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Virginia pediatricians say they are 'under water' as COVID-19 cases surge

The Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for asymptomatic children get tested for COVID-19 at an alternative facility, such as school.

RICHMOND, Va. — Author's Note: The video above is on file from Sept. 16, 2021.

Pediatricians across Virginia have been at the forefront of helping children in the fight against COVID-19, but they can't do it alone.

Several pediatric offices statewide said they haven't been able to stay afloat with the increasing need for in-office patient visits for COVID-19 testing.

Dr. Michael Martin, President of the Virginia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (VA-AAP) said, “Pediatric offices and outpatient centers across Virginia are underwater as a result of staff shortages, provider burnout, and an extraordinary increase in demand for COVID testing required by schools and daycare facilities. This comes at the same time we are seeing an unanticipated increase in respiratory viruses like RSV and a backlog of preventative visits and vaccines that overwhelmed providers this past summer.”

VA-AAP has suggested for children who show no signs or symptoms of COVID-19 go to another testing site in place of their regular doctor's office or clinic, such as at a school. This will help relieve some offices that are short-staffed.

“Many offices are so understaffed, that COVID testing alone can tie up needed staff members, which limits the number of children doctors are able to care for in a day,” said Dr. Martin.

The VA Chapter said they just need the community's patience and support as they continue to push through this difficult time.