San Antonio pediatric doctors see influx of patient visits amid COVID-19 concerns

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio pediatricians say COVID-19 concerns and children returning to the classroom have led to an increase in doctor visits, although children are not getting sicker.

While kids are not sicker, more kids are sick, according to Dr. John Fitch, with Heritage Pediatrics in Alamo Heights. He says his office typically sees about 15-20 visits a day. Those figures have nearly increased to 20-30 in recent weeks.

“There was more illness going back to school. Now, everyone is just sharing it,” Fitch said. “The good news is kids are still not getting really, really sick (with COVID-19).”

For the most part, Fitch says kids have a common cold, but they still have to be tested for COVID-19 as part of the documentation required by some school districts. Coordinating that and visits in the parking lot takes a lot of time and staff, he says.

Dr. Leslie Wilson, with Little Spurs Pediatrics Urgent Care, says her office has been so busy. They’ve had to change their business model of taking in any walk-in patient.

“We never in our history turned a patient away, but unfortunately, a couple of weeks ago, we were not able to meet the demand of patients,” Wilson said, with some having to wait up to two hours to be seen.

Clinics average 50 patients in the summer. They’re up to about 100 patients a day in a 12-hour period. Telemedicine is available for them as well.

The best thing doctors recommend is to try to keep your sick child hydrated. If the traditional pain and fever-reducing medicine doesn’t work and you have concerns, then call your pediatrician’s office. Most have on-call doctors.

If you’re trying to see someone at an urgent pediatric clinic, try to book online early in the morning to ensure an appointment.

Doctors urge handwashing protocols and mask-wearing and say those 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Pediatricians are now bracing for the fall and the flu season, which may bring in more patients.


San Antonio nurse working in pediatric ICU shares experience of working on frontlines during COVID-19 surge

About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.