Answers to some common questions about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the steps we’re taking to protect your family’s well-being in our facilities
When Your Child Needs Care
Your family’s health and well-being are always our priority, and that’s true especially now. We know that while every family is facing their own unique challenges right now, it’s important to all of us that our children continue to receive the care they need during this time. We’ve taken extra steps to protect the health and well-being of our patients and visitors in our clinics, hospital and Emergency Center.
As we continue to see new confirmed cases in Florida, many families may have questions about COVID-19 and may have concerns about bringing their children in for care.
On this page you’ll find key information and answers to common questions about COVID-19, as well as information about the extra steps we’re taking to ensure your family’s well-being while your children get the care they need.
Johns Hopkins Medicine also has set up a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) website with important information for the public.
Important notices for our patient families:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends a COVID-19 vaccine and boost for children ages 6 months and older. Johns Hopkins Medicine encourages all families to have eligible children vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital offers pediatric COVID-19 vaccination appointments for existing patients in our general pediatrics clinics in St. Petersburg and Sarasota, as well as some inpatients. These appointments will be limited and must be scheduled in advance. Please note, Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital is not a public COVID-19 vaccination site.
Retail pharmacies and local and state vaccination sites also offer appointments. Some locations may offer walk-up vaccination times. We encourage parents and adolescents to utilize all available resources to obtain access to COVID-19 vaccinations.
For additional vaccine information and appointments available, visit these county resources:
Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work and other common questions about the vaccines.
Visitation Policy Notice
For the health and safety of our patients while COVID-19 is present in Florida, we are limiting visitors.
Please note that all visitors and staff must wear a mask while on campus. A mask will be provided to visitors who do not have one. We appreciate your understanding and flexibility as we work to protect our patients, families and community.
- Patients may have two adult care partners with them at a time. Care partners may rotate and stay overnight.
- During visiting hours, siblings under 18 years old are permitted if accompanied by an adult. Patients may have a maximum of two adults and two siblings, or one adult and three siblings, with them at a time.
- Visiting guidelines for COVID-19 positive patients and patients in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) may vary. Please check with your child’s care team.
Pediatric Outpatient Care, Emergency Center and Surgery Settings:
- Patients may have two care partners with them. Care partners can be two adults, or one adult and one sibling.
Adult Outpatient Care (including OB-GYN):
- Patients may have one care partner per visit.
- Breastfeeding infants under 8 months may accompany their mother.
This policy is evaluated weekly, based on the prevalence of COVID-19 cases in the state and region.
In order to protect our children, please do not visit if you are sick. Germs can be spread by direct human touch or by air. We encourage you to stay at home if you have symptoms of sneezing, coughing, fever, or any other symptom common to a cold, flu or other virus.
For more information about our overall visitor policies, including what to do if you have concerns about the visitor policy, as well as information on things like directions and parking, please see our Visitor Information page.
For more information, consult the full text of our Hospital Visitation policy.
At this time, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital is NOT a community testing site for COVID-19. As always, our Emergency Center remains open for emergency medical needs for children. We recommend that any patient experiencing COVID-19 symptoms first contact their primary physician before arriving to the Emergency Center. We are only testing symptomatic patients, inpatients and those coming in for surgery. We are NOT testing pediatric or adult patients without symptoms at this time and encourage families to seek out the below county resources for testing:
Learn more about the extra precautions you can expect to see when you bring your child to his or her appointment, and the services available.
As our team continues to provide children with the care they need – including elective surgeries, follow-up care and new patient appointments in our clinics, and emergency care in the Emergency Center – we have taken a number of steps to protect you and your family's well-being in our facilities:
- We screen all patients ahead of time and direct those with COVID-19 symptoms to the Emergency Center when appropriate.
- Patients who have or may have COVID-19 symptoms are treated in separate areas, away from others.
- Well children and those who need vaccinations are treated in separate areas from sick children.
- If your child is to be admitted to the hospital, he or she will be tested for COVID-19 as part of admission. Patients scheduled for non-emergent surgeries are also tested ahead of time.
- All visitors and children age 3 and older are required to wear a mask while on our campuses. If you or your child do not have a mask when you arrive, we will provide you with one.
- Seating in waiting areas has been moved or limited so that everyone can follow social and physical distancing guidelines.
- You can expect reduced wait times, and when possible, you’ll be taken directly to an exam room.
- Capacity on elevators is also limited, with designated places to stand, so you can safely get to where you need to go.
- You’ll also find hand sanitizer dispensers throughout our facilities.
- We screen all staff for COVID-19 daily, and they are required to wear masks and maintain physical distance. In addition to wearing masks, any providers who are caring for your child will be wearing additional personal protective equipment, like face shields.
- Surfaces are cleaned frequently to our infection prevention standards, and all exam rooms and areas are cleaned thoroughly after each patient.
On Call for All Kids: What to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine for 5 to 11 Year-Olds
Watch our interview with Allison Messina, M.D., chief of the Division of Infectious Disease and medical director of Infection Prevention at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, for more information about the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11.
Answers to some common questions about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how we’re prepared to care for your family during this time:
What are the symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) symptoms can be similar to other respiratory virus symptoms such as the flu. Symptoms appearing 2-14 days after exposure can include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Nausea or vomiting
- Congestion or runny nose
What should I do if I suspect my child or I have symptoms?
The symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu and most other respiratory viruses. People should call their doctor if they have the symptoms listed above. Tell your doctor if you have had contact with anyone known to have the COVID-19 virus.
If your doctor recommends that you visit a local emergency center, call ahead so the team at the hospital can prepare for your arrival. It’s important to know that, at this time, there are a limited number of testing sites available. You can find more information on testing resources from your county health department; for example, a list of testing sites in Hillsborough County is available here, and a list of testing sites in Pinellas County is available here.
Keep in mind that so far, most infections in children have been mild but the CDC has answers to many questions about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and children.
How can I prevent viruses?
Clean your hands and high-touch surfaces in your home frequently. When using soap and water, use enough soap to lather the front and back of both hands and in between the fingers while cleaning under running water. To clean your hands effectively, it should take at least 20 seconds, which is similar to singing the ABC song at a normal tempo or the happy birthday song twice. If using hand sanitizer, use enough so that it takes at least 15 seconds before both sides of both hands are completely dry.
Wearing a mask is encouraged if you plan to be out in public or are around anyone who is not a member of your immediate family or household. Practicing physical distancing when possible is also recommended. Physical distancing means keeping at least 6 feet of space between you and others not from your household when you are in both indoor and outdoor spaces. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, stay home.
Should I be concerned about leaving home?
People are encouraged to limit the number of people they see in person, to keep a safe physical distance from others and to work remotely when possible.
Regardless of the destination, it is appropriate to teach and monitor good handwashing among all members of your family, especially before eating, drinking or touching your face. Have hand sanitizer readily available at all times, and do not forget to use it frequently and correctly.
How is the hospital prepared?
The Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital infection prevention team is closely monitoring the situation daily and working with Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, as well as following guidance from the CDC. We are actively screening patients for symptoms and travel according to CDC guidelines. Our staff is trained in infection prevention and safety procedures and we are in communication with local emergency management officials on our preparation. We have also modified our clinical treatment areas to provide a safe place to isolate and treat patients presenting with symptoms of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Is the hospital performing elective surgeries and procedures?
Yes. Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital resumed non-emergent surgeries and procedures on May 4, 2020. We have several measures in place to ensure the safety of our patients, families and staff, including testing all patients for COVID-19 before their surgery. Click here for more information about the types of COVID-19 tests accepted by Johns Hopkins All Children's (en Español).
Any pre-operative patients who test positive will have their surgeries rescheduled and will receive the necessary treatment. We will also continue limiting visitors and screening visitors and staff coming on to our campus.
Where will patients with COVID-19 be cared for in your hospital?
The current CDC recommendations are for patients who do not have severe illness to quarantine themselves at home. Patients who require hospitalization will be cared for in a designated isolation room away from other patients. Hospital staff in these areas follow infection control practices as outlined by the CDC.
Donations of Supplies: How to help Johns Hopkins All Children’s at this time
Donations of Supplies
We continue to closely monitor personal protective equipment and infection control supplies to ensure our clinical teams have what they need to keep our patients and one another safe. At this time, we are accepting the following items:
- Masks (surgical and N95)
- Face shields/goggles
Please note we will not accept used or opened items.
We are accepting the items above Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. by calling our Child Life department at 727-767-4323.
Donation of Funds
You can also make a donation to support Johns Hopkins All Children’s during this time.
Tips for Wearing A Mask
Some helpful tips on how to properly wear, handle and store a mask, with Kay Sams, BSN, MPH, CIC, FAPIC, infection prevention and control director at Johns Hopkins All Children's.
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