COVID-19 for Physicians

What to know about COVID-19

As public health agencies closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it is important to be informed and stay updated.

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.

Diagnostic Testing

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.

Isolation Precautions

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.

Travel Guidance

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.

Webinars

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

Webinar Recordings:

Medical management resources

Resources for parents and families

Additional physician resources

COVID-19 Daily Update for Physicians

Recent communications

Media inquiries

Please direct all questions from journalists to our media relations team at 404-570-9717.