I’m worried my child might have coronavirus/COVID-19. What should I do?

If you’re concerned your child might have COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, here are the steps you should take.

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Though coronavirus/COVID-19 cases have been confirmed mostly in adults, kids are still susceptible to the virus. Norton Children’s Hospital is receiving many calls from concerned parents and caregivers. If you’re concerned your child might have COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, here are the steps you should take:

  • Do not go to the emergency room unless your child is having an emergency that puts his or her life in danger. Emergency situations include difficulty breathing, a high fever that doesn’t go away, or if your child has an underlying health condition.
  • Unless your child’s symptoms would have led you to go to the doctor under “normal” circumstances, it’s best for you to stay at home.
  • If you feel your child needs to be seen, the safest option for containing the spread of any virus is to access Norton eCare for a virtual office visit from your mobile phone or computer for children ages 2 and older. Sign in to MyNortonChart to get started. If you don’t have a MyNortonChart account, sign up at NortonHealthcare.com/MyNortonChart. Norton eCare providers will be able to determine the right treatment plan for your child.
  • If you feel your child needs to be seen right away, you can visit a Norton Immediate Care Center, Norton Prompt Care at Walgreens location or your pediatrician. You can make an appointment online, but be sure to call ahead to tell the staff about recent travel and symptoms. They will guide you on the appropriate next steps.
  • If you feel your child’s life is in danger or they’re having extreme difficulty breathing, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. If you think your child has COVID-19, be sure to tell the 911 operator. This helps the ambulance team plan accordingly and let the emergency room staff know about your concerns right away.

Testing children for COVID-19

Unlike for the flu, your child’s pediatrician cannot automatically test for COVID-19. The decision of whether or not to administer the test is not driven by the individual feeling ill. It’s based on criteria provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in consultation with an infectious disease specialist.

Depending on your child’s symptoms and travel history, the doctor may ask you to take your child to an off-site testing facility. If symptoms are severe enough, they may tell you to visit an emergency room. This is why calling ahead is so important.

COVID-19 questions

If you have general questions about COVID-19, you can call Kentucky’s hotline at (800) 722-5725, option 5.