What is COVID-19?

Our facility is under visitor restriction

Out of an abundance of caution, only one visitor (must be a family member) is allowed to visit per patient. If a family member or visitor is sick, we ask that they not visit their loved one in the hospital. Ill visitors will not be allowed in our facilities.

[Updated: March 18, 2020] 

The new coronavirus, first identified in China in December 2019, has caused a pandemic of respiratory illness that the World Health Organization named COVID-19 in February 2020. Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause the common cold or more severe diseases such as SARS and MERS. This illness is spreading much like the flu and is causing severe breathing problems in some people. 

The situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic is new territory for all of us, and there's a lot of information out there to read. But, it's especially important during this time to keep communication between you and your kids open so that they don't feel left out.

Learn more about how to talk to your child about COVID-19

How does it spread?

Similar to how the flu is spread, COVID-19 usually spreads from close person-to-person contact (within about 6 feet) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus may also spread when droplets remain in the air or land on surfaces people touch.

What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 reported are:

  • Fever (101°F or higher)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Other flu-like symptoms

What is the treatment?

Currently, there is no specific treatment for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

Will There Be Changes to Existing and Future Appointments?

Children’s is working closely with national and local health agencies to protect and care for our patients, families and staff. As part of our standard infection prevention practices, we have put plans in place to identify and limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Our priority is to do no harm and protect our patients.

The latest national public health and government guidelines recommend that all non-urgent patient care be placed on hold. This allows clinics and hospitals to focus staff and supplies on urgent needs. This is also in keeping with the need to decrease community interactions to help slow the spread of the virus.

Effective immediately, we are rescheduling all non-urgent clinic visits and procedures. Our providers are reviewing clinic appointments that can be safely postponed with patient well-being in mind.

The following Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s appointments will continue:

  • Patients actively receiving treatment or evaluation that must take place in the clinic or hospital
  • Scheduled treatment or evaluation that cannot safely be delayed
  • A new, urgent need for treatment or evaluation 

All other visits will be delayed until we can safely restart normal scheduling. Our team will reach out to you to reschedule soon.

We understand that canceling appointments will have a major impact on the lives of our patients and families. Know the safety of our patients and community is our most important concern and we deeply appreciate your patience and understanding during this public health emergency. If you have question or concerns about delays in clinic appointments, contact the nurse advice line at your respective campus.

How Can I Protect My Child?

Everyone can do their part to help prevent the spread of illness. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus by staying home as much as possible. Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often (especially before eating and after using the bathroom) for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when coughing and sneezing.
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces, such as counters, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, phones and tablets, with a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Get a flu shot.

For more information on how to protect higher risk individuals, please visit the CDC website If You Are at Higher Risk page.

When and Where Can I get Tested?

The recommendations on who should be tested has been changing as additional information becomes available. As of today, only the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Georgia Department of Public Health can test for COVID-19. Testing is recommended based on specific criteria which can be discussed with your medical team.

Is My Child at Risk?

As with other viruses, it is possible that patients receiving chemotherapy or immune-suppressive therapy, patient's undergoing BMT, or patients with sickle cell disease are at higher risk and could develop a more severe infection than healthy children. The best defense against COVID-19 and all respiratory infections is to focus on hand hygiene, cover coughs and sneezes, and staying at home as much as possible.

For more information on how to protect higher risk individuals, please visit the CDC website If You Are at Higher Risk page.

Should I Avoid Travel?

Oncology and immunosuppressed patients:

Like all people, oncology and immunosuppressed patients should follow travel advisories issued by government bodies and health authorities. The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center recommends postponing any travel by cruise ship and nonessential air travel, particularly to countries where access to medical care may be limited or is prohibited by the CDC. Updated recommendations can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

General hematology and sickle cell disease patients:

Like all people, children with sickle cell disease or other blood disorders should follow travel advisories issued by government bodies and health authorities. The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center recommends postponing any travel by cruise ship and nonessential air travel, particularly to countries where access to medical care may be limited or is prohibited by the CDC. Updated recommendations can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Blood and marrow transplant patients:

The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center recommends that all active BMT patients should continue to follow their current recommended post-transplant isolation guidelines. In addition, we also highly suggest that patients’ immediate household contacts should postpone any travel by cruise ship and non-essential air travel to areas that are considered high risk. Updated recommendations can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Can My Child Go To School?

Many schools are currently closed in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community. If your child’s school is open, the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center recommends that patients with sickle cell disease, are immunocompromised, on active chemotherapy treatments, or are active BMT patients stay home as much as possible. We also recommend continuing to monitor recommendations from government agencies and health authorities. We will continue to provide supporting medical documentation that may be required by the school system. For more information, please visit the CDC website If You Are at Higher Risk page.

Contact Us

Call the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center on-call number and your disease-based nurse call line at your respective campus immediately if your child has a fever or shortness of breath.

  • Egleston hospital: 404-785-1200
  • Scottish Rite hospital: 404-785-3240
  • Hughes Spalding hospital: 404-785-9800

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