.

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“A lot of patients have come in to follow the rules and that’s important, and to get tested for COVID before they go back to school,” Langdon said.

Langdon said she expects to do more testing now that masks are optional in the district.

According to the guidelines of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, unvaccinated students who do not wear a mask should be quarantined after being in a radius of more than 15 minutes within a radius of 24 hours within 6 feet. of a positive case. She said that so far, most exposures have been during lunch.

“We are now about to see in the coming weeks how much that increases if kids in class are not masked at all, because it will be so much easier to get those 15 minutes if they don’t even have the mask in class, Langdon said.

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It’s not all COVID-19 that keeps things busy. She said the unusual summer RSV surge continues and the peak season for ragweed allergy is underway.

According to DHHS, students with COVID-19 symptoms will need a negative COVID-19 test or an alternative diagnosis from a doctor if they want to return to school 24 hours after feeling better.

“If we see them and they test positive for strep, we might still be testing for COVID because we’re nervous these days, and we’ve occasionally had patients who have both strep and COVID, so we’d test them before going back.” Langdon said.

She said the office is always open for urgent same day visits.

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