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, have caused concern with your patients and others in our community. 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.

For COVID-19 resources for patients and families, visit our COVID-19 pages for information and updates and testing.

Diagnostic testing

Children’s specimen collection site

Children’s offers an appointment-only, drive-thru specimen collection site for COVID-19 testing at Children’s at Satellite Boulevard. It will be open through May 2021. Patients must have a physician referral to obtain an appointment. Access the order form.

Pre-surgical testing

Patients scheduled for elective aerosol-generating procedures at Children’s will complete a COVID-19 test in Day Surgery upon arrival for surgery. Children’s will contact patients scheduled for pre-surgery testing at an off-site location to inform them that their testing will be completed the day of surgery and that they can cancel their off-site testing appointment.

Exception for patients scheduled for upper GI and colonoscopy:

  • Patients scheduled for upper GI and colonoscopy procedures may have testing completed up to four days before their procedure to avoid unnecessary preparation.
  • These patients may schedule a preanesthesia clinic visit at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Egleston or Scottish Rite hospitals, where the anesthesia advanced practice provider will order the COVID-19 test and collect the specimen to send to the hospital lab.

Alternative testing locations

Patients may also be tested outside of Children’s at one of these alternative COVID-19 testing locations. Note: Children’s provides these testing sites as a recommendation, not an endorsement. We have not yet validated the type of test performed at each site.

Masking

Universal Masking at Children's

To support social distancing guidelines and the health of our patients, families and employees, Children’s requires all patients, staff, visitors and vendors (over 2 years old) to wear masks while in a Children’s facility. Children’s provides employees with the type of mask that is indicated by their work area or the type of care they provide (e.g., N95 mask, procedure mask or cloth mask).

Children’s does not allow employees or visitors to wear neck gaiters, bandanas, scarves, valved or vented masks, or face shields (without a mask) as acceptable face coverings when entering a Children’s facility. Anyone wearing one of these prohibited face coverings at screening will be provided a procedure mask to wear instead.

N95 Masks

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.

Wellness Screening and Travel guidance

Wellness Screening

Children's now requires employees, volunteers, students and contractors entering the Center for Advanced Pediatrics, Egleston, Hughes Spalding, Scottish Rite and the Support Center to follow a revised wellness screening process. Staff should access the Express Symptom Screening Tool from a mobile device prior to arriving at a Children's facility; enter their employee, volunteer, student or Epic ID; and answer our standard screening questions. If a user passes the questionnaire in the Express Symptom Screening Tool, they can proceed to the temperature screening station. Where available, employees and staff should use the new, automated kiosks for temperature screening.

View the Express Symptom Screening Tool tip sheet for step-by-step instructions and guidance on saving the link to a personal mobile device.

Travel Guidance

Based on a reassessment of local COVID-19 epidemiology, policies of partner healthcare systems and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of State, Children's is updating our travel policy to eliminate the need for quarantine following return from any travel. Employee Health guidance now states that if you travel domestically or internationally for any reason, you may return to work at Children's as long as you are asymptomatic, screen negative prior to entry and follow our infection prevention guidelines (i.e. masking, hand hygiene and physical distancing).

If you receive specific guidance from a public health agency requiring a quarantine, follow the individual public health guidance. If you develop symptoms of any illness, you must home isolate, notify your manager and complete the Employee Health Risk Assessment.

As a reminder, employees should avoid non-essential travel when possible to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Those considering travel should refer to updated country-specific travel advisories.

Visit the COVID-19 Hub Employee Health page on Careforce Connection for more information on this guidance and guidance following COVID-19 testing. Contact Employee Health at 404-785-2184 between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., or 404-785-7777 between 4 p.m. and 7 a.m., with questions.

Resources

Researchers Mobilize to Fight COVID-19 Virus

In support of colleagues and friends on the front lines, researchers at Children's and the Emory University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics are working together to fight COVID-19 from the lab. These research projects, most without extramural funding, are contributing to the body of knowledge around the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Read more about the Children's and Emory COVID-19 research efforts.

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:

Additional physician resources