Globally, children seem to be at lower risk of catching the coronavirus, COVID-19, but a Colorado Springs pediatrician says that shouldn't stop parents from seeking medical attention for them if they have symptoms.
"Anybody coming in with even possible symptoms, anybody with fever, cough and cold, we are treating as someone who could potentially have the coronavirus," said Dr. David Listman, the Emergency Room director at Children's Hospital in Colorado Springs. "And it’s probably no trade secret that in pediatric emergency rooms, lots and lots of kids come in with fever, cough and cold. We are still seeing lots of kids with coughs and cold."
Medical experts said parents should check with their primary care doctor before arriving at the ER.
At Children's Hospital, the number of visits have gone down since the coronavirus outbreak. Listman said that could be attributed to the cancellation of school and social distancing.
The 99-bed hospital is looking to share its resources with other hospitals in the area, especially those with a high volume of adults arriving with coronavirus symptoms.
"Because this virus has more mild symptoms with children and tend to have more serious symptoms with older adults and seniors, we’re seeing their beds fill up a lot quicker," said Children's Hospital Colorado spokeswoman Leila Roche. "So with the doctors we’re speaking to, (we're looking at) how we can support other hospitals as their beds become filled ... quicker than ours and how we can help and respond to them, if that happens."
The coronavirus pandemic is unlike anything Children's Hospital staff have encountered in their careers; Listman compared it to the swine influenza in 2009, adding, "This is a very different novel virus in that nobody has ever seen this virus before."
If a patient appears to have coronavirus, one of the first steps hospital workers take is to protect themselves with gowns, gloves, masks and other face shields, so "that we are not exposing the staff and that we are also not transmitting diseases from room to room."
"I think both in Colorado Springs and the system as a whole are certainly prepared to take care of the children, which is what we do and what we are here for," Listman said. "We are preparing to take care of increased volumes compared to what we’re seeing now."
For those interested in helping the hospital at this time, visit www.childrenscolorado.org/helpduringcoronavirus.