What to know about COVID-19
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta recognizes that the unknowns of SARS-CoV2, the novel coronavirus causing the COVID-19 disease, are causing concern with your patients and others in our community. Because of its novelty—and out of an abundance of caution—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended airborne and contact precautions for diagnostic testing procedures; however, each of us is equipped to manage the transmission of this disease like any other respiratory virus.
In the event that a child presents with a known or suspected COVID-19 infection, Children's is prepared to support the diagnosis and management of children according to CDC guidelines.
Children's is managing our supplies to help make sure we are prepared to care for this and other airborne and contact diseases. We are not offering fit testing for community specialists at this time. Community specialists can purchase fit testing kits and masks for their own practices.
Children's will update this page as we receive information.
Currently, due to limited availability of COVID-19 specimen collection kits, Children's is not launching a specimen collection site in the community. Given nationally limited supplies of test kits, limited capacity to process specimens and the utility of test results in guiding care, we reserve diagnostic testing only for medically complex or severely ill children who are in the hospital. Children's follows a set of standard evaluation guidelines that aligns with those developed by the Georgia Department of Public Health to prioritize diagnostic testing.
Travel and exposure guidelines, as outlined by the CDC, are being used to guide appropriate testing. While clinicians may recommend that a child be tested for COVID-19 infection, the decision will ultimately be made by our public health partners.
If you are caring for a child who you feel meets the need for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, call the Georgia Department of Public Health (GDPH) at 1-866-PUB-HLTH (1-866-782-4584) and follow the prompts for testing guidance. Do not refer a patient to a Children's facility for COVID-19 testing unless instructed to do so by GDPH. Prior to sending a patient to any clinical facility, it is critical to alert the facility about the suspicion of COVID-19 so that appropriate infection prevention precautions can be taken to prevent potential exposures. In addition, provide the child and accompanying family members with a mask.
If GDPH recommends diagnostic testing, call the Children's Transfer Center at 404-785-7778 to discuss with an infection prevention team member.
If you are providing care for a child who has fever or cough or shortness of breath and requires Urgent Care Center or Emergency Department evaluation, call the Children's Transfer Center at 404-785-7778 to notify them of the planned referral to Children's for clinical care. Be sure to describe the concern for COVID-19 infection.
This interim guidance is subject to change based on an evolving situation.
In addition to standard precautions, based on the transmission of COVID-19, contact + droplet + standard isolation precautions (procedure mask, gown, gloves and eye protection) may be used for care of patients with any respiratory illness, including suspected COVID-19 infections in emergency departments, urgent care centers and ambulatory sites. If an aerosol-generating procedure (collection of a respiratory specimen or intubation) is indicated, clinicians should ideally replace their procedure masks with fitted N-95 respirators, if available, and the procedure should be performed in a negative-pressure airborne infection isolation room (AIIR), when feasible. The CDC has provided recommendations for infection prevention and control.
Children's has reviewed travel recommendations from the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) and continues to evaluate our recommendations related to meetings, particularly those that require travel. Currently, Children's is recommending suspending all nonessential international business travel and asking employees to carefully consider attendance at large meetings or conferences domestically.
Children’s hosted COVID-19 webinars with key Children's experts to clarify current messaging and address questions from community physicians. The panelists included:
- Dan Salinas, MD
Chief Medical Officer
- Jim Fortenberry, MD
Chief Physician Officer
- Renee Watson, MSN, RNC, CIC, CPHQ, CPPS
Senior Director-Quality and Patient Safety
Infection Prevention and Control Officer
- Andi Shane, MD, MPH, MS
System Medical Director, Infectious Disease
- Matt Linam, MD
Infectious Disease Physician
- Robert Jerris, PhD
Clinical Microbiology Director
- March 11 (password: 3PqcpbbJ)
- March 12 (password: FpHBfus7)
- March 25 (password: FpxfB8md)
- April 1 (password: ZmcTY5DB)
Medical management resources
- Updated March 30: diagnostic testing guidance
- Evaluating and reporting guidance (CDC)
- Guidance risk assessment (CDC)
- COVID-19 update, isolation precautions and PPE use and conservation
- Special considerations for resuscitation
- Special considerations for intubation (enhanced contact droplet precautions)
- Respiratory care for patients in enhanced contact droplet isolation
- Managing blood supply
Resources for parents and families
- Preventing spread in communities (CDC)
- Patient and family messaging
- COVID-19 Pediatric Assessment Tool
Additional physician resources
- FAQs for physicians: updated as of Friday, April 3
- The Children's Care Network COVID-19 Resource Hub for community physicians
- Access the employee Careforce Connection COVID-19 Hub on the Children's network or through the Children's Application Portal. Refer to choa.org/staff for additional guidance for accessing the Children's Application Portal or adding Citrix Receiver to a Mac computer.
COVID-19 Daily Update for Physicians
- Children's Physician Group MD Update: Children's postpones elective appointments to Friday, April 10
- Surgibytes: Elective surgery postponement, surgery virtual town hall on Tuesday, March 31
- Children's Physician Group MD Update: Telemedicine, time-off and employee screening
Please direct all questions from journalists to our media relations team at 404-570-9717.