Patient Care during COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the Chicago area, we are committed to providing safe and comprehensive care to our patients.

Your child's health doesn’t stop being a priority when leaving the house is a challenge. For your convenience and safety, we offer secure and easy virtual visits by video or phone for most pediatric care, with the only exception being regularly scheduled well-child visits. We want to ensure that every child has the best healthcare possible. Virtual visits are now covered by most insurance plans.

To schedule a video visit please call 1-888-824-0200.

FAQs about COVID-19 and Comer Children's

Absolutely. Our teams are working diligently to ensure our patients and healthcare workers are safe during this unique time. We are working together to practice social distancing and are all wearing masks to help protect our patients and colleagues. We are using special respiratory precautions and contact isolation for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

So, in addition to the gowns, gloves and masks you may be familiar with, you might see healthcare workers wearing goggles or face shields. It is highly unlikely for children to get very sick from COVID-19, and Comer Children’s has seen less than 10 confirmed cases in our 165-bed hospital in the last six weeks.

Comer Children’s is testing all patients admitted to the hospital, regardless of their symptoms. The only exception is newborns, whose laboring parents will be tested.

Yes, we are still seeing all patients. We are seeing many in a new way. We are offering video visits, which allow you and your child to see and talk with your provider through the camera on your phone or your computer. Limiting the number of children, parents and staff in our clinics allows us to protect our patients and the community. If your child has an upcoming appointment with your provider, you may be contacted to set up a video visit. In some cases, we still need to see your child in person and, if so, we will do everything to ensure your child and your safety.

Comer Children’s continues to provide all services including second opinions, and patients are encouraged to schedule video visits no matter where in the world they’re located. Most specialties in Comer Children’s are committed to seeing patients within three working days of their initial contact with the hospital.

In addition to video visits, you can also connect with your provider remotely through:

Virtual visits are not for emergencies. If you have an urgent medical need, call 911 or visit your nearest emergency department or urgent care facility. All patients who are able should utilize their online patient portal (MyChart or Ingalls Care Connection) to communicate with their care teams.

We have had less than 10 children with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 in Comer Children’s. These patients are placed in private rooms and healthcare workers wear personal protective equipment (gowns, gloves, mask, eye protection) when caring for these children. Healthcare workers also practice hand hygiene before putting on their PPE and after taking off their PPE. We’ve been training for this our whole careers.

Yes. We do not make these decisions lightly, but believe they are a necessary step to protect our patients, their families, our healthcare workers, and the community during a public health crisis. We understand that these  restrictions will create a significant hardship for many people, but we ask for your understanding and cooperation during this difficult time.

For parents and caretakers:

  • Yellow wrist bands will be given to up to two parents/legal guardians.
  • The following areas will allow up to two parents/legal guardians will be at a time:
    • CICU
    • Comer 5
    • Comer 6
    • Emergency department
    • PICU
    • Outpatient clinics
  • One parent/legal guardian will be allowed at a time for:
    • Children with COVID-19
    • NICU patients
    • Perioperative (surgery/procedure) patients
  • NICU, visiting hours are from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.

 Additionally:

  • All visitors will be required to undergo a health screening. Anyone with a fever, cough or flu-like symptoms will not be allowed.
  • Visitors who do not have masks when they arrive will be provided a mask when they enter. Masks with vents are not allowed.
  • If symptoms develop while in the unit, the person will be asked to leave. Another symptom-free support person will be allowed.
  • No visitors under 18 will be allowed.
  • Everyone must follow all safety rules on the signs outside patient rooms. If you are not sure what to do, ask a healthcare provider before entering the room.

For the Family Birth Center:

  • All patients may have one designated support person.
  • No change in support person is allowed.
  • All support people must remain within the patient room, but can leave the hospital and return.
  • Doulas must provide a copy of their certification in order to be allowed for in-person support. If credentials are not available, patients may connect with doulas virtually.

Limited exceptions may be granted.

Valet Parking 

Valet parking is available, and the valet team is taking extra safety precautions, including:

  • Wearing protective masks and gloves,
  • Installing protective seat and floor board covers to all valet vehicles,
  • Disinfecting all vehicle touch points,
  • Changing gloves and washing hands between parking and delivery of each vehicle, and
  • Social distancing throughout the valet process.

Self Parking

Self-parking options in Garages A and B are available. There is also free street parking on the nearby Midway Plaisance.

Directions and parking garage information

No. Visits to the grocery store, pharmacy and medical center, among others, are considered essential and remain open.

There is no need to worry about bringing gloves to the hospital. We have handwashing sinks and hand sanitizer dispensers all over for you to use. If you have a fabric mask already, please bring it so we can save our masks for those who need them. However, if you do not have a mask, you will be given one when you enter the building.

In the hospital, we are following our usual cleaning process for all patient rooms. Rooms of patients that have or are suspected of having COVID-19 undergo several additional cleaning steps that we also use on rooms of patients with several other potentially serious infectious diseases.

UChicago Medicine also just received its 17th consecutive “A” grade for patient safety from Leapfrog.

If you need to see a doctor or go to an emergency room, contact your doctor or local hospital immediately and tell them you are coming. They will make arrangements for your care while also protecting those around you from possible spread of coronavirus. The arrangements may be as simple as placing a mask on when you enter the building and ensuring other patients adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Social distancing is key to avoiding contact with COVID-19 and stopping the spread of this disease. Frequent handwashing is also very important.

Healthy children and adults should:

  • Avoid crowds of six or more.
  • Keep a distance of at least 6 feet when gatherings of small groups are required.
  • Avoid casual physical contact, such as handshaking.
  • Perform hand hygiene frequently, and avoid touching your face.

Children and adults with fever or respiratory symptoms should:

  • Stay at home and not go to work or school.
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow or a disposable tissue.
  • Wear a mask if you or your child must be in public to seek medical care.
  • Avoid hospitals or healthcare clinics if you or your child’s symptoms are mild. You or your child should recover at home.

[MUSIC PLAYING]

Hi. I'm Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Chicago Medicine.

First of all, thank you, because your social distancing has given us the time and space that we need to take care of COVID-19. Along the way, we've also been safely taking care of patients with non-COVID-related urgent conditions, because there's more to health than just COVID-19.

You can't delay care forever, and you don't need to. We have video visits, so some people can get care without ever leaving their home. And at University of Chicago Medicine and Comer Children's Hospital, we've gone above and beyond to keep everyone safe, through expanded testing, social distancing, separated COVID units, and the strict use of personal protective equipment.

We've ensured our medical campus is one of the safest places in this city, because your health and the health of your loved ones is our first priority. Together, we can continue to make thousands of differences.