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COVID-19 and Children - Information for Patients

Frequently asked questions for BC Children’s patients about COVID-19.
October 19, 2020

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease that is affecting many countries around the world. Updates to this page will be made as the situation develops and this information is currently up-to-date as of October 19, 2020. For the latest information, please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) web page:

Covid-19 and pregnancy

Visit for info specific to pregnancy, childbirth and COVID-19.


Now that we have seen a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases in the province, we have begun to restore non-urgent health care services at BC Children's.

We began increasing our surgical capacity on May 18, 2020 starting with priority surgeries, as assessed by our health teams. If your child is waiting for a surgery, you will be contacted to reschedule their surgery.

Planning is underway to increase other health care services at BC Children's and Sunny Hill Health Centre in the coming weeks. If you are waiting for an appointment or procedure, you will be contacted by the clinic to reschedule your child's appointment.

‎Please call the clinic you have the appointment with and share information about the symptoms (including any new fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, painful swallowing, stuffy or runny nose, loss of sense of smell, headache, muscle aches, fatigue or loss of appetite). A doctor or nurse will provide guidance. 


‎During COVID-19, we have limited entrances to BC Children’s to facilitate active screening. Access is limited to entrances 55 (Emergency Department), 5 (Sunny Hill), 11 (off Oak Street), 93 (off Willow Street) and 53 (Teck Acute Care Centre). Please see this campus map for the locations of these entrances.

At each entrance, you will be asked a few questions and offered direction. A hand cleaning station is available.


Visitors to the hospital

To keep our patients, families and staff safe and in keeping with the provincial health officer’s recommendations for physical distancing, we are limiting the number of visitors entering our buildings. Until further notice, these are the visitor restrictions at BC Children’s Hospital and Sunny Hill:

Outpatient Clinics: ONE adult caregiver/support person
In-Patient Areas: TWO adult caregivers/support people
Emergency Department: ONE adult caregiver/support person

Hospital parking

Hospital parking fees around the province have been suspended as of April 1, 2020 until further notice, for patients, visitors and staff.

The most important thing you can do to prevent COVID-19 and other illnesses is to clean your hands regularly, avoid touching your face and stay one or two metres from other people. 

Find out more on the BCCDC website about:


Contact your primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1 (HealthLinkBC). HealthLinkBC has a translation service for over 130 languages. You can also take the BC COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool at To get non-medical information about COVID-19, call 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or text 604-630-0300. This service is available every day from 7:30 am to 8:00 pm. Information is available in more than 110 languages.

If your child is showing symptoms of COVID-19 and needs to be tested, you can show them the videos below and read about helping children through a COVID-19 test.

You will be asked to clean your hands when entering the hospital and you may be asked to wear a mask, depending on any symptoms you might have. If we give you a medical mask to wear, please wear that mask. Others are free to wear masks from home, if desired.

For advice on whether  you or your child should wear a mask, please visit:

When should I seek urgent care?

Take your child immediately to Emergency or call 911 if your child:

  • Is having difficulty breathing
  • Has blue lips or skin, or appears very pale
  • Is coughing excessively, particularly with a fever
  • Is vomiting excessively, especially if there is blood in the vomit
  • Has diarrhea and vomiting and is not producing tears, and has not urinated for several hours
  • Has a high fever, appears very sleepy, and has not improved with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).
  • Is under three months of age and has a fever of greater than 38 degrees C (100.4 degrees F)

‎So far, COVID-19 has affected adults much more than children. We think it is less severe, particularly in children under the age of 10.


‎If your child is at higher risk for COVID-19 complications, follow general infection prevention strategies: clean your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, and stay one or two metres from other people. Should your child become ill, seek medical help early. Try to have enough medicine for two weeks at home. 

There is no evidence that COVID-19 affects children with medical complexity more than other people. 

Follow general infection prevention strategies: clean your hands regularly, avoid touching your face, and stay one or two metres from other people. 

Find out more on this BCCDC PDF.


The BC Autism Assessment Network (BCAAN), which is operated out of Sunny Hill will continue to offer portions of the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) assessments remotely and in-person. 

Remote options are being provided to families at the time of scheduling. Depending on the age and needs of your child, you will be offered a fully virtual assessment or you may need to bring your child in for an in-person assessment. 

All outpatient programs at Sunny Hill are able to provide remote assistance to families. Sunny Hill encourages virtual appointments, reducing face to face interactions as much as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have any concerns please call the BC Autism Assessment Network at 604-453-8394 and your call will be directed to the appropriate person.

Getting your child tested for COVID-19

If your child is showing symptoms of COVID-19 and needs to be tested, the BCCDC has a video to watch on how to provide a mouth rinse and gargle sample. More information is here.


BC Children's has created a video to show them before their nose swab test so they know what to expect. Read the story and watch the video:


COVID-19 testing in children and youth is done by swishing and gargling sterile salt water and spitting it into a tube, or by using a swab to collect a sample from their nose. Most school-aged children from kindergarten through to Grade 12 who go to a COVID-19 collection centre can do the mouth rinse and gargle sample. The nose swab is used for younger children or those who may not be able to follow the swish, gargle and spit instructions. Either test will accurately detect if your child has COVID-19.

Practice the swish, gargle and spit technique with water at home before going to the collection centre. Wait at least two hours between practicing and doing the test as practicing could affect test results. Ask your child not to swallow the water or talk when they practice.

Before you arrive, please make sure your child does not eat or drink anything (including water) 30 minutes prior to testing. For older children and youth, please also ensure they do not chew gum, smoke or vape 30 minutes prior as that could affect the test. 

When you arrive, sanitize your and your child’s hands and wear masks. Children over the age of 2 are also requested to wear a mask if they are medically able. Check in with a nurse and if there is a line, you will be asked to wait outside or in your car until a nurse comes to get you.

Information about how to get test results is on the BCCDC website. If the test is positive, you will be contacted by Public Health.


Use BC Children’s Hospital entrance #17 which you can find on this map. Just past the entrance on the right, you will see five dedicated COVID-19 parking spots in addition to the roundabout drop off area. For hours and additional details, go to the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) website


More online resources about COVID-19

The Government of BC and the BCCDC put together this information for post-secondary students: 
BCCDC physician epidemiologist, Dr. Eleni Galanis, has this helpful video on how to protect your family: 
This link has instructions for children on when and how to wash their hands: 
For the latest COVID-19 updates, follow the BCCDC Twitter account @CDCofBC and read the latest BC Government news releases on COVID-19 at

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