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Seeking Medical Care and Treating Symptoms of COVID-19 in Children

Updated September 30, 2020

Children's Mercy is committed to providing the community with information on COVID-19 and steps to seek medical care for children including:

  • Symptoms of COVID-19
  • How COVID-19 differs from influenza (flu)
  • Testing for COVID-19
  • Completing a virtual screening

View the latest symptoms of COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, you can learn about the similarities and differences between influenza (flu) and COVID-19 with the best available information to date.

Seeking medical care


Mild illness and seeking medical care

If you have questions about whether your child needs to be seen:

If your child has a mild illness, we recommend staying at home. Consider using treatments that you would use for the common cold, including fever reducers (ibuprofen and acetaminophen), humidified air, and cough suppressants for age-appropriate children.

Children with mild illness do not need to see a medical provider.

If you have questions about whether your child needs to see a medical provider:

  • Please call your primary care physician first
  • You may also conduct a virtual screening, see steps below
  • Or, call the CHILDREN'S MERCY COVID-19 HOTLINE at (816) 302-8800

Testing and virtual screenings

If you are concerned that your child may have COVID-19, and you have a primary care provider, we recommend you call your primary care provider first.

If your need is more urgent, please call 911.

Testing for COVID-19

Important information about testing

  • Not all children will be tested for COVID-19
  • If your child has mild symptoms, they should stay home

Testing by your primary care provider

  • Please contact your primary care provider first to determine if you should be seen at their office

Testing by Children's Mercy - as ordered by your primary care provider

  • If your child is showing symptoms of COVID-19, your primary care provider may write an order for your child to be tested at a Children's Mercy Urgent Care Center Drive Up
  • Children's Mercy will contact you to schedule a test after your primary care provider has sent an order to Children's Mercy
  • Your primary care provider will notify you of the results
  • Important note: you must have a referral from your child's primary care physician in order for your child to receive a COVID-19 test from Children's Mercy; no medical care will be provided at the drive up testing 

Preparing your child for a COVID-19 test

The Child Life specialists at Children's Mercy have created a guide to help your child understand how a COVID-19 test works.

Prepare your child for a test


Virtual screenings

Available 24 hours a day

If you do not have a primary care provider, or if it is after hours, you may complete a virtual screening to determine if your child should be seen by a pediatric specialist at Children's Mercy. Here are the steps to get you started.

Virtual screenings are available for children:

  • Who are physically located in Kansas, Missouri or Oklahoma at the present time
  • If you are currently outside of these states, please contact a local health care provider

How virtual screenings work

  1. You will answer basic questions about your child's current health. 

If your answers indicate your child may be at risk for a COVID-19 infection

  1. You will be asked if you would like to speak with a nurse from Children's Mercy.
  2. If you answer "yes," you will be contacted via phone by a nurse from Children's Mercy.
  3. The nurse will determine if your child should be seen virtually by a Children's Mercy pediatric specialist.
Find a Doctor Start a virtual screening