If your child receives a positive COVID-19 test result they may be able to be safely cared for in the comfort of your home with the support of our CHQ at Home team via our COVID-19 Virtual Ward service. If your child is medically stable and admitted to the virtual service, a personalised treatment plan for your child and family will be developed to guide their care and recovery from COVID-19. Your child’s admission to the virtual ward will last for the period of their isolation.
How does the virtual ward work?
Our team of nurses, doctors, allied health professionals, and/or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff will contact you regularly to monitor your child’s progress and provide treatment if required. We will stay in touch with you via telephone and telehealth (or virtual/online) consultations and, if required, home visits. How often and how they contact you will depend on your child’s symptoms and personal circumstances.
For more information about telehealth consultations, including technology requirements and troubleshooting, read our guide.
During your child’s admission to the COVID-19 Virtual Ward, they and all members of the household must isolate in your home for at least 7 days from their positive test result. All members of the household must continue to isolate until your child has shown no symptoms for 48-hours (2 days), or until your child is discharged from the service.
While under isolation, household members can only leave the home for the following reasons:
- emergency care
- essential medical care
- to have a COVID-19 test (if required)
People can only enter your home if they:
- live with you and cannot live somewhere else
- are providing essential medical care
- are entering for emergency reasons
Monitoring your child’s health
Please look out for any new symptoms and tell us about any changes when we contact you. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, phlegm, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, or muscle pain.
Fevers are the body’s natural response to fighting infection and are expected with COVID-19. If you have a thermometer, take and record your child’s temperature daily. A child’s normal body temperature may vary depending on their age and the time of day. A child with a temperature above 38°C has a fever.
If you don’t have a thermometer, monitor your child for sweats or chills.
If your child is irritable or in pain, paracetamol and ibuprofen (for babies over 3 months) may be used to manage fevers above 38°C. There is no need to treat a fever if your child is generally well and happy.
If your child has vomiting or diarrhoea it is important to keep them well hydrated. Treating the vomiting and/or diarrhoea that may experienced with COVID-19 infection is the same as the treatment for gastroenteritis.
Preparing for a home visit
Depending on your child’s condition, they may need a home visit from one or more of the COVID-19 Virtual Ward team members for a face-to-face assessment or treatment. If so, please take the following precautions to keep both your family and the team safe:
- Please ensure your front door is closed before the team arrives (we will contact you before we approach your home)
- Do not approach the team until they are fully dressed in personal protective equipment (PPE), e.g. face masks, gowns, gloves etc. The team will knock/ring the doorbell when they are ready to enter.
- Only one parent/carer can be in the room with your child during their treatment or assessment. All other household members should remain in a separate part of the home.
- Please stay at least 1.5 metres away from the home visiting team if possible.
- When the home visit is finished, please close your front door while the team remove their PPE.
- A rubbish bag with the used PPE will be left at your front door. Please dispose of this in your general waste bin after the team has left your property.
Contacting the Virtual Ward team
We will provide you with the contact details of a nurse who can be contacted if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s condition.
Please call us immediately if you child experiences:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Severe or worsening abdominal pain
- Oral fluid intake or urine output less than half of usual
- Drowsiness or sleepiness
For emergencies and urgent medical care call 000.
Please tell the 000 operator that your child is COVID-19 positive in home isolation.
First Nations families
Children’s Health Queensland supports culturally appropriate care for our First Nations families. Wherever possible, a member of our Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander workforce will be involved in each of your virtual ward consultations. We can also assist you to access further support from Mob Link, an initiative of the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health (IUIH) to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in South East Queensland by “linking Mob to the services they need-when they need”.
Learn more about Mob Link by visiting their website, or call 1800 254 354.
Children’s Health Queensland provides interpreter services free-of-charge for patients and their families who are from non-English speaking backgrounds. If you require the assistance of an interpreter, please tell us when your child is admitted to the COVID-19 Virtual Ward.
Preventing the spread of COVID-19 at home
Due to the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, it’s important to take steps to stop the spread of COVID-19 at home.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, remember to:
- clean your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs
- cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or flexed elbow when coughing or sneezing
- avoid sharing utensils, cups, glasses, face clothes, and towels
- regularly clean surfaces such as bench tops and door handles
Learn more about preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the home.
Coping with isolation and quarantine
Helping your child recover from COVID-19 and get through the isolation period can be challenging and requires some extra preparation. Here are some tips to help manage this time:
- Try to maintain a daily routine as much as possible
- Ensure your child enjoys some physical activity at home each day
- Encourage your child to talk to you about COVID-19 and share any concerns. Here’s how to start the conversation.
- If your child is anxious or stressed, take some time to just relax – see our Relaxing with Birdie book and video.
- Make time for fun activities. (Check out our ‘Fun with Birdie’ activity book).
- Use the phone, iPad or email to stay in touch with friends and family and reduce the feeling of social isolation
- Plan ahead to organise food supplies and medication
Useful websites and services
Discharge and completing isolation
Once your child has recovered and has been cleared from isolation, you will be sent a text that confirms your child can return to their normal activities, including school. A discharge letter will also be posted to your home. You will also be sent a link to our COVID-19 Virtual Ward patient experience survey and we encourage you to complete this short survey to help us continue to improve our service.
Should your child experience any symptoms of concern after they have been discharged from the virtual ward, contact your GP or local hospital.
Vaccination is an important way to stop the spread of COVID-19. There is no need to delay vaccination for children who have contracted COVID-19. Vaccination for eligible children can occur as soon as your child has recovered and is discharged from the virtual ward.
If your child was infected with COVID-19 between the first and second dose of the vaccine, they can receive the second dose of the vaccine as soon as they have recovered, provided the minimum interval has passed. See our vaccination page for more information.