COVID-19 and your child’s health

We know that many parents and carers will be worried about COVID-19 – also known as coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2 –particularly if your child has a long-term health condition.

With the help of our child health specialists, we’ve created this page to share all the information, service updates and advice we have about COVID-19 and what it means for your child’s healthcare in one handy place.

For the latest government guidance about COVID-19, please visit the dedicated Queensland Health and Australian Government web pages.

We’re #InThisTogether and committed to making sure you have all the information you need to keep you and your family safe and well.

Service changes
Latest Updates
Information for families
Service changes
Latest Updates
Information for families


COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus (now identified and officially named SARS-Cov-2) affecting humans. Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold, while others can cause more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). As the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus is still new, we are still learning more about it.
Symptoms reported in identified cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus include:

  • fever
  • a cough
  • sore throat
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath.
The SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus spreads between people, usually when a sick person coughs or sneezes. You might catch novel coronavirus (COVID-19) if someone with the virus sneezes or coughs onto you. You could also catch the virus if they have coughed or sneezed onto a surface (like a door handle) that you touch, getting the droplets on your hands and then transferring them to your mouth, nose or eyes when you touch your face or eat.
There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 infection. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections. However, most of the symptoms can be treated with medical care.

There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus).

Based on what we currently know about coronaviruses, those most at risk of serious infection are:

  • people with compromised immune systems (such as people who have cancer)
  • elderly people
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (as they have higher rates of chronic illness)
  • people with chronic medical conditions
  • people in group residential settings
  • people in detention facilities
If your child is unwell and meets the criteria to be tested for COVID-19 (see below), visit your nearest Emergency Department or Fever Clinic for testing.

If your child does not meet the current criteria but you are worried they are very unwell and needs to see a doctor, make an appointment with your GP or go to your local emergency department. It is important to phone ahead so that the practice or local emergency department can make appropriate preparations and protect other patients. This may include asking you to wear a mask.

It’s important to keep in mind that there are many reasons your child might have symptoms consistent with COVID-19. At this stage in Queensland, for most cases the cause of these symptoms will be the common cold or Influenza.

As of 27 March 2020, people are eligible for COVID-19 testing if they have a fever (or history of fever) or acute respiratory symptoms, and, in the past 14 days:

  • they were a close contact or a household contact of a confirmed case
  • they had been overseas, including on a cruise.

People may also be eligible for testing if they have a fever (or history of fever) or acute respiratory symptoms, and:

  • live in an area where an outbreak has occurred
  • live in a First Nations community.

If your child is unwell and hasn’t been overseas or in contact with a confirmed case, they may not be tested for coronavirus (COVID-19). Your child’s doctor will make this assessment based on your symptoms.

If your child meets the criteria for testing, you should contact a doctor immediately. Before your appointment, please call ahead and advise of your symptoms and recent travel they can prepare for your visit. If you’re visiting your local Emergency Department or Fever Clinic there is no need to call ahead.

Practicing good hand and respiratory hygiene is important to help protect you and your family.

Always remember to:

  • clean your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs. Ensure you wash your hands after going to the toilet or assisting your children to do so.
  • cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
  • avoid contact with anyone who has cold-like symptoms
  • keep your children at home from school or childcare if they are unwell
  • try to stay at least 1.5 metres away from people coughing or sneezing.
As SARS-CoV-2 is a new strain of the coronavirus, there is little information available about the impact it might have on children with complex and chronic medical conditions. However, there are encouraging reports that even children with serious underlying conditions will mostly only experience a mild illness with COVID-19. Severe complications in children are also uncommon. For the best advice for your child and their specific condition, speak to their specialist.
However, existing research shows that immunocompromised children do not experience life-threatening complications from other respiratory viruses such as influenza (the flu). It is hoped that this will also be the case with COVID-19 but until the medical world has more information about COVID-19, it’s important to take the same precautions currently being recommended for elderly people and other vulnerable groups (basic hand and respiratory hygiene practices, social distancing and possibly isolation).

Discus your child’s current level of immunosuppression with their specialist to form the best plan for your child for the coming months.

Yes, it is safe to attend the Queensland Children’s Hospital whether it’s through the Emergency department or for an appointment or planned admission.

However please note, visitor number restrictions have been introduced to protect our patients and staff. Currently, we ask that visitors (including parents and carers) are limited to two per inpatient within a 24-hour period.

For outpatient appointments, we ask that one parent/carer accompanies the patient. If possible, accompanying patient siblings should also be limited.

We acknowledge that there may be situations that will need special consideration and ask that you speak with the nurse unit manager in your ward/area about this.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we ask that people do not visit the hospital if they:

  • have acute flu like or respiratory-illness symptoms;
  • have travelled from an overseas country within the past 14 days;
  • have had contact with anyone confirmed or suspected of having COVID19 until 14 days after the exposure risk; and
  • are in quarantine or self-isolation until 14 days after the exposure risk.

When visiting the hospital, please wash your hands regularly and use the hand sanitiser (red and white bottles) located at the hospital entrances, on most counters, ward entries as well as outpatients and emergency department; practice good respiratory hygiene practices; and observe social distancing guidelines.

If your child has a planned appointment or admission, and is feeling unwell please contact us before arriving at the hospital.

We have made some changes to the way we offer outpatient appointments to ensure we can continue to provide safe and timely care for Queensland children and young people during the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic.

For patients and families, these changes may mean:

  • ‘Virtual’ consultations’ (via phone or videoconferencing, also known as ‘telehealth’) being offered for outpatient reviews and appointments where it is clinically safe and appropriate to do so.
  • Postponement of some non-urgent outpatient appointments.
  • Postponement of some non-urgent elective surgeries.

These changes support the important social distancing guidelines now in place across the country, and will help us limit the number of children and parents in the hospital, thereby keeping everyone as safe as possible.

All urgent outpatient reviews and appointments are proceeding (either face-to-face or virtually) at this time.

Our clinical specialists are reviewing all current patient lists and new referrals on a case-by-case basis to determine the best options and/or possible alternative plans for each child. Non-urgent cases will only be postponed where it is clinically safe to do so.

We will contact families directly is there are any changes to their child’s appointments.

If you feel your child requires an urgent clinical review, please contact your GP or the Children’s Health Queensland Outpatient Call Centre on 1300 762 831.

We also ask that families who have appointments booked in the coming weeks, keep in mind that scheduled times and dates may change as the escalating COVID-19 pandemic impacts the hospital’s staff and services.

We know these changes may cause disappointment and inconvenience to families and we appreciate your understanding. At this challenging time, we have to ensure we can continue providing safe and timely care to children who need it most.

All urgent surgeries are proceeding as normal at this time.

Non-urgent elective surgeries are being clinically reviewed and, where safe and appropriate, postponed until further notice.

Parents/carers will be contacted directly and advised if there has been a change to their child’s surgery booking.

By making these changes, we can increase the number of theatres available for emergency and urgent surgeries as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic increases.

We know these changes may cause disappointment and inconvenience to families and we appreciate your understanding.

Like every paediatric hospital around Australia and the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented circumstances and challenges, and we are re-evaluating the situation daily to ensure we continue providing safe and timely care to children who need it most.

We understand that many of our families will be impacted financially by the recent restrictions to small businesses, retail outlets and the hospitality industry. Please visit our Patient and Family Transport Hub on Level 6 of the hospital to see if you may be eligible for concessional parking assistance.

Quick links

For the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic in Queensland, visit the dedicated Queensland Health web page.

Australian Government COVID-19 Health Alerts

Health advice over the phone
13 43 25 84

National Coronavirus Helpline
1800 020 080
If you require translating or interpreting services,
call 131 450.

In an emergency, always call 000 and ask for an ambulance.

Coronavirus Australia
Australian Department of Health
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