Cincinnati Children's offers answers to frequent questions about COVID-19.

Note: The guidance for specific situations listed below could change as the COVID-19 situation evolves. We will update guidance as needed. Check back here often for any changes.

What is the status of surgical procedures and appointments at Cincinnati Children’s?

Operating rooms are running at almost full capacity again and clinics are scheduling both in-person and telehealth appointments for existing and new patients. If you had a procedure or appointment canceled in March or April and have not heard from your care team about rescheduling, please call.

Is a telehealth appointment OK to schedule instead of an in-person visit?

Yes! Most clinics and departments are scheduling both in-person and telehealth visits. If the person scheduling your appointment offers telehealth or suggests that it’s the preferred visit type for your child, you can say yes with confidence that it will be a safe and valuable appointment with your provider. Additionally, if you are not offered a telehealth visit but would prefer to connect with your provider using a video visit, you are always welcome to ask if it is an option for your family.

Are all Cincinnati Children’s locations open?

We temporarily closed several of our neighborhood locations, but most have reopened. Mason Urgent Care is still temporarily closed. 

> See details and alternative places to go for urgent care.

What precautions can I expect at Cincinnati Children’s to keep patients, families and visitors safe?

We want you to know that it is safe to come to Cincinnati Children’s. Learn about all the precautions we are taking to protect your child and your family while you are at the medical center.

Is Cincinnati Children’s testing for COVID-19 before surgical procedures?

Yes, Cincinnati Children’s tests all patients for COVID-19 prior to surgical procedures.

Rapid test results take about an hour. Negative test results allow our surgical teams to safely perform procedures without the use of N95 masks, which can impact communication and care efficiency.

Positive test results prompt review with the surgeon and care team to determine the safest path forward, based on the patient’s health.

It is possible to complete the surgeries in rare cases that it is determined the surgery cannot wait until the patient has recovered from the coronavirus illness.

Emergency surgeries will not be delayed for testing.

Families will not have any out-of-pocket financial responsibility for the testing before surgeries.

Are parents / guardians allowed to go with a patient to induction rooms prior to surgical procedures?

Parents and guardians are not currently allowed to go with their child to the induction room before entering the OR. If your child has experienced surgical procedures before and will expect you to be able to go back, please, if possible, prepare your child for it to be different this time.

Does Cincinnati Children’s support antibody tests to determine if patients or employees have been exposed to COVID-19?

Antibody testing is available in our community, but it is not specific to COVID-19 and has not yet been determined to be valid for clinical decision-making. For these reasons, Cincinnati Children’s is not conducting antibody testing at this time. In the future, however, we expect it will be more important.

Do families need to wear masks when they are at Cincinnati Children’s?

Every person at Cincinnati Children’s is now required to wear a mask while at the medical center. Yes, every person at Cincinnati Children’s is required to wear a mask while at the medical center. 

Masks are provided to patients, families and employees during the daily screening process. Families also receive information about how to wear and care for the masks properly. There are specially marked containers to dispose of used masks.

> See details and watch a video about how to wear your mask.

What should I do if I need to visit Cincinnati Children’s for urgent or emergency care?

If you are seeking care because you think your child may have COVID-19, call your primary care provider or connect with a Cincinnati Children’s provider through CincyKids Health Connect first. Most children who have the illness do not need emergency or urgent care.

If your child is experiencing trouble breathing, it is important to get to the Emergency Department as quickly as possible, no matter what. Make sure you let our ED staff know as soon as you walk in that your child has respiratory symptoms. If you know that your child has been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, share that information with our staff right away too.

If you need urgent care or emergency care for a situation that is not related to respiratory illness, go to the location as quickly as is appropriate. Learn more about how to decide where to go.

If your child is sick or injured, do not delay care. It is safe to come to Cincinnati Children’s. We are taking every precaution to protect patient families while you are here.

Two healthy adults will be allowed to be with the patient in the ED or urgent care. Every family will be screened for symptoms upon arrival and provided a mask at the screening stations. Siblings and other children are not allowed to be in the hospital at all.

If you have a life-threatening emergency, call 911.

> Cincinnati Children's offers two 24-hour emergency care facilities.

> See details about Cincinnati Children's urgent care centers.

Who should I call if I think my child is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19?

If you are concerned that a child may have COVID-19, contact your child’s primary care provider first to discuss your concerns and next steps.

If your child does not have a regular doctor or you need to talk to someone when your doctor isn’t available, you can use the CincyKids Health Connect app to talk to a Cincinnati Children’s provider about next steps.

Providers will evaluate each patient using the video visit technology. They will screen for travel or contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 and direct families to options for further evaluation.

Patients who have minor symptoms and do not meet testing criteria at the time of the visit will receive guidance from the provider for monitoring at home and instructions for follow-up, if needed.

COVID-19 screening video visits will be free of charge for families.

Is Cincinnati Children’s screening for COVID-19 symptoms at entrances?

Yes, to protect our patients, their families and our staff during the outbreak, Cincinnati Children’s is screening parents, visitors and employees every day before they enter patient care areas. You will also be given a mask to wear while you are at the medical center.

> Learn about screening details, the difference between screening and testing and whether your child can be tested at Cincinnati Children’s.

What is Cincinnati Children’s visitor policy?

Current visitor policy for all locations and campuses is:

  • Inpatients are allowed two healthy adult visitors – including parents. These two people will have 24-hour access to the patient area.
  • Outpatients are allowed two healthy adults with them during visits.
  • Siblings and other children under 18 are NOT allowed at the hospital.
  • Anyone who is with a patient must be free from fever, cough and colds, and stomach virus symptoms. If a single parent is with a child for an urgent visit (Emergency Department, Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute day hospital, dialysis) and does not pass the screening, the parent will be given a mask and allowed to go ahead to the urgent appointment.
  • Exceptions will be made for patients in end-of-life care on an individual basis.  

> Go to our Visiting Guidelines page and watch a video.