What is COVID-19?

Your safety is our priority

Because the health and safety of our patients, visitors and staff is a priority, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is:

  • Screening all patients and visitors for illness including a temperature check. No sick visitors will be allowed in our facilities.
  • Allowing two caregivers with each patient. No other family or visitors are allowed.
    • Some services within our hospitals continue to have one caregiver limits. These services include hospital radiology and laboratory services, as well as outpatient clinics for transplant, infusion, cancer and blood disorders, and rehabilitation, and our Center for Advanced Technology and Robotic Rehabilitation.
  • Requiring everyone to wear a mask at all times during their visit.
  • Practicing social distancing by staying 6 feet away from other patients and visitors.
  • Enhancing cleaning measures.

[Updated: July 8, 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 Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center is working diligently to identify safe processes to see our patients when and how appropriate. Your child's clinical team will be following recommendations and determining what method is appropriate for your child. Please be aware that the following methods are possibilities for your child's care: 

  • Telemedicine (for example: video conference)

  • Postponed visit

  • Regular in-person visit as scheduled

If you are coming in for an in-person visit, you will notice a few changes that have been implemented to keep you and your family safe. It is very important that you follow these new rules.

  1. Your child may need to get a COVID-19 test prior to your child’s clinic visit or hospital admission. Your child’s nurse will contact you to scheduling testing if needed.

  2. Arrive on time for your appointment. Schedules have been adjusted in order to not overcrowd and maintain social distancing in our waiting rooms and seating areas.

  3. Be prepared for a wellness screening, including temperature check, upon arrival.

  4. Bring a mask from home if possible. A mask is required for everyone on our units at this time. If you do not have a mask, we will supply you with one upon arrival.

  5. Limit visitors to one healthy adult for any clinic or outpatient visit and two healthy adults for hospital admissions.

We understand that these adjustments may impact 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. Although Georgia and other areas are beginning to ease restrictions for the general public, because your child is part of a vulnerable group, you should continue to shelter in place. 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 have 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?

The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center does not advise traveling at this time.

Can My Child Go To School?

The decision for your child to return to school in the fall will be highly individualized and based on many factors, including your child's risk and the precautions your child's school is taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please speak with your child's medical team to discuss your child's individual needs for attending school.

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

Resources