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Visiting SickKids

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

What patients and families need to know before coming to SickKids

Current as of: October 22, 2020 

SickKids is closely monitoring the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. Please check this page often for the latest updates on clinical services, access to the hospital, and how we are keeping our patients, families and staff safe. 

We recognize that these temporary measures can be an inconvenience. We value communication and respect, and appreciate your patience and cooperation with our staff during this time. The hospital is not a place for abusive language, intimidation or aggressive behaviour. Thank you for helping to keep our community safe and healthy.

Please note that SickKids is not a COVID-19 assessment centre. Contact Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, your local public health unit or use the online self-assessment tool if you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. If you have been tested for COVID-19, please visit covid-19.ontario.ca to obtain the results when they are available.

Please visit Ontario.ca/coronavirus for the latest information.

NEW: Complete your entrance self-screening online

All patients and family members will be screened for signs of illness upon arrival. On the day of your visit, complete an online COVID-19 self-screening form before arriving to get through our screening process as smoothly as possible. A form must be completed for the patient and anyone coming to SickKids with them.

Complete our online COVID-19 self-screening form

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Visitor restrictions

Please note our current visitor restrictions:

  • One family caregiver if you are bringing your child to an appointment or test.
  • One family caregiver if you are bringing your child to the Emergency Department.
  • Two family caregivers if your child is admitted to stay on an inpatient unit. NOTE: only one of these caregivers may stay overnight (9 p.m. – 6 a.m.) in the hospital or go with their child to clinics, tests and surgery/Operating Room areas.
  • Siblings and other visitors are not allowed but some exceptions apply.

Symptoms of COVID-19 

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms that we screen for at SickKids and have recently travelled internationally, please contact your clinic or health-care provider before coming to the hospital:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion/stuffy nose
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Measures in place at SickKids

Screening: All patients and family members will be screened upon arrival at hospital entry points for signs of illness. You can complete an online COVID-19 self-screening form before you arrive. When you arrive, display your self-screening form at a screening station.

Entrances: Please enter and exit SickKids using the Elizabeth Street entrance or the parking garage. All other entrances are closed until further notice.

Masking for Family Caregivers and patients: For everyone’s added safety, SickKids is providing masks to all family caregivers and patients (6 and older) coming to the hospital. As maintaining the required physical distancing rule of staying at least six feet (two metres) apart is not always possible, please wear this mask to help lower the risk of community spread of the virus to help protect everyone at the hospital and yourself. Please review our frequently asked questions about family/caregiver and patient masking.

Volunteer programs: Volunteers are part of the SickKids family. We are gradually resuming our volunteer services in a phased approach, but unable to recruit new volunteers at this time due to the pandemic. Thank you to all our volunteers for their dedication to SickKids.

Reduced hours of operation for food and retail services: Several food and retail services have adjusted their business hours and are accepting cashless transactions only. Please visit the Shop and Eat page for the latest updates.

Parking: In addition to regular parking rates, SickKids offers discounted parking passes for parents of patients. These passes can only be purchased in the Parking Office during reduced hours of operation. Please visit the Parking page for more information.

Learners: As a teaching hospital, we play an important role in training the next generation of paediatric health-care providers. A small number of learners will be back at the hospital this summer with plans to have more learners join our clinical teams this fall. Learners working in clinical environments have been provided with training on how to safely use personal protective equipment (PPE), which we are closely monitoring and conserving, and will be supervised by SickKids staff to ensure all measures are followed.

Status of clinical activities

We recognize that delays caused by the COVID-19 situation have been difficult for patients and their families. To ensure that we have the capacity for any unplanned increase in hospital activity and that our skilled clinical staff are available to provide care, please note the following:

  • Gradual restart of scheduled care services: As of June 8, 2020, we are gradually restarting scheduled surgeries and procedures that were postponed in mid-March due to the pandemic. Not all procedures will begin on this date and it will take time to reschedule services. SickKids will contact patients and families directly when it is time to reschedule - there is no need to contact the hospital at this time. Thank you for your patience. See this FAQ for families for more information. If your child is experiencing respiratory illness symptoms prior to their appointment, please let your health-care provider’s office know.
  • Virtual care options for your clinic visits: If your health-care provider determines a clinic appointment can be accomplished without an in-person visit, you will be contacted to change your upcoming appointment to a virtual platform. If the clinic appointment, test or other procedure cannot be offered virtually, and your child is experiencing respiratory illness symptoms prior to their appointment, please let your health-care provider’s office know. Please note the visitor restrictions.

Visiting the Emergency Department

Our Emergency Department is not a COVID-19 assessment centre. We do not test children without symptoms who are being discharged. We have specific testing criteria for children who are unwell in the context of an emergency visit. Children with mild symptoms, such as a runny nose, should go to an assessment centre to be tested, instead of coming to the Emergency Department.

One family caregiver is allowed to come inside SickKids to visit the Emergency Department with the patient.

It is important to immediately let the person registering your child know if your child has respiratory illness symptoms

Visit Coming to Emergency to learn more about what to expect in our Emergency Department. 

Coming for a clinic appointment

One family caregiver is allowed to come inside SickKids with the patient. No other children or family members are allowed to come inside with a patient. For more information about new measures in place at SickKids to keep you safe when you visit a clinic, read these FAQs.

Staying overnight

One family caregiver is allowed to stay overnight (9 p.m. – 6 a.m.) in the hospital with the patient. Your safety is our number one priority at SickKids and is reflected in changes to some of our processes and services for patients and families who are staying overnight.

Patient & family resources

Virtual Brief Therapy Clinic: This clinic, staffed by social workers and psychologists at SickKids, offers access to short-term therapy for SickKids patients and families and linkages with hospital or community-based resources. Email emotionalsupport.covid19@sickkids.ca to book an appointment.

AboutKidsHealth resources: Visit the COVID-19 AboutKidsHealth learning hub for expert information from SickKids.

Register online for MyChart: Patients, parents and guardians can now apply for a MyChart account using an online form. MyChart is a secure, online patient portal that provides patients and authorized family members and caregivers access to parts of their SickKids’ electronic health record, anywhere, at any time. Learn more about MyChart.

Holiday season donation guidelines

Please note that we have made some important changes to our donation guidelines for the 2020 holiday season. For everyone’s safety, we are not accepting in-person drop-offs of donations, including toys and games for our patients.

This year, there are additional limitations to the types of items and deliveries we can accept, so please connect with Donations Coordinator (donations.coordinator@sickkids.ca) to discuss this in advance of collecting or transporting donations to SickKids.

The generosity of our community has always been a special part of the holiday season at SickKids. Please visit the Gifts In-Kind page for the latest updates and other ways to support our patients and families.