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15:46 PM

COVID-19 Testing Guidelines: Why Every Patient Won’t Be Tested For COVID-19 At Cook Children’s

With everything happening regarding COVID-19, a lot of parents understandably have questions. One of the most common questions we’re receiving is why we’re not testing every child for COVID-19 upon a parent’s request.

The answer is we simply don’t have the ability to test every patient suspected of having the virus. And that’s OK, because our recommendations for taking care of those patients wouldn’t change based on the test results.

Currently, Cook Children’s will only perform COVID-19 testing on patients who are admitted for inpatient care.

“At this time, there is a shortage of testing supplies in both public health laboratories and clinical laboratories. Labs cannot keep up with the demand of testing every patient who has symptoms of COVID-19,” said Morgan Pence, Ph.D., a microbiologist at Cook Children’s. “At this time, Cook Children’s is unable to test every patient suspected of having the virus.”

The number of tests currently available in the U.S. is not enough to test every patient who is suspected of contracting COVID-19, so the medical field has focused on patients most at-risk who need to be tested immediately. In addition to not enough tests, there is a shortage of components of the test kit and a shortage of the sample tubes used to collect patient specimens. Labs cannot keep up with the testing demand of every patient who has symptoms of COVID-19.

In situations where there’s a known exposure and symptoms are consistent with COVID-19, the patient and family should call their primary care doctor and isolate themselves from others until they are no longer showing symptoms and they are well.

“The good news is that children have been the least affected by this virus,” said Alice Phillips, M.D., a Cook Children’s pediatrician at Cook Children’s Cityview. “If you suspect your child has COVID-19, call your doctor. It’s important to limit exposure to others and prevent the spread of the disease.”

As with everything involving COVID-19, this situation is fluid and changing frequently. Please continue to follow Cook Children’s for the latest information.

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