COVID-19 COVID-19

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.

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

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

Service changes
Latest Updates
Information for families
Getting tested
Family Testing Clinic
Information for NSW families
Service changes
Latest Updates
Information for families
Getting tested
Family Testing Clinic
Information for NSW families

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus (now identified and officially named SARS-Cov-2). 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). SARS-CoV-2 causes a mild illness in many people, but in a minority of people it causes a severe respiratory and multi-organ disease.
Everyone who gets coronavirus (COVID-19) will experience it a little differently. Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • runny nose
  • fatigue
  • diarrhoea
  • vomiting or nausea
  • loss of the sense of smell or taste.

Other symptoms people may experience include muscle or joint pain, and loss of appetite.

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

  • elderly people
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (as they have higher rates of chronic illness)
  • people with chronic medical conditions
As COVID-19 and the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus are still quite new, we are still learning 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.

For more on COVID-19 and children, see the ‘Health Advice’ section on our Information for children, young people and families page.

To help keep our patients, families and staff safe, visitor restrictions are in place at all Children’s Health Queensland facilities, including the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Parents and carers are limited to two per patient. Siblings of patients should be limited wherever possible.

Under exceptional circumstances, special consideration will be given to families on emergency or compassionate grounds. Please speak with the nurse unit manager of your ward or service about this prior to arriving at the hospital.

On arrival the Queensland Children’s Hospital, you will be asked a series of questions about your current health and a temperature check will be conducted by a registered nurse. We understand this may cause a short delay, but we appreciate your patience and support in helping us keep everyone in the hospital safe.

We ask that adults do not visit the hospital if they:

  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • returned from overseas in the last 14 days
  • been asked to self-quarantine
  • had contact with a person with COVID-19 in the last 14 days
  • been tested for COVID-19 and are waiting to receive the results
  • COVID-19 symptoms of fever (37.5 degrees or more), cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of smell or taste, runny nose, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting or fatigue.
No. On the advice of the Chief Health Officer, patients, parents, carers, visitors and staff are no longer required to wear a mask while in the Queensland Children’s Hospital and Children’s Health Queensland facilities.

In some circumstances, you may be asked to wear a mask to help us keep everyone safe, like if your child is unwell and needs to be tested for COVID-19.

The best way to protect yourself and others is by:

  • practising social distancing, keeping two big steps between yourself and other people
  • cleaning your hands with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

Please note, it is not recommended that children under the age of two wear a mask at any time. Read more about how to safely wear a face mask.

In Queensland, anyone who has fever (or history of fever) OR acute respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath) should be tested.

Children may also experience other symptoms, such as runny nose, headache, loss of smell, loss of taste, nausea or vomiting, muscle pain, joint pain, fatigue, diarrhoea, or a loss of appetite. Symptoms can vary depending on each case.

If your child has any symptoms, you can visit your nearest COVID-19 testing centre or ‘fever clinic’.

If you are unsure, or if your child has a sudden onset of any COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact your local doctor, hospital Emergency Department, or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).Before going to your GP clinic, please call ahead and tell them about your child’s symptoms so they can prepare for your visit.

If you’re visiting your local Emergency Department or Fever Clinic there is no need to call ahead.

The most important things your child can do to stay COVID-safe in school, as well as the wider community, are to wash their hands frequently (especially before eating), practise physical distancing with their friends and practise good respiratory hygiene (cover coughs and sneezes). If they are unwell, you should also keep them at home (and get them tested if they have any symptoms of COVID-19).
The Department of Health recommends that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, loss of sense of taste or smell) gets tested each time they develop these symptoms.
Saliva tests are not currently available in Queensland, and are still being evaluated for accuracy in adults. Children often find it difficult to produce saliva for tests however, and so this may not prove appropriate for children.
Schools are considered to be safe places for students at this time and present a low risk in relation to the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Children’s Health Queensland recommends all families follow the Government advice about children attending school, unless a child has a chronic or complex health condition and have been advised by a specialist that they should remain at home. If you are concerned about your child, please contact their specialist or GP.

For the latest school-related information, read these frequently asked questions

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. Worldwide, most people infected with SARS-CoV-2 have caught the virus from another sick person that lives in their household. This is particularly true for children, in most cases children have caught the virus from an adult within their household who has SARS-Cov-2.
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 or SARS-CoV-2 (novel coronavirus).

If your child is unwell with fever, cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath, visit your nearest Fever Clinic for testing.

If you are unsure if your child has symptoms of COVID-19, or if your child has a sudden onset of any COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact your local GP, hospital Emergency Department, or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

Before attending a GP clinic, it is important to phone ahead so they can make appropriate preparations for your visit.

Yes. If you want to breastfeed, this will be supported by your health care team. Breastmilk is best for almost all babies. Breastfeeding helps you and your baby bond together and it also helps protect your baby against infection.

Your decision to breastfeed may involve thinking about your baby’s health, how sick you are and whether you are well enough to care for your baby. Your healthcare team will discuss your individual circumstances and feeding options with you. For more information, read the COVID-19 and breastfeeding fact sheet.

Practising 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
  • if you or your child are unwell, avoid sharing utensils, cups and glasses.
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, under direction from the Chief Health Officer, visitor restrictions are in place at the Queensland Children’s Hospital. Parents and carers are limited to two per patient.

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 if 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 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.

As part of Children’s Health Queensland’s response to managing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented a safe and clinically-led plan to gradually increase the number of elective procedures performed at the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Parents/carers will be contacted directly and advised when arrangements for their child’s surgery have been made.

If your child’s surgery has been postponed, and you’re concerned that their condition is getting worse, please contact our Elective Surgery Bookings Office on 07 3068 1125 or your family GP.

We understand that many of our families will be impacted financially by the necessary COVID-19 restrictions imposed on small businesses, retail, hospitality and other industries. 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.
Our paediatric specialists are aware of a type of inflammatory syndrome affecting small numbers of children infected with SARS-CoV-2. This syndrome is called Paediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome – Temporally Associated with SARS-CoV-2 (or PIMS-TS). It has some features that are similar to other rare auto-inflammation diseases, such as Kawasaki disease.

Our infectious diseases specialists are working closely with the Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance (PAEDS) network on hospital-based surveillance across Australia and will continue to provide information and advice for families as it becomes available.

PIMS-TS is an extremely uncommon disease and parents should be assured that there have been very few cases of COVID-19 in children and no cases of PIMS-TS in Queensland. If your child is unwell and you are worried about their condition, you should seek help from a health professional.

More FAQs

Birdie and the virus
Birdie and the virus

If you have specific questions about COVID19 and your family, please email COVIDquestions@health.qld.gov.au.

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Latest news and advice
Queensland Health: COVID-19
Queensland Health: COVID-19 translated resources
Queensland Government: Unite Against COVID-19
Australian Government: COVID-19 Health Alerts

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