January 13, 2022 

Dear Casas Pediatrics Families, 

In an effort to further help our families and streamline calls and visits through our office, we are asking for your help.   As you can imagine, with covid-19 Omicron strain surging, we are experiencing extremely high volumes of both patient calls and visits. Additionally, we are also experiencing staffing challenges related to illness to some staff members and/or families.   Please understand that we are trying our very best to help as many of our families as possible.  If you have questions or concerns about covid-19 in your family/ children, please read/ listen to the following prior to seeking discussion with our nurses and/or scheduling an appointment: 

*Covid-19 Omicron variant is surging and we are seeing a much higher positivity rate amongst our patients. At this point, it is appearing this variant is less severe than the Delta variant.  We do NOT specifically test for variant strain, but we assume most cases now are Omicron. 

*IF YOUR FAMILY HAS A CONFRIMED CASE and others become symptomatic, we presume those additional persons ARE POSITIVE, and we do not feel they need to test.  We would ask that those newly symptomatic family members continue quarantine for a minimum 5-7 days after onset of their symptoms. 

*IF YOUR FAMILY HAS A CONFIRMED CASE and a child is ASYMPTOMATIC and needs testing to return to daycare/ school, we prefer to test at day 5 after family members’ symptoms began.  Any earlier may be inaccurate or falsely negative. 

*We are ALSO experiencing supply issues with testing both for our rapid in office, as well as our PCR tests to the various labs we work with.  We are putting in orders for supplies as often as we can, but we are at the mercy of suppliers. 

*With the current surge, turn-around time for the lab tests are taking longer also.  This is in the 3-7 day range currently, depending on which lab we have to send the swab to.  We will get the results to you as soon as we receive them. 

*Our opinion of home rapid antigen tests is that they are reliable if a person is symptomatic and POSITIVE, but there is a potentially high false negative rate.  Therefore, if your family member has symptoms that could be COVID-19 and they have a negative home antigen test, please pursue PCR testing to verify (and remain quarantined until that result is received/ negative). 

*The most common symptoms we are seeing in COVID-19 in the kids currently is sore throat, cough, congestion, runny nose, headache, body aches/ achiness, with or without fevers.  We are also seeing some eye drainage with covid-19 now.  COVID-19 continues to frequently be mistaken for allergies and sinus infections.   

*If your child has symptoms, please play it cautious and keep them home until well at least 48 hours and consider testing. 

*Luckily, the vast majority of children are still handling covid infections very well.  They can be effectively cared for at home with supportive care (increased rest, pushing fluids, Tylenol/ Ibuprofen as need for fevers/ aches).   Generally, there is very little, if any, treatment we need to provide them. 

*Things that worry us during the acute infection include: progressing fevers, worsening pain, inability to stay hydrated, labored breathing, noisy breathing (other than nasal congestion) or dramatically worsening cough.  If those are occurring, your child probably needs to be evaluated. 

*MIS-C is a potential complication of COVID-19 in children.  It typically presents 2-6 weeks after the acute infection and symptoms can include: re-emergence and progressing fever, irritability/ fussiness, headaches, abdominal pain (which can mimic appendicitis), new splotchy rashes or peeling skin.  If your child had covid recently and develops these, THEY NEED TO BE SEEN and evaluated, including labs. 

Thank you for your time and attention and willingness to work with us as we continue to navigate through a very challenging time.  Stay healthy and play it safe!  If you or your child is sick, we URGE YOU to stay home! 

The Covid-19 Vaccine and Pediatric Patients.

The FDA just approved the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine down to 12 years of age. Soon you will be able to have your children, 12 years of age and older get the vaccine. Because of the cold storage requirements of this vaccine, we will not be able to administer this vaccine in our office. You can get this vaccine at many pharmacies now and, the vaccine centers at Tucson Medical Center, Tucson Convention Center and Kino. We recommend that our patients get this vaccine. While pediatric patients are generally lower risk for Covid complications, that does not mean they are at no risk. Children being vaccinated protects not only them but, others around them that may be more vulnerable. The side effects include arm soreness, headaches, body aches and fever for a couple of days. These are mRNA vaccines (messenger RNA), meaning they teach your body how to make antibodies against the Covid protein spike. They do NOT change your DNA. The sooner we are vaccinated, the sooner we can stop wearing masks and see our lives return to normal. For more information about the Covid-19 vaccine please visit the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/keythingstoknow.html

If you have any questions, call and leave a message for your pediatrician and we will call you back as soon as we can so that we can answer your questions and address your concerns.

Hello, Casas Pediatrics families! During the COVID 19 pandemic, your child’s medical care matters more than ever! If you are interested in a remote telemedicine visit, please call the office (520)751-3675 to schedule an appointment. Our staff will determine if your child’s medical condition is appropriate for telemedicine, or if an office visit is necessary.  If you have Chrome, Firefox or a smartphone, it is easy to do telemedicine by simply clicking on your doctor’s link! There is no app or software to download! http://Doxy.me is HIPAA compliant, secure, and private.
Thank you and stay safe!

Welcome to Casas Pediatrics

Caring for Tucson Infants, Children and Adolescents

Choosing the right pediatrician for your child requires careful consideration. Drs. Philip Starceski, Christine Graham and Martha Eicher are board-certified pediatricians who together have over 50 years experience meeting the health and wellness needs of infants, children and adolescents in greater Tucson. Our office is a warm and welcoming environment. We take pride in getting to know each patient and build family-centered relationships based on mutual trust, respect and comprehensive pediatric care.

You’re invited to browse our site and learn more about our special medical interests,
professional backgrounds and helpful practice information. We’re proud to care for children in Oro Valley and Northwest Tucson.

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If your child is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, dial “911” immediately.

Our office hours are Monday – Friday, 8am – 12pm and 1 – 5pm.