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COVID-19
Information for our consumers – Updated 13 January 2022
Acknowledgement
The Child and Family Health Service acknowledges Aboriginal people as the First Peoples and Traditional Custodians of Country throughout South Australia. We acknowledge and respect their ongoing and deep spiritual connection and relationship to land, air, sea, waters, community and country. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of people who have passed away.

A dedicated virtual service providing specialist support for children and young people diagnosed with COVID-19.

Most children with COVID-19 will only experience a mild illness or will have no symptoms at all and can safely remain at home without the need for medical support.

For those who need extra care, COVIDKids is a dedicated South Australian service for children and young people with COVID-19, managed by specialist staff at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Our service gives children, young people and their carers direct access to experienced paediatric nurses and doctors who can provide extra support to those who need it.

Our expert COVIDKids team will virtually assess children with COVID-19 and offer support and medical advice to families in their own home.

By receiving care and treatment at home, children are able to remain in isolation and avoid the stress that can sometimes be associated with visiting a hospital.

Families may also be referred through this service to the Child and Family Health Service (CaFHS) for additional support with breastfeeding, sleeping and settling issues and ways to support your family's wellbeing in isolation.

In rare cases, a child may need to be admitted to hospital and the COVIDKids team will arrange this for you and continue to be involved in your child’s care.

It’s important to note that COVIDKids is by referral only and is not a drop-in clinic.

If your child is diagnosed with COVID-19 they can be referred to this service through your GP, SA Ambulance Service, a paediatric emergency department or the WCH Virtual Urgent Care Service

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I still breastfeed if I have COVID-19?

Yes, the latest evidence is overwhelmingly in support of continued breastfeeding.

Maternal antibodies, produced by your body when you are exposed to COVID-19, are actually beneficial to babies, and are passed on to your child via breastmilk. According to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, there is also evidence of maternal antibodies being passed onto baby via breastmilk following a full course of a COVID-19 vaccination.

Current research also shows that newborn babies rarely develop serious symptoms when exposed to COVID-19. There is no need to socially distance from your baby, with skin-to-skin contact encouraged.

Who looks after my child if they contract COVID-19?

Anyone who tests positive to COVID-19 will first be contacted by the SA Health COVID Response Care Team who will assess their condition and refer them to the relevant care.

For children, this process is no different. However, we know from research interstate and overseas that the majority of children have mild symptoms of COVID and some won’t show any symptoms at all.

This means it is safe for those children to be cared for in the home, in a similar way you would if your child showed cold or flu symptoms, with the support of SA Health.

This will be the case for most children.

Where a child needs extra monitoring or support they will be referred by the SA Health team to the COVID-Kids service at the WCH.

The team will provide care to the child or young person and their family through regular phone or video appointments or at a dedicated on-site outpatients' clinic, if a face-to-face assessment or minor treatment is required.

In uncommon cases, when a child may need to be admitted to hospital, COVIDKids will coordinate the admission and communicate with the medical team looking after the child or young person to make the process as smooth as possible.

On discharge, if needed, COVIDKids can support the child or young person again.

How do I look after my child at home?

The majority of children infected with COVID- 19 only have mild symptoms. It is not uncommon for children to test positive for the virus but not show any symptoms, however they are still able to spread the virus.

Most common Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Diarrhoea and lethargy
  • Loss of taste or smell

As with all viruses, your child is more at risk if they have other medical conditions such as asthma, obesity, diabetes; inflammatory bowel disease or they are immune-compromised.

When caring for your child at home, we recommend you:

  • Give your child small amounts of fluid, often. They may not feel like drinking much so may need your help and encouragement
  • Offer your child food regularly
  • Encourage rest
  • Use paracetamol or ibuprofen only if you think your child is in pain or appears uncomfortable with fever. Do not give more than the recommend dosage and check with your medical professional if your child is taking other regular medication.
When and where can I seek further help?

If your child is displaying any of the following symptoms or signs, please call Triple 0 (000)

  • Difficult, or fast breathing
  • Pale or mottled skin colour
  • Excessive drowsiness or confusion
  • Persistent fever higher than 38 degrees Celsius, which does not reduce after giving paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Poor fluid intake, or reduced frequency of feeds (for infants)
  • Reduced urine or wet nappies
  • Chest pain
  • Severe or worsening abdominal pain
  • Frequent vomiting and or diarrhoea
  • Decreased appetite

If you need urgent medical care please do not drive yourself to the GP or hospital.

  • Call 000
  • Inform the emergency operator that your child has COVID
  • Ensure all family members wear a mask when the ambulance team arrive to your home.

If you’re using a mobile phone and Triple Zero (000) isn’t answering, try calling 112.

If you need further non-urgent support, call the COVID-19 Response Care Team on 1800 272 872 or you can access our Child and Adolescent Virtual Urgent Care service by visiting our website www.wch.sa.gov.au/virtualurgentcare

Who can use COVIDKids?

It’s important to know that not every child who contracts COVID-19 will be referred to COVIDKids because of the relatively mild symptoms shown by the majority of COVID positive children.

If your child does need that extra support, the virtual model for our COVIDKids service means that children aged 17 and under from anywhere in South Australia can access the team.

That means that if you live in a regional or rural area and are referred to COVIDKids, the expert team of paediatric doctors and nurses can support you in the comfort of your own home - either over the phone or through our videoconferencing platform. We can also support face-to-face assessment in your closest regional hospital or a transfer to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital in the uncommon event that that is required.

How do you know this model will work?

The COVIDKids virtual service has been developed in close collaboration with colleagues interstate who have used a similar way of looking after children with COVID-19.

The Women’s and Children’s Health Network acknowledges the team at the Sydney Children’s Health Network, in particular, for their support and guidance.

What’s the best way to protect myself and my children from COVID-19?

The best protection you can provide your children is for the adults in their lives to be vaccinated.

The Paediatric Infectious Diseases Group of Australia and New Zealand, which is the expert body in this area, also recommends other well-established simple prevention techniques which we’ve used throughout the pandemic.

They include practising good hand hygiene, social distancing, wearing a mask in public spaces and staying home if you’re sick.

It’s also important to remember that the impact of COVID on children is less about becoming infected and sick and more about the social impacts, so it’s also important to keep a check on yours and your child’s wellbeing and reach out for support if you’re worried.

Further Information

Children and Coronavirus

Wellbeing in isolation

SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line – 1800 632 753
Available 8.00 am to 8.00 pm, 7 days a week.

Aboriginal families and COVID-19

The South Australian Aboriginal community has done a deadly job of staying strong and stopping the spread of COVID-19. Further information can be found below if your child tests positive to COVID.

Culturally and linguistically diverse families and COVID-19

Translated information for CALD families with COVID-19 positive children can be found in the links below:

WATCH: The COVIDKids service explained by Paediatric Infectious Disease Consultant Dr Nan Vasilunas and COVIDKids Nurse Unit Manager Beth Schell

For Health Professionals