Coronavirus FAQs

UPDATE: Starting March 16, 2020, there are new rules and restrictions for patients and visitors at all Connecticut Children’s locations. Before you visit, read about rules and restrictions

There’s a lot of information out there about the current outbreak of coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19.

To help our patients, families and communities get answers to their questions, Connecticut Children’s Physician-in-Chief Juan C. Salazar, MD, MPH, joins the blog.

Please note: What we know about this disease is rapidly evolving. For the latest information and advice, refer to the CDC >>

What is Connecticut Children’s doing to respond to coronavirus?

We’re taking appropriate steps to protect you and prevent the spread of illness, including new rules and screening protocols for visitors, mandatory masks for all team members, and Video Visits for most specialties including primary care. We also launched a Pediatric COVID-19 Hotline for the community, available 24/7 at 833.226.2362.

If you’re coming to Connecticut Children’s for care, please call ahead to let our team know about any coronavirus symptoms.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Coronavirus symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In milder cases, it can present like a common cold and may include diarrhea and gastroenteritis symptoms.

How is this coronavirus outbreak affecting children?

While some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases to date. Most children with confirmed COVID-19 experienced mild symptoms, similar to a common cold, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported.

Is your child receiving immunosuppressant medication? Download this info sheet, especially for them.

In late April, some health systems in the U.S. and U.K. began reporting cases of a mysterious inflammatory illness in kids, which may be linked to coronavirus. Many of the symptoms look like other typical childhood illnesses, and vary from child to child. The new illness appears to be rare, but it can be serious if left untreated.

Call a doctor immediately if your child has:

  • High, prolonged fever: temperature of 101 degrees or more for more than three days
  • Difficulty feeding (infants) or is too sick to drink fluids
  • Severe abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting
  • Cracked lips
  • Reddish eyes (similar to pinkeye)
  • Rash
  • Swollen glands/lymph nodes
  • Change in skin color (becoming pale, patchy and/or blue)
  • Racing heart or chest pain
  • Decreased amount or frequency of urine
  • Lethargy, irritability or confusion

Learn more here.

What if my child has coronavirus symptoms?

Keep them home and away from others as much as possible, and contact your pediatrician for medical advice. You can call Connecticut Children’s COVID-19 Hotline, available 24/7, at 833.226.2362. Our clinicians are available to answer your coronavirus questions, and if appropriate, can help you schedule a Video Visit with one of our pediatric experts.

How does coronavirus spread? How can we avoid it?

For the most part, coronavirus seems to spread by respiratory droplets. When an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks at close range (six feet or closer), they may produce droplets that can land in your eyes, nose or mouth. Coronavirus can also spread if an infected person coughs or sneezes on a surface that you then touch, because you may accidentally transfer infected droplets from the surface into your eyes, nose or mouth.

Once a person has been infected, it takes several days for symptoms to appear – and many people experience such mild symptoms they never feel sick. So it’s important to remember that even someone who appears healthy may be contagious.

> Want help getting your family through COVID-19? Check out our School Closure Kit

How can I prevent coronavirus?

  • Wash hands often and well: Wash with soap and water for 20 seconds, the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. (If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.)
  • Avoid sick people, and don’t leave home if you’re feeling sick, even for essentials. (If you need groceries or a prescription, have another family member drop them off, or order them for delivery to your doorstep.)
  • Regularly clean household surfaces that get a lot of contact.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Follow local executive orders to stay home and limit your contact to family members who live in the same household. If you must be out in a public place – for example, grocery shopping for essentials – keep at least six feet of space between you and other people.

Should my family wear face masks?

  • It’s a good idea to wear a mask in public settings, especially in places where it’s hard to guarantee six feet of personal space (like the grocery store or a doctor’s waiting room). You can find tips on making your own cloth mask at cdc.gov/covid19.
  • Please use a cloth/handmade mask, rather than purchasing a medical-grade mask. This will ensure that the critical supply of medical masks remains available for healthcare workers, who need them due to their prolonged, close interactions with potentially sick people. If you are visiting Connecticut Children’s, you may bring your own cloth masks for you and your child, or we will be happy to provide cloth masks for you to keep for laundering and reuse.
  • Note: Masks should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • Keep in mind: While masks may provide additional protection from coronavirus, the most important prevention methods are social distancing and the hygiene steps listed above.

Should my family change their travel plans?

Yes. Travel right now can expose your family to coronavirus, and contribute to its spread. The CDC has urged residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut not to travel, globally or domestically, effective March 28, 2020. For more information, visit cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers.

Where can we find more information?

  • Call Connecticut Children’s Pediatric COVID-19 Hotline at 833.226.2362. The hotline is staffed by our healthcare professionals and available 24/7.
  • For the latest information about Connecticut, call 211, text CTCOVID to 898211, or visit ct.gov/coronavirus
  • We’re working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the nation’s leading public health institute. We recommend their website for the latest news and advice from public health experts: cdc.gov/coronavirus

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