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 for any changes.

Has the patient or adult caregiver recently tested positive for COVID-19?

If the patient has tested positive for COVID-19: Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the 10 days before an appointment should only visit campus if the appointment is medically urgent. If you are not sure if your child’s appointment is medically urgent, please contact the department for guidance. For all other appointments scheduled within the 10-day isolation period after a positive test, please call to reschedule the appointment, or request a switch to video visit.

If the adult who is bringing a patient has tested positive for COVID-19: If you, or the adult who is supposed to attend an appointment with your child, has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days, please do not come to the appointment. If possible, ask another adult caregiver, who is healthy, to accompany your child. If another adult isn’t available, please call to reschedule the appointment, request a switch to video visit or ask for guidance if the visit is medically necessary. If you aren’t sure, please call and someone can help you make a plan.

Every person at Cincinnati Children’s is required to wear a mask while at the medical center. Do families need to wear masks when they are at Cincinnati Children’s?

Yes, every person at Cincinnati Children’s is required to wear a mask while at the medical center. Although many people are vaccinated, we still need to keep our guard up against COVID-19. Put on your mask when you enter the building.

> See details about mask requirements.

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.

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.

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

Cincinnati Children’s labs can do “antibody” or “serology” tests that detect antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

These tests should not be used to diagnose acute COVID-19 infection and do not help figure out if exposure led to infection. Using this type of test on many patients may help the medical community better understand how the immune response against the SARS-CoV-2 virus develops in patients over time and how many people may have been previously infected.

If you would like for your child to have one of these tests, talk to your primary care provider about next steps.

If your child is sick and you are concerned it could be COVID-19 infection, contact your child’s primary care provider or CincyKids Health Connect to arrange for testing that can tell if your child is infected..

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.

Cincinnati Children’s emergency departments and urgent care locations are NOT available to do COVID-19 tests ONLY. All ED and urgent care visits will include a full assessment and will be charged based on the care completed.

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 if needed.

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.

> Learn how to get started and see our testing locations.

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.

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

Yes, to protect our patients, their families and our staff, Cincinnati Children’s is screening parents, visitors and employees every day. You will also be given a mask to wear while you are at the medical center. Screening happens at outpatient registration or on inpatient units at our Burnet and Liberty campuses and neighborhood locations.

> 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:

  • We still require masking at all times for families and visitors.
  • Inpatients are allowed two primary support people with 24-hour access to the patient area. Four additional visitors and can see your child during visiting hours (8:30am–8:30pm). All minors must be accompanied by an adult on the visitor list. Siblings or children of adult patients living in the same household are also permitted.
  • 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 for details.