Please note this page is meant to provide general information on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) to families. Below you'll find a list of recommended resources, frequently asked questions and recent news articles related to COVID-19. Because the situation is rapidly evolving, for the most up-to-date information, please continue to refer back to this page or the resources listed below.
For more information about COVID-19, including risk factors and protection measures, please see below.
Coronaviruses belong to a family of viruses that most frequently cause a mild illness like the common cold. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new or novel coronavirus that was not previously known to cause illness in people. This new virus was first identified as the cause of the outbreak that began in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019, and has since spread to a growing number of international locations, including the US. From time to time new coronaviruses emerge and have the potential to cause severe disease and global epidemics. For example, the SARS and MERS viruses are both coronaviruses that previously caused outbreaks of severe respiratory illness around the world. We are learning more about COVID-19 every day, and Lurie Children’s is working closely with public health officials to minimize risks to our patients, families and healthcare workers.
Symptoms of those confirmed to have COVID-19 have generally been mild; this is particularly true in children. Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. While most cases are mild, some patients have had a severe respiratory illnesses. Fewer than 3% of patients have died because of COVID-19, mostly those older than 70 years and those with chronic medical conditions.
Coronaviruses are mostly spread from person-to-person through:
A person may also get infected by touching a surface with the virus on it, and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes before cleaning their hands.
COVID-19 has how been diagnosed all over the world, in more than 100 countries on six (6) continents. Community spread has been identified in several countries in Asia, Europe, Middle East, and North America. The affected countries and CDC travel advisories can be found at: Locations with Confirmed COVID-19 Cases and CDC Travel Notices.
Cases of COVID-19 in the Chicagoland area have been predominantly related to travel and exposure to other cases. However, the risk of coronavirus is increasing in the community in Chicago. This has been the driver for widespread school closures and closing of dine-in restaurants and bars. Please keep in mind that we continue to learn more and more each day, and it is best to find the latest updates by visiting https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
If you have traveled to a high-risk area within the past two weeks, then your risk for COVID-19 is certainly higher. As community transmission (infection becoming more common in the community) is being seen in more areas, additional countries are being identified as high risk.
Currently, there is no vaccine for the virus causing COVID-19. Healthcare officials stress the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Individuals should follow these preventive measures:
Although young healthy people will have a mild illness, infected individuals will spread the disease to others. Social distancing is a practice of generally avoiding large public gatherings to limit either becoming ill or spreading illness to others in the community, some of whom may be at risk for more severe complications of the illness. Social distancing is a proven strategy to limit spread of an epidemic. We recommend that families and children adhere to social distancing as much as possible. We are NOT advocating for strict around-the-clock isolation in your home. If you are well, we encourage you to continue to provide care to yourself, immediate family, and friends/family at higher risk of complications. If you are well, you should feel comfortable going out to get groceries and medicines, and you should consider doing this for those loved ones who cannot do this themselves or who themselves are at risk for COVID-19 complications. Small gatherings in the home with friends and family is safe as along as everyone gathering is well and without symptoms of COVID-19.
The CDC is recommending avoiding non-essential travel to highly affected areas and taking precautions in many other areas. Please refer to CDC’s travel health notices relative to COVID-19 at the following link: CDC Travel Health Notices. While CDC is not restricting travel elsewhere in the US, it is being generally advised to reconsider travel plans to adhere to recommended practices of social distancing as described in the question above. Many hospitals, universities, and corporations have placed restrictions on work related domestic and international travel to help prevent employees from becoming ill.
Individuals who have been infected with COVID-19 will receive supportive care to help manage symptoms. Many treatments are being investigated in research studies but there is not a confirmed COVID-19 treatment at this time. Researchers are actively working on developing a vaccine, but we are at least a year away from a vaccine.
Our number one priority is to keep patients/families, healthcare workers and staff safe. At Lurie Children’s, since 2014, we have had a High Consequence Infectious Diseases (HCID) team that focuses on preparedness efforts for rare diseases. Our HCID team is working around the clock, 7 days a week, to modify our preparedness work.
By taking these steps, we are confident that we can continue to provide safe, effective and compassionate care, even during an infectious diseases outbreak.
If your child is hospitalized at Lurie Children’s, please strictly adhere to our visitor policies as described above. We know that visitors are essential for the patient-family experience, but equally important is yours and your child’s health. Thus, visitors with illness should stay home to prevent spread of illness to our patients and healthcare workers. Please wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when entering the facility.
Our new visitation restriction policy can be found on our website. Learn more.
To control the spread of COVID-19, Lurie Children’s is rescheduling non-urgent patient appointments and non-urgent, elective surgical procedures. Please contact your physician’s office if you have not been contacted or if you have questions.
While we are rescheduling non-essential appointments, your child's health is critical. DO NOT reschedule vaccinations or other appointments that will keep your child well and healthy. Lurie Children's is a safe environment and you should feel comfortable keeping vital appointments.
If you have had contact with someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19, you should:
Your healthcare provider will be able to take the necessary steps to help prevent further spread of the virus prior to your visit.
Generally, COVID-19 is spread through exposure to patients who are sick with COVID-19. Thus, if you were exposed to someone who was exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 but they themselves are not ill, your risk is very low.
Not every person with suspected COVID-19 needs evaluation and testing. Because COVID-19 is relatively mild, most patients won’t need care. Testing is currently limited but testing capacity is expected to increase in the near future. Even when capacity increases, seeking care still may not be necessary for every patient. Because seeking care can increase exposure to other patients and healthcare workers, including those who are at high risk of developing complications. Further, you may be at risk for contracting COVID-19 or other illnesses from other sick patients in waiting rooms. Thus, if your child has a mild illness, please stay home and provide supportive care for your child. Fever can be treated with over the counter medicines, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
If your child does need acute or emergency medical care, it is wise to call ahead to the healthcare facility or physician’s office to safely prepare for your arrival. When entering the facility, those with respiratory symptoms should put on a facemask, if available at the entrance or in the office.