COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Medical Information About COVID-19

What Is the New Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are common causes of colds and respiratory tract infections. At the end of 2019, a new type of coronavirus began making people sick in China. You might hear the virus called 2019-nCoV, novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

What Are the Signs & Symptoms of the New Coronavirus?
The coronavirus causes a fever, cough, and trouble breathing. Symptoms are a bit like those people have with a cold or the flu. The virus can be more serious in some people, especially if they are sick or have health problems.

How Does the New Coronavirus Spread?
Experts are still investigating how the new coronavirus spreads. In general, coronaviruses spread through droplets sent into the air when people cough or sneeze. Some people who became sick with the new coronavirus lived with others who had the virus.

Is the New Coronavirus Dangerous to Children?
Experts are still learning about this new virus, so we don't have a lot of information about it yet. But it seems to cause a milder infection in children than in adults or older people.

Call your doctor if your child:

  • Is ill and has traveled internationally.
  • Had contact with someone thought to have the new coronavirus within the past 14 days.

Right now, measles and the flu are bigger problems for children than the coronavirus. Make sure your child is vaccinated against both of these. It's not too late to get a flu shot!

Does Children's Conduct Tests For the Coronavirus?
Children's is only conducting coronavirus (COVID-19) testing on any child who is an inpatient and is showing symptoms of a possible coronavirus infection. Children's is not a community test site for the general public. In the event a test is ordered for an inpatient in our care, the charge for this test is typically $232.50.

How Is the New Coronavirus Treated?
Most people with the coronavirus, including children, do not have serious problems. After talking to a doctor, most get better with rest and fluids. People who are very ill get care in a hospital with breathing help, IV fluids, and other treatments.

How Can I Protect Myself From the New Coronavirus?
As with other viruses, the best ways to protect yourself and your family are:

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Wash your hands well and often. Wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Teach your kids to do the same.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth if you haven't washed your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that people touch a lot.

Antibiotics can't treat viruses so they won't help with the coronavirus. Medicines for the flu don't work either because the coronavirus is different from the flu virus.

Experts around the world are studying and tracking the new coronavirus. Countries like the United States are taking steps to prevent it from spreading. This means identifying people who have the virus and anyone they come into contact with.

Reduce Your Risk of Coronavirus Infection – Infographic (PDF)

I think my child has COVID-19. What should I do?
Please contact your child’s primary care physician first. Do NOT report to the Emergency Department unless specifically asked to by your child’s physician.


Where Can I Learn More About the New Coronavirus?


Children’s of Alabama’s Response


Medical Records

Effective Monday 3/30/2020 Health Information Management (Medical Records) will be closed to the public until further notice. We are taking these measures in an effort to protect you, our patients, and our staff during the corona virus event. We will continue to process requests for medical record copies – please follow these instructions.

Visitation and Appointments

Can I visit/stay with my child while they are in the hospital?
Yes. Please refer to policy below:

For Inpatients and Surgery:

  • Visitors are limited to two (2) parents/caregivers at this time.
  • No other visitors, including siblings, will be allowed.
  • Please do not visit if you have flu-like symptoms and/or cough, fever, and/or shortness of breath, runny nose/nasal congestion or sore throat.

For Outpatient Clinic and Emergency Department visits:

  • One (2) parent/caregiver is allowed to bring the child.
  • No other visitors, including siblings, will be allowed.
  • If your child is ill, please call before arrival for additional instructions.

If my child tests positive, or is waiting for their test results for COVID-19 and is hospitalized, can I stay with them? 
Children’s has implemented new visitation restrictions for patients testing positive for COVID-19 and patients under investigation (PUI). One parent/caregiver is allowed to quarantine with the patient in their room. The parent/caregiver must stay in room at all times and must also wear a mask. If the parent/caregiver leaves the hospital, they must be escorted by Security.  

Is my child’s inpatient/outpatient/surgery appointment canceled/rescheduled?
Physicians and nurse practitioners are contacting scheduled patients to help decide who must be seen and who can be deferred. Chemotherapy, biologic therapy and critical follow up is occurring. We are providing telephone advice/telemedicine to those patients who are deferred.

We are enacting the following to limit activity:

  1. Most elective/non-urgent specialty clinic visits are either being deferred or converted to telehealth visits.
  2. All elective/non-urgent surgeries are being deferred until a later time.
  3. Routine new patient visits will not be scheduled at this time.


How is Children’s screening visitors to campus for COVID-19 symptoms?
Children's of Alabama is screening all parents/caregivers and any others who enter campus facilities. This process includes temperature and screening questions. Please view the current procedures. Children's of Alabama COVID-19 Screening Process (PDF)


When does Children’s of Alabama expect to resume “normal” operations?
Children’s of Alabama is working with local, state and federal officials to monitor the pandemic closely. We will continue to monitor and revisit as this situation changes. We will announce changes as they occur on this website, through our social channels and in conjunction with local and state news outlets.



Does Children's Conduct Tests For the Coronavirus?
Children's is conducting coronavirus (COVID-19) testing on any child who is an inpatient. Additionally, some children are getting a pre-surgical testing for COVID-19. This is dependent on their surgical provider. Children's is not a community test site for the general public. In the event a test is ordered for an inpatient in our care, the charge for this test is typically $232.50.