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Young boy wearing a mask at a doctors appointment

COVID-19 Testing at CHKD

Can my child get a COVID-19 test at a CHKD facility?

Yes, if a CHKD provider determines that your child needs a test based on his or her symptoms and exposure history, that provider can collect the specimen during a patient visit to one of our pediatric practices, urgent care centers or emergency department at the main hospital.

Special Circumstances

CHKD is requiring children who have a procedure or surgery scheduled at CHKD, to have a COVID-19 test prior to their procedure, even if they do not have symptoms or a history of exposure. These tests must take place within a specific time frame. A staff member from the surgery department will call you with details about when and where to get your child’s test.

What counts as an exposure to COVID-19?

There is a great deal of confusion and misinformation about this topic, but the science is actually very specific. A true “exposure” only occurs when someone is:

  • within six feet of a person who tests positive for COVID-19,
  • for at least 15 minutes,
  • and neither of them are wearing masks.

All three of the above must be true for an encounter to be considered a true exposure.

What should I do if my child was exposed according to the definition above?

Call your child’s regular doctor for advice.

If your child does not have symptoms, they will probably recommend quarantine. That means keeping your child at home until 14 days after their last contact with the person who has COVID-19. During quarantine, you should keep a close eye out for symptoms and check your child’s temperature twice a day. As much as possible, keep your child away from anyone in your home who is at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, such as elderly relatives.

If your child was exposed and has any of the symptoms listed below, call your pediatrician for advice. Your practice will likely offer you an appointment for testing, and give you information to keep your child comfortable as well as any symptoms that could indicate more severe illness. They will also help you understand the importance of isolating your child from people who are not sick. This will be particularly important if your child’s test is positive.

Thankfully, COVID-19 is usually a mild illness in children. Because it is caused by a virus, the main treatments are rest, fluids and time.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

  • fever
  • cough
  • any new shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • chills
  • repeated shaking with chills
  • muscle pain or body aches
  • headache
  • sore throat
  • new loss of taste or smell
  • diarrhea
  • nausea or vomiting
  • congestion or runny nose
  • fatigue

What if my child visited a friend who had a true exposure before the friend was quarantined? Can I get a test for peace of mind?

This would not constitute an exposure for your child, unless the child your child visited tested positive for COVID-19, and they were in close contact (within six feet), for more than 15 minutes, and neither child wore a mask. Another way to think of it as an exposure to an exposure is not an exposure. To responsibly manage limited testing resources, we are not offering tests for peace of mind only. We are only testing those whose symptoms and/or exposure history warrant testing.

My child needs proof of a negative test for school/daycare/sports? Can I get this test at CHKD?

If your child is a patient at a CHKD Medical Group primary care practice or visits one of our Urgent Care Centers, and you have a letter or form from the school/daycare/sports league stating that the test is required, you can get the test at that practice or a CHKD Urgent Care Center.

CHKD’s emergency department is not performing school/daycare/sports testing at this time.

In general, CHKD discourages this sort of entrance testing because it can give a false sense of security to those who test negative. The test only measures your COVID-19 status at the time the specimen is collected.