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About COVID-19

St. Christopher's COVID-19 Information Center

The arrival of COVID-19 in our city brought many questions from patients and the public. This Information Center will connect you with reliable information from our experts, as well as local, state, and federal health officials. We have also gathered links to useful resources and information that will help you be well.


Protect Yourself and Our Community

Click here for a video on to protect your health and the health of our community in a COVID-19 Message from Tower Health President and CEO Clint Matthews. 


How You Can Help Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

The best defense against COVID-19 is the same as with other infectious respiratory diseases:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are an alternative.
  • Proper hygiene, including coughing into a tissue or your elbow.
  • Disinfection of surfaces with any commercially available disinfectant such as Lysol.
  • Don't touch your face.
  • Avoid contact with infected individuals and avoiding large crowds.
  • Follow your local government's recommendations to stay at home as much as possible.
  • If you feel ill, seek guidance from your St. Christopher's healthcare provider.


What To Do If Your Child Feels Ill

Most COVID-19 infections will be mild and will not require any medical intervention. As with any infectious respiratory disease, such as the flu, if you are ill you should avoid contact with others until your symptoms have resolved. If you are experiencing the typical COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), have traveled internationally in the last 14 days, or believe you have been exposed to an individual with COVID-19, please stay home and contact your physician. Phone or digital contact is a preferred first step because it allows care providers to properly advise you and to prepare for your arrival to the care setting, if necessary. St. Christopher's caregivers are assessing patients through a series of key questions to determine risk of exposure to COVID-19.


If you Feel You Need Your Child to Get Tested

Contact your primary care physician for screening. He or she can determine if additional screening is recommended and can direct you to a screening site.


If You're Feeling Stressed or Overwhelmed

It's okay. Between home schooling, endless news stories, and physical isolation, COVID-19 is a whole new world and it's normal to feel anxious. But there are ways to manage the stress and uncertainty, and numerous places to get mental health help. 

  • For assistance with a behavioral health emergency involving a child, contact the Philadelphia Crisis Response Line  at 215-685-6440 or bring the child to our emergency room.
  • National 24-Hour Suicide Crisis & Intervention Call - (215) 686-4420
  • The website offers many tools, resources and articles to support mental health needs. The also offer online meditation workshops.
  • NAMI Philadelphia is an affiliate of The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated helping millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Their web site,, offers links to support groups, helpful information, and much more.
  • The NAMI Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7 support for those in any type of crisis.  If you text "HOME" to 741741 from anywhere in the United States you will be connected to a trained Crisis Counselor.


Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about COVID-19:

General COVID-19 Questions

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus refers to a family of seven viruses that cause illness in animals and sometimes humans. The most common coronaviruses cause mild illness like the common cold. Sometimes coronaviruses that infect animals can evolve and become a new human coronavirus. This is what has happened with COVID-19. 


What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an abbreviation for "Coronavirus Disease 2019," the official name for the disease that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak. A "novel" coronavirus means it is new and has not been previously identified.


Is COVID-19 the same as common Coronaviruses?

COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that had not been previously identified. The virus causing COVID-19 is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and usually cause mild illness.


What are the symptoms caused by COVID-19?

Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.  Most cases are mild, but sometimes may progress to pneumonia or bronchitis. People most at risk for a more serious illness are the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.


How does COVID-19 spread?

Experts are still learning about this coronavirus and how it spreads. However, doctors feel coronaviruses spread from person to person through tiny drops of fluid released into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, much like the way the flu spreads. Viruses spread more easily when people are in close contact with each other.  


What is the treatment for COVID-19?

Most COVID-19 infections are mild and require no more than bed rest and fluids until recovery. As with other infectious diseases, more serious cases can involve hospitalization. There is currently no specific treatment for COVID-19.


Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

No. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19.


Questions About Your Child's Care


When should I contact my child's doctor?

If your child has a fever over 99.5°; a cough that cannot be explained by allergies or other illness; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; or sudden onset of symptoms consistent with prior known illnesses.


How do I protect my child if someone in my home has tested positive or has symptoms?

Call your child's primary care doctor for recommendations on testing and what to watch for. To prevent further spread of the virus, follow the CDC's recommendations.


What should I do if my child had an exposure to someone with COVID-19?

It is unlikely a distant exposure will pose a concern. But, if they have had close contact for prolonged periods of time with an infected person, call your child's primary care doctor. Tell them what happened and find out if they recommend having your child tested. Follow CDC's recommendations to keep the rest of your household safe.


What is the risk to children?

This is a rapidly evolving disease, but at this time it seems children under 18 are at significantly lower risk of severe infection. The majority are very mild cases, involving dry cough and low grade mild fever. Children in a community with high rates of infection, or who are in close contact or live with a healthcare worker are at elevated risk. However, small children are good transmitters of the disease since they have a decreased ability to avoid things like coughing onto surfaces. It's a good opportunity to reinforce good hand-washing hygiene.


What should I do if I think I (or my child) have been exposed to and/or display symptoms of COVID-19?

If you are experiencing the typical COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), or believe you have been exposed to an individual with COVID-19, please stay home and contact your physician. Phone or digital contact is a preferred first step because it allows care providers to properly advise you and to prepare for your arrival to the care setting, if necessary.


Is St. Christopher's continuing to provide care during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Yes, we are open and providing care. Elective procedures have been postponed to keep patients safe during this outbreak. There are four ways to access care.

  • Phone - Call (215) 427-5000 to schedule an appointment, or contact one of our satellite locations directly.
  • Virtual Care - Visit with a physician online through our video telemedicine option – both scheduled and on-demand appointments are available.  
  • Urgent Care - Visit one of our two convenient locations for your urgent care needs:

  • Emergency Department - Come in to the Emergency Room 24/7, if needed.

Is it safe to bring my child to the hospital?

Yes. We have established strict screening protocols to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 during hospitalization, and have implemented as temporary visitor policy limiting the number of outside visitors to further reduce risk. We are also cleaning throughout the facility more frequently. In addition, we using a UV-light disinfecting robot throughout the hospital. 


My child has an appointment at St. Christopher's but someone in my house has tested positive for COVID-19. I have no symptoms, and we are remaining isolated from the person the with infection. Will I be allowed to bring my child to the hospital?

We will be able to care for your child but you and your child will need to self-isolate here: restriction to a single patient room, with access to a bathroom and food delivery. If there is someone who is not in their isolation period who could bring your child, that would be preferable. Please call us to discuss your unique situation - we want to make sure your child is cared for.


 I have COVID-19 symptoms and my doctor said I am presumptively positive but will not get tested. Can I bring my child in for their appointment, or visit my child/stay in the room?

Only healthy caregivers are allowed – those without fever, cough or other concerning symptoms. If you do not have an alternate caregiver, please call us to discuss your unique situation - we want to make sure your child is cared for.


Additional Information & Resources

CDC COVID-19 Situation Summary

CDC COVID-19 Website

CDC COVID-19 Information for Travel

PA Department of Health COVID-19 Website

City of Philadelphia COVID-19 Website

Montgomery County Office of Public Health COVID-19 Website

Chester County Health Department COVID-19 Website

NJ Department of Health COVID-19 Website

DE Department of Health COVID-19 Website 

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