Frequently asked questions for BC Children’s patients about novel coronavirus COVID-19.
April 7, 2020
A novel coronavrius, now known as COVID-19, has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Updates to this page will be made as the situation develops and this information is currently up-to-date as of April 3, 2020. For the latest information, please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) web page:
Visit bcwomens.ca for info specific to pregnancy, childbirth and COVID-19.
In keeping with the provincial health officer’s advice to encourage physical distancing, we are decreasing the number of people on-site at any one time and, as a result, we are rescheduling non-urgent appointments, tests and procedures.
Please call the clinic you have the appointment with and share information about your symptoms (including any new fever, respiratory symptoms, new rash, vomiting or diarrhea) and recent travel history. A physician or nurse will assess the urgency of the appointment and provide guidance.
BC Children's Hospital is currently limiting access to the hospital for patients, families and visitors to facilitate active screening. Access is limited to the Emergency Department (Entrance 55) and the main Teck Acute Care Centre entrance (Entrance 53). Please see
this campus map for the locations of these entrances.
At Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, we are limiting access for patient, families and visitors to the Slocan entrance to facilitate active screening.
A hand cleaning station is available at each of these hospital entrances and all patients, families and visitors must clean their hands when entering 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 fees around the province have been suspended as of April 1, 2020 until further notice, for patients, visitors and staff. In addition, the City of Vancouver has removed many parking restrictions through the city freeing up parking space in our hospital neighbourhoods.
The most important thing you can do to prevent COVID-19 and other illnesses is to clean your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. Clean your hands often with alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water, especially after touching shared surfaces or objects (e.g., door handles, elevator buttons, and toys) and before eating.
British Columbians can reach service representatives seven days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., by calling 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or text 604-630-0300. Information is available in more than 110 languages. Anyone who is concerned they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1 for HealthLinkBC. 8-1-1 has translation service available in more than 130 languages.
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.
Most reported cases of COVID-19 in children are mild and the symptoms are similar to a regular cold or flu. If your child is at higher risk for COVID-19 complications, you are advised to follow general preventative strategies against infection. Should your child become ill, seek medial help early. If possible, it is prudent to have at least a two-week supply of medications on hand.
Children with medical complexity are those who require technology in daily life, such as feeding tubes, suctioning, tracheostomy or ventilation. These children use health-care services more often than most children. In general, there isn't evidence showing medically-complex children are more impacted by this virus. The same precautions as for any other seasonal virus are to be practiced. More information is available in the Information for families of children with medical complexity document on the BCCDC website.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, our BC Children’s Hospital Dental Department is open for emergency care only. Emergency dental care is defined as potentially life-threatening conditions, including:
- Swelling and rash as a result of an uncontrolled infection, making it hard to breathe
- Severe, uncontrolled bleeding
- Trauma to the mouth or facial bones, causing breathing problems
- Uncontrolled severe pain for more than 3 days (with regular Advil and Tylenol doses for 3 days)
- Uncontrolled infection with significant facial swelling, oozing around the site and fever
During the COVID-19 pandemic, non-essential dental visits at the BC Children’s Dental Department are not being scheduled at this time. Many dental problems can be managed over the phone by dental offices. BC Children’s Hospital’s Dental Department is open for emergency care only.
The BC Autism Assessment Network (BCAAN), which is operated out of Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children will continue to offer portions of the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) assessments that can be completed remotely at this time.
Remote options will be provided to families at the time of scheduling. This will be followed by an on-site assessment when it is deemed safe to do so by the provincial Public Health Officer. We will also continue to provide portions of developmental assessments remotely.
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 main Sunny Hill line at 604-453-8300 and your call will be
directed to the appropriate person.
The Government of BC and the BCCDC put together this informative list of frequently asked questions for children and students, including what symptoms to look for with the illness:
Another document has been created specifically with advice for 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: