COVID-19: Important Information for Pediatricians

March 18, 2020
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In the following novel coronavirus round up, we provide answers to some FAQs and links to a wide variety of resources for health care providers and families.

COVID-19 is here. And as health systems across the country prepare, providers may have a lot of questions. Out in the community, parents and families may feel overwhelmed at all the (rapidly changing) information they are receiving.

We’ll be updating this article regularly with updated information, expert advice from our Chief Epidemiologist Matthew Washam, MD, MPH, and links to resources for your families.

Nationwide Children’s has established a COVID-19  Physician Information Line for your additional questions. Providers can access this line by calling (614) 722-2009. The line is staffed by APNs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

More information for providers can be found here



What is the recommended protocol for getting patients tested for COVID-19? Should we send anyone with a fever, cough and shortness of breath to the emergency department?

Patients with severe symptoms who are having difficulty breathing should go to the emergency department. Caregivers and providers should try to call ahead to let emergency departments know a potential COVID-19 emergent case is coming.

For families who have access to testing centers, such as the drive-thru COVID-19 testing center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, contact the institution for details about requirements for drive-thru testing. At Nationwide Children’s, testing is available only for individuals with a physician’s order for the test.

Click here or full details about pre-screening and COVID-19 testing.


When should we have patients come in for a sick visit in a primary care office vs asking them to stay home?

Health care providers should consult their local and state public health authorities to obtain guidance on managing patients who may have COVID-19. The CDC website has the most current information about COVID-19, including home isolation instructions.


What are some recommended actions I can take to make my practice’s waiting area as safe as possible?

Many of the actions that offices take during a bad flu season will help, such as removing toys, separating sick and well children, and increasing cleaning frequency. Additional steps to consider include:

  • No cell phone use in clinical areas by patients or staff
  • Separating sick and well visits by time of day (well in the morning, sick in the afternoon)
  • Giving masks to patients with cough and fever
  • Educational on-hold messaging for phones
  • Updated education website messaging
  • Increasing the number of hand sanitizer stations


Resources for Families

700 Children’s Blog Post: How to Talk to Your Kids About COVID-19 

700 Children’s Blog Post: How to Deal With School Closings and Cancelled Plans

700 Children’s Blog Post: What Parents Need to Know About Coronavirus

Pediacast Podcast: Coronavirus (COVID-19): What You Need to Know

Nationwide Children’s Hospital: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Information for Patient Families

Q & A video with Matt Washam, MD, MPH