Fort Worth, TX,
16:39 PM

Ongoing Issue: Cook Children's Desperately Asking for Community's Help

Parents and caregivers, please call or visit your pediatrician first if your child is experiencing mild symptoms or a minor injury.

Cook Children's Emergency Department and Urgent Care Centers are still intensely overwhelmed with patients, an issue that has been ongoing for the past month. Again we are desperately asking for the community's help, for the sake of your child's care and to support our health care system and staff. 

Since Aug. 30, our ED and UCC have hit record levels. In the last 24 hours, 580 patients were seen at the emergency department and 705 patients were seen at our Urgent Care Centers. This has resulted in extremely long wait times.

Many parents are bringing in children who have been exposed to COVID-19 but show mild to no symptoms. This is putting unnecessary strain on the health care system. It’s also important to note that an average of 5.5% of COVID-19 tests at Cook Children’s are coming back positive at this time.

Parents and caregivers, please call or visit your pediatrician first if your child is experiencing mild symptoms or a minor injury. View the chart below to see when you should bring your child to the ED or UCC.

As you can imagine, long wait times have led to frustration for those seeking care. Our exhausted staff has heard an abundance of complaints and mean comments that are discouraging when they are working so hard to serve our patients and families. Unfortunately, they are outmatched by the demand.  Cook Children's Emergency Department

Here’s what we know:

  1. The vast majority of patients in our UCCs and ED have upper respiratory infections like colds.
  2.  The vast majority of COVID-19 tests are coming back negative.
  3.  All of our pediatrician offices offer COVID testing and it’s safe to wait for one to two days for COVID testing if you plan to keep your child at home.
  4. If your pediatrician does not have available appointments for your child’s cold symptoms, there are at-home COVID-19 tests available in stores currently.
  5. Minor concerns like sore throat, cough, low-grade fever, diarrhea and other stomach problems are issues your pediatrician can help with.
  6. The ED should only be used for severe symptoms and injuries.
  7. The UCC should be used for moderate symptoms and injuries.

Media partners: If you are interested in telling this story, please contact Public Relations Manager Kim Brown at or at 682-885-1080, 817-266-3728

For information about some common questions we hear, take a look at these articles:

About Cook Children's

Cook Children’s Health Care System embraces an inspiring Promise – to improve the health of every child through the prevention and treatment of illness, disease and injury. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, we’re proud of our long and rich tradition of serving our community. Our not-for-profit organization is comprised of nine companies, including our Medical Center, Physician Network, Home Health company, Northeast Hospital, Pediatric Surgery Center, Health Plan, Health Services Inc., Child Study Center and Health Foundation. With more than 60 primary, specialty and urgent care locations throughout Texas, families can access our top-ranked specialty programs and network of services to meet the unique needs of their child. For 100 years, we’ve worked to improve the health of children from across our primary service area of Denton, Hood, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant and Wise counties. We combine the art of caring with leading technology and extraordinary collaboration to provide exceptional care for every child. This has earned Cook Children’s a strong, far-reaching reputation with patients traveling from around the country and the globe to receive life-saving pediatric care. For more information, visit