Children’s Hospital New Orleans and LCMC Health, in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Louisiana Office of Public Health, continue to closely monitor an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that was initially detected in Wuhan City, China in December 2019, and has now been detected in many locations internationally, including the United States and New Orleans.
This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation, and the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics are the best sources for timely, accurate information. Communities, schools and businesses are important places to prevent spread of infectious diseases, including this new public health threat.
Seek information from trusted sources:
With the over-abundance of information being shared in the media and on social media, it is important for families to continue to seek up to date information about the outbreak only from trusted sources — including the American Academy of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and local and state health departments.
COVID-19 in Children:
There is no evidence that children are more susceptible to COVID-19. While information is currently limited, there is evidence that children without chronic health problems have a mild and limited course of disease. In fact, most confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported from China have occurred in adults. There is an ongoing investigation to determine more about this outbreak in children. Updates from the CDC specifically for pregnant women and children can be found here.
Everyone can do their part to help prevent the spread of infection!
Even with the first presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 reported in New Orleans, the risk of to the public continues to be low. Remaining calm and encouraging everyone to do their part to help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like the flu and the emerging public health threat of COVID-19 are the most important steps we can take as a community at this time.
- It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and the CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
- Practicing hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of germs. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use antibacterial hand sanitizer!
- Click here for a hand washing “how to” and why it’s important.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue.
- Cleanse and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, including your cell phone!
- Those who are ill are encouraged to stay home from work, school and other populated settings.
Virtual Visits for Kids:
If your family has traveled recently and you are concerned that your child is experiencing symptoms related to those of COVID-19, you can use Children’s Hospital’s virtual care service to get advice from our team of pediatric providers, and take our safety screening over the phone. Early/limited reports suggest that children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms, and though severe complications have been reported, they appear to be uncommon. At this time, testing for COVID-19 is only performed when authorized by the Office of Public Health, and only after other conditions such as the flu have been ruled out and testing is believed necessary by authorities.
Talking to children about the Coronavirus:
As conversations around coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) increase, children may worry about themselves, family, and friends becoming ill with COVID-19.
Parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults can play an important role in helping children make sense of what they hear in a way that is honest, accurate, and minimizes anxiety or fear.
The CDC has created guidance to help adults have conversations with children about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease. Adults should:
- Remain calm and reassuring
- Be available to talk and listen
- Avoid language that may blame others and lead to stigma
- Be mindful of what children see or here on TV or online
- Provide information that is honest and accurate
- Teach children what they can do to reduce the spread of germs
Click here for more information to help with discussions with children from the CDC.
How can I find out more?
- About Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Handwashing FAQs
- What to Do If You Are Sick With Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- American Academy of Pediatrics Updates on COVID-19
- CDC Guidance for Schools that do not have COVID-19 identified in their community
- US Department of Education Resources for Schools