COVID-19 Updates

Children's hospitals are doing their part to keep children, young people, and families health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This page will continue to be updated with paediatric-specific resources and updates from our members as we all work together to beat COVID-19.

To learn more about what ECHO hospitals are doing or to get additional information

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Summary of ECHO hospitals COVID-19 experiences

1. The general situation of children hospitals is still good, with few cases being evaluated in emergency departments or requiring admission.

2. ECHO hospitals have experienced, either by active design or secondary to confinement protocols, a substantial decrease in routine activity.  

3. In areas with high levels of COVID-19 cases requiring hospital admission and intensive respiratory care, the volume of children affected by COVID-19 requiring hospital care has been very low. It is not clear what the impact of COVID-19 on potentially vulnerable children with chronic or immunosuppressed conditions is.

4. To prevent the spread of infection, most hospitals are allowing only one carer or parent to accompany children in hospital.

5. Many children's hospitals are providing support to adult units or serving as back up to the adult system.

6. There is an overall concern as control measures are extended, that patients in need of clinical attention may experience difficulties in receiving care or delay necessary care.

7. Child’s rights (international treaty on children’ rights – UN  declaration) are of concern. Especially one of three primary rights; the right to be protected. Avoiding health care contacts acts synergistically with closing down schools in producing violation against child’s right to be protected. There is an evident need for pediatricians to be on alert around these issues.

8. There is concern about decreases in attendence at Accident and Emergency departments and about attendances and falling vaccination rates. This might have consequences in the future health of children.

How are children’s hospitals helping in the COVID-19 pandemic?

Supporting adult care by consolidating paediatric care to open beds for adults and taking care of adult patients when necessary. Children’s Health Ireland temporarily relocated its acute paediatric services at one university hospital to protect children and their families and create space for more adult beds.  

Providing resources for families on how COVID-19 impacts other complex, chronic, and rare diseases that children are still living with. Great Ormond Street Hospital created a resource list by specialty for conditions like cystic fibrosis.

Supporting the mental health of children, families, and the community. Meyer Children’s Hospital in Florence, Italy, set up a mental health telephone service “to support the relationship between parents, children and teenagers during the COVID-19 quarantine.

Conducting research that will benefit adults and children. Several of ECHO members have launched studies to investigate COVID-19 in children and their staff. Working with a diverse database offers better probabilities for wide-ranging conclusions and a better understanding of the pandemic and its impact.

Encouraging families to seek care for chronic diseases and emergencies to keep kids as healthy as possible during the pandemic. Members have seen a dangerous trend of parents delayed care from fear of COVID-19, resulting in real harm to children. Hospitals are taking actions in promoting health guidelines to the population in order to minimize the consequences of this behaviour. .

Additional Resources

Clinical resources

OPENPediatric is an open access online community of healthcare professionals sharing best practices form all resource settings around the world. Clink here for their COVID-19 resource page. 

A team of infectious disease specialists at University of California, San Francico, have created a shared document summarizing current treatment options with a specific section on paediatrics.

News reports are surfacing of a link between Kawasaki disease and COVID-19 in children based primarily on this article by Jones et al in Hospital Paediatrics. The link between coronaviruses and Kawasaki disease has been previously examined by Shirato et al in this article

Children's hospitals specific

Resources from Children’s Hospital Association USA on preparing for and managing COVID-19 in children’s hospitals, with a focus on leadership and management.

Rare diseases

Children and young people with rare diseases will still need regular care during the pandemic. There have also been reports that resource utilization policies discriminate against patients with complex or rare conditions who may need ICU care. Clink here to find resources from EURORDIS.

Childhood cancer

Resources specific to coping with childhood cancer from Children’s Cancer Cause, USA.

St. Jude has created the Global COVID-19 Observatory and Resource Center for Childhood Cancer for health care professionals focused on pediatric cancer. 

Other helpful links

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a series of resources on mental health and psychosocial considerations for specific populations:                                        

The European Academy of Paediatrics National has compiled country-specific national and international guidelines as well as paediatric focused resources.

The following are selected peer-reviewed articles on COVID-19 and children: