Wondering what to do if your child was in contact with someone who is COVID-positive or is exhibiting symptoms of the virus? Here are the answers to some of your frequently asked questions about exposure to COVID.

I was informed my child was in contact with a COVID-19 positive person. What should I do?

First, determine if your child was in close contact. The CDC defines close contact as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes within a 24 hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset. This definition applies whether the contact was wearing a mask or not.

If your child was in close contact with someone with COVID-19, the CDC recommends a COVID-19 PCR test, unless your child already had been confirmed as having COVID-19 in the prior 90 days.

Should I bring my child in for an appointment if I suspect they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19, but has no symptoms?

Please follow the CDC’s advice and quarantine for 14 days since the last close contact with the COVID-19 positive person. Call your pediatrician’s office for a telehealth appointment to see if your child may need testing for an exposure. Getting tested does not shorten the time your child must stay at home.

What if my child may have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 infection and is now showing signs of illness?

If your child had close contact with someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days, your child should be tested for COVID-19.

Call 911 or take your child to the emergency room if your child has any severe symptoms which include shortness of breath, confusion, chest pain, a fever of 105 or higher or other concerning symptoms.

It is particularly important to call your pediatrician if your child has had a fever for more than 3 days and has vomiting, diarrhea, rash or seems ill. There is a rare illness associated with COVID-19 called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

Should I go to the emergency room if I’m worried my child has COVID-19?

Please visit the Emergency Department only if you are experiencing an emergency. This will help limit the potential spread of the virus in our community and will help ensure that the Emergency Department is able to care for patients with the most critical needs first.

My child’s COVID-19 test result is negative or not detected. What do we do now?

  • If another cause for your child’s symptoms was identified and your child’s COVID-19 test was either not detected or was a negative result by the COVID-19 PCR test, please follow isolation and treatment guidance for your child’s diagnosed illness. In general, your child should be fever-free without fever-reducing medicines for 24 hours and symptoms should have improved before being around others.
  • If COVID-19 virus was NOT detected by your child’s COVID-19 PCR test, but no other cause was identified for your child’s symptoms, you should discuss with your provider if your child should remain in isolation for 10 days (depending on exposure and symptoms) or if your child can stop home isolation sooner.

When can my child return to sports participation after being diagnosed with COVID-19?

Due to possible effects of COVID-19 on the heart, there are new recommendations for sports clearance. Your child will need an office visit after at least 14 days of being asymptomatic after their COVID-19 diagnosis for an exam to be cleared for return to sports, even if your child has been previously cleared.

Subscribe to our newsletter and get free parenting tips delivered to your inbox every week!

Related Content

person being vaccinated
family hiking in the woods
Little boy with allergies
Children camping in a tent in the backyard
grandmother and grandchild walking through the forest
mother measuring temperature of sick child
coronavirus on blue background
doctor consulting with mother and daughter
boy and mom at pediatrician
woman cleaning with face mask
flu vaccine and needle
Medical professional taking a nasal swab of child
little boy getting flu shot
COVID tests and insulin
Young boy and his teddy bear wearing face masks
child quarantined at home
baby with stethoscope
illustration of pregnant woman with mask
Mother wearing a homemade protective mask and putting one to her daughter