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COVID-19 Information for Parents

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Page Reviewed and Updated on March 23, 2020

Have an Appointment with Us? Please Call Ahead

Parents, please help us provide the best care to your child and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community. If you or your child has a cough and fever, please make sure you talk to someone in our office before your appointment. We may need to give you special instructions for your arrival.

Starting Monday, March 23, CHKD will implement new measures to keep our patients and community safe from COVID-19.

Visitation Policy

Visitation Policy Changes

To protect our patients and community from the spread of COVID-19, CHKD is changing its visitation policies.

  • For hospitalized patients and day surgery at the main hospital and surgery centers, only two visitors are permitted and must be parents or caregivers.
  • For outpatient and clinic visits, patients may only be accompanied by one adult.
  • No siblings or others are allowed to visit at this time.
  • Please do not visit the hospital if you are sick.

Screening

We will have a process set up in the lobby of our main hospital in Norfolk to screen all visitors and patients for fevers and symptoms of COVID-19. This process will also be instituted in the Emergency Department. Rollout to other areas will be considered upon need. Our aim is to protect our patients, families, and staff by screening on entry to identify those exposed or currently sick and provide them with hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and masks if needed. If patients are sick and need to be seen, they will be escorted to the clinics.

Outpatient appointments

CHKD patients with appointments to our outpatient clinics, including specialty, surgical, therapy services, General Academic Pediatrics, will have new visiting restrictions.

  • For clinics located in the main hospital, only one adult may accompany a patient to an outpatient clinic. No siblings are allowed.
  • Adults accompanying the patient should not be sick.
  • All patients and accompanying adults will be issued a green badge from the security desk on arrival.
  • We will make an exception for home nurses who help parents get some of our more medically-complex patients to appointments. In these cases, one nurse and one parent may accompany the child

Appointments at our outpatient clinics are being reviewed to adjust schedules for patients with suppressed immune conditions. Some appointments may be postponed if they are routine or not essential at this time. If patients have fever and coughing, they should not come to the clinic, but rather contact their pediatrician if medical help is needed..

CHKD pediatric practices have temporarily suspended walk -in hours. Additional scheduled appointments are being made available.

Testing

CHKD health providers can test children for COVID-19, but not all children with a fever and cough need to be tested. Children must meet these criteria:

  • Symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, and
  • Close contact with someone with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, or
  • Traveled within 14 days of symptoms to places where cases have been spreading through community transmission. Check the list, which is constantly changing, at CDC.gov/coronavirus.

Your pediatrician’s office will help you know if you can care for your child at home or if you need to go to the doctor's office or the Emergency Department. Most children who have COVID-19 have mild symptoms that don’t require hospitalization. As with any respiratory virus, children with lung conditions and suppressed immune systems are at higher risk of complications.

When to Seek Emergency Care

Go to the Emergency Department or call 911 if:

  • Your child shows breathing problems. Look for muscles pulling in between the ribs or the nose puffing out with each breath.
  • Your child turns blue.
  • Your child becomes confused or very sleepy.

    The Safety of Our Care

    CHKD Health System established a Coronavirus committee that meets daily to identify precautions we can take to keep our setting as safe as possible for our patients and families during the Coronavirus pandemic. Among the actions we’ve taken are the following:

    • We have instituted travel restrictions and reporting policies for travel outside of CHKD’s service area for all staff members.
    • We have cancelled or postponed events, tours, and meetings to promote social distancing.
    • We have relaxed absenteeism policies for sick employees to encourage anyone with symptoms to stay home.
    • We have communicated through multiple channels with families to please notify us before coming to any scheduled appointment if their child develops a fever and cough.
    • We are limiting hospital and surgery visitors to two parents or caregivers and encouraging families to limit the number of people who accompany children to outpatient appointments.
    • We have redesigned our registration process to immediately identify any patients who have Coronavirus symptoms, so we can take steps to minimize the risk of exposure to other patients and families. 
    • As always, we are requiring adherence to our hand hygiene and environmental cleanliness standards.
    • We are monitoring all Coronavirus reports and working with our campus, regional, state and national partners on additional steps we should take to provide the care children need during this unprecedented pandemic.

    As information evolves, we will keep you updated here. Please check back for updates.

    Additional Resources from CHKD, CDC and VDH

    Helping Kids Cope During the Coronavirus Outbreak

    Parents are the most important resource for children every day, but especially in stressful situations. Parents and caregivers may wonder what’s the best way to emotionally support a child during the COVID-19 outbreak. In this interview on 13News Now - WVEC, Dr. Mary Margaret Mary Margaret Gleason, a pediatrician and child psychiatrist at CHKD, shares tips to help you and your family cope during these difficult times.

    Coronavirus: What parents need to know about COVID-19

    At CHKD, we’re committed to protecting the health of our patients, families, visitors, and staff. Right now, that includes the potential risk of coronavirus 2019, known as COVID-19.

    Virginia now has confirmed cases of COVID-19. As with all infectious disease outbreaks, we have taken special steps to prepare for the possibility that children may come down with COVID-19. We are confident in our ability to treat patients with this or any infectious disease, while keeping others safe.

    The Virginia Department of Health is monitoring for COVID-19 and will notify the public of positive results. Visit the Virginia Department of Health's website for more details.

    Is there any information on COVID-19 that is specific to children?

    The COVID-19 outbreak hasn’t been affecting children at the same rate as adults. At this time, reported infections among children are remarkably low.

    • The overwhelming majority of confirmed cases have been adults, and most have had only mild symptoms.
    • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the limited reports of children who had been affected, most had only mild symptoms such as runny nose, fever and cough.

    Are there any special steps I should take to protect myself and my family?

    Experts believe that COVID-19 spreads similarly to the flu through close person-to-person contact, including exposure to coughing and sneezing. So, our advice for staying healthy during this outbreak is the same practical advice we use for cold and flu season.

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Make sure your child does, too.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home if you believe you are sick.
    • Avoid touching your face, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
    • As always, talk to your pediatrician about any symptoms or questions.

    What if my child is sick, and I’m concerned they might have COVID-19?

    If your child has a fever and a cough and has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 or has traveled to a region where the disease has spread, call your healthcare provider before seeking medical attention. If necessary, your provider will take steps to safely evaluate your child while keeping others from being exposed.

    COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics will not help. Antiviral medications have not proven effective. Your pediatrician will probably prescribe rest, plenty of fluids, and supportive care of specific symptoms.

    People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19

    The CDC has prepared information for groups that are at high risk of more severe illness with COVID-19. Their list of high-risk individuals includes older adults and people of all ages who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. While the CDC specifically addresses their tips to adults, they may also be helpful to families of children with chronic conditions, as well as those who are undergoing treatments that weaken their immune systems. Learn more about high risk complications from the CDC here.

    Is there anything else I should know?

    Coronaviruses are not new. They are part of a large family of viruses that are common in people and animals. Chances are that you’ve had a coronavirus infection in the past but just called it a cold. Coronaviruses can infect the respiratory tract and cause symptoms like a runny nose, cough, sore throat, and fever. There are six different coronaviruses that can infect humans, and most often the symptoms are mild to moderate and last for just a few days. So, keep in mind, it’s possible for someone you know to have a common coronavirus that is not COVID-19. For more information about coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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