Answers to your common questions

How we've adapted our care

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Children's Wisconsin has implemented changes to some of the ways our patients and families typically access our medical care and resources in the community. But rest assured, we are here for you. We continue to provide safe and timely access to care through in-person, online and video visits — and our emergency room is always available for more serious illnesses and injuries.

On this web page, we've organized answers to commonly asked questions as follows:


What if I have an immediate need for care?

Our emergency department continues to be open 24/7 for emergency needs. All of our urgent care locations are open with regular hours. As always, video visits from Children’s Online Urgent Care are available 24/7. Learn more about our walk-in urgent care locations and hours.

How can I contact my child’s doctor?

In addition to calling your doctor's office directly, you can message your child's doctor directly via MyChart. If you have not yet signed up for MyChart, you can read more about it and sign up. There is no cost associated with this service.

Are video visits available?

Your child can access urgent care and get COVID-19 symptoms evaluated through a video visit from urgent care video visit. We've also expanded functionality within MyChart to provide some of our doctors with the flexibility to conduct some scheduled appointments via live video.

What are your urgent care hours and locations?

We currently offer walk-in urgent care services in Delafield, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Mequon, New Berlin and Wauwatosa. As always, urgent care video visits are available every day from 6 a.m. - 10 p.m. Learn more about our walk-in urgent care locations and hours.

What is the status of my child’s appointment, surgery and procedure?

All appointments, surgeries and procedures should be taking place as scheduled. Call your doctor or clinic if you have questions about the status of your child's appointment.

What is your current visitor policy?

To protect the health of the kids and families we serve, Children’s Wisconsin will be temporarily updating our visitor guidelines at both our Milwaukee and Fox Valley hospitals for the remainder of this viral season. We appreciate the commitment and partnership of our patient families and staff to provide a safe environment for everyone. Below are our current visitor practices:

In our Milwaukee and Fox Valley hospital patient care units:

  • Patients without COVID-19 and without a COVID-19 exposure: Four individuals age 12 and older are allowed at the bedside. Up to five individuals are allowed on a patient’s visitor list, and that list must remain the same for the patient’s entire stay.
  • COVID-19-positive patients: Two adults are allowed at the bedside at a time. Two adults are allowed on a patient’s visitor list. These two names must remain the same for the entire stay.
  • COVID-19-exposed patients: Two adults are allowed at the bedside at a time. Four adults are allowed on a patient’s visitor list. These four names must remain the same for the entire stay.

In our Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units: Two individuals can be at the bedside at a time. Only siblings age 12 and older may visit and must be accompanied by a parent.

In our Primary Care, Urgent Care, Emergency Department, Specialty Care, imaging, outpatient laboratories, therapies and community services: Two individuals of any age may accompany a patient or client.

In our Surgicenter and surgical services on the Milwaukee campus: Two adults (age 18 and older) may accompany the patient. 

How is Children’s screening its staff for illness?

We have implemented a number of steps that will help reduce the spread of this illness – both within our care settings, and in our homes and community. All hospital and primary, urgent, and specialty care staff and providers are asked to confirm daily that they have self-screened for symptoms of illness and taken their temperatures.

Is the Skywalk Pharmacy still open?

Yes, all Skywalk Pharmacy locations (Milwaukee, New Berlin and West Allis) are open to the public and continue to offer FREE home delivery of medications.

Skywalk Pharmacy's Milwaukee location

  • Current hours are 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
  • Curbside pickup service continues to be available. Patient families using this service should drive into the North parking structure and pull into one of the two marked stalls on the second floor next to the skywalk entrance. Then they should call the pharmacy at (414) 266-1893 for a team member to deliver the prescription(s) to the car.

New Berlin location hours: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday – Friday

West Allis location hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday – Friday

Do we have to wear a mask when visiting a Children’s Wisconsin location?

Yes, all patients, families and staff must wear a mask while inside any Children's Wisconsin location. The masks should be worn the entire time you are in a facility — put it on before entering the building and take it off after leaving. If you do not have a mask, we will provide you with one.

Is Children’s requiring doctors, nurses and other staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. Most of our providers and staff received the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it was available. All members of our team will be fully vaccinated by November 15, 2021. Getting vaccinated is among the most important things we can do to protect each other and the kids and families we care for.


What is COVID-19?

Coronavirus is not new — there are many types of coronaviruses that commonly cause mild illnesses in humans. However, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new version that we haven’t seen before, and it’s highly contagious and spreading rapidly throughout the world. Variants of the original version of COVID-19 also are spreading throughout our community as well. 

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Others can get sick when they inhale those droplets or touch their mouth, nose or eyes after touching a surface where those droplets have landed.

You can learn more about COVID-19 on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.


What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath.

People develop symptoms 2 to 14 days after exposure to COVID-19.

Most people will get better within a few weeks, but those with a severe case of the disease may take a month or more to recover.


How does COVID-19 affect babies, children and teens?

Thankfully, children generally have milder forms of the illness. COVID-19 symptoms in kids range from infection without symptoms to mild upper respiratory symptoms with runny nose and cough, and rarely pneumonia requiring hospitalization.

How does COVID-19 affect children who are immunocompromised or have other chronic illnesses?

Children with certain underlying health conditions may be at higher risk to contract COVID-19 and can suffer more significant health impacts. Contact your child’s pediatrician if you have any concerns.

Examples of conditions include:

  • Chronic lung disease
  • Heart disease
  • Neurologic conditions (including muscle disorders)
  • Immunodeficiency conditions
  • Organ transplant
  • Cancer treatment
  • Treatment with medications that lower the immune system

If your child has any of the above conditions, below are general recommendations:


Do not stop using any long-term medications. Keeping chronic conditions under control is one of the best strategies to avoid more severe infection. 


Decisions about in-person and virtual school are made by local school districts with the help of local public health departments assessing community risk of COVID-19. Many schools offer families both in-person and virtual learning options.


The CDC has recommended high-risk patients avoid non-essential air travel and cruise ships. Areas of the United States and other countries experiencing high numbers of people with COVID-19 or active community spread of the virus should be avoided. If the area where you live has active community spread, avoid crowded places.

Everyday precautions:

  • Wash hands often or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, mouth or eyes as much as possible.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • If you provide care for your child that involves contact with the head and neck, wash hands thoroughly before providing care.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces.


If your child has symptoms of a cold but it is not an emergency, you can either use Children's Online Urgent Care video visits or call your child’s pediatrician. Remember that influenza and other respiratory viruses that are not COVID-19 are still making children ill and are the most common causes of fever and respiratory symptoms. An online visit or call with your doctor can help identify the cause of your child’s symptoms. 

Most patients with COVID-19 are not sick enough to require hospitalization or an emergency department visit and can be managed at home. It is best to keep your child away from the hospital unless there is a medical emergency.

Families with children with a central line should continue to follow normal guidelines for management of fever.

Who is most at-risk of getting COVID-19?

Anyone can get and/or spread COVID-19. However, adults over the age of 60 and those with underlying medical conditions are at greater risk and have shown more serious symptoms.

How can I protect myself, children and other loved ones from COVID-19?

This is an important question. While children have the same risk of contracting COVID-19, data shows they will often experience milder symptoms than adults. That can make children unknowing spreaders of the virus.

Children’s Wisconsin encourage families to follow social distancing guidelines, wash hands regularly and avoid contact between children and unvaccinated adults. In response to the Delta variant, the CDC recommends everyone over 2 years old — whether or not they have been vaccinated — to still wear a mask when they go to indoor public places.

  • Practice good hand hygiene.
    • Wash hands often and thoroughly with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds.
    • Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available.
    • Remind children to do this after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing their nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough and sneezes.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Get the flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces.

How do you get infected with COVID-19?

According to the CDC, the virus spreads through droplets produced when a person coughs or sneezes. 


What should I do if I’m concerned my child may have been exposed to COVID-19?

If your child has COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough or shortness of breath), confirmed exposure or both, please stay at home and call your child's doctor for guidance. Your child can also get COVID-19 symptoms evaluated through a video visit from Children's Online Urgent Care. Please note Children's Online Urgent Care only offers screening for COVID-19 symptoms and is not able to order a COVID-19 test. Most retail pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS offer free testing for COVID-19. 

Please do not come to a Children's Wisconsin location without calling first.

For most kids, the symptoms of COVID-19 are mild and your child's doctor will likely recommend they stay home, limit their contact with others (especially at-risk populations such as the sick or elderly) and treat the symptoms with over-the-counter medication.

You only should go to the emergency department if you are experiencing a medical emergency or are directed to go there by a medical provider. If you need immediate medical attention, please call ahead so the medical providers can take precautions to help prevent the spread of disease. This will help limit the spread of the virus in our community, as well as allow our emergency departments to care for patients with the most critical needs first.

Should I or my child get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, we recommend anyone who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine get it. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and is the greatest hope we have for our community to overcome the pandemic and return to normal activities.

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have been recommended for kids as young as 6 months old. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reviewed their safety and efficacy and approved their use. Children’s Wisconsin will be providing vaccinations to kids 6 months to 4 years old as soon as possible. Currently, Children's is only offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

While children don’t typically get as sick or have as serious of symptoms compared to adults, the new variants of the COVID-19 virus are more easily spread by children to adults. By having our children vaccinated, we prevent the virus from further infecting our community.

Kids 5+

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine had already been approved for kids 5+. If you’d like to schedule your child’s first dose, you can schedule an appointment now. Additionally, if your child received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least five months ago, it’s also recommended they get a booster dose.

If your child is a Children’s Wisconsin primary care patient, you can schedule their COVID-19 vaccine first dose or booster shot through MyChart. If you don’t have MyChart, it’s easy to set up and free of charge. You can also call (414) 266-3959. Additionally, if you have an upcoming appointment at one of our primary care offices, your child can also get the vaccine at that time.

If your child is NOT a Children’s Wisconsin primary care patient, but you wish to get them vaccinated for COVID-19, parents and caregivers may schedule by calling (414) 266-3959. Availability varies by location.


What treatments are available?

Monoclonal antibody treatment for children with certain high risk conditions is available at Children’s Wisconsin. Learn more.


Can I donate personal protective equipment (PPE), including homemade masks?

At this time, Children’s Wisconsin does not have critical PPE supply needs. We thank you for being a supportive member of our hospital community.

Is it safe to donate blood and plasma?

Yes, it is safe to donate blood and plasma if you are not experiencing any symptoms and meet all other eligibility criteria. Learn more about donating blood at the Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin.


Should I wear a mask in public?

Anyone who is not vaccinated should still wear a mask when in public indoor places. However, the CDC recently updated their mask recommendations in response to the Delta variant and is encouraging those who are fully vaccinated and live in “an area of substantial or high transmission” to also wear a mask indoors in public. Masks are a simple and effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones, including your young children. 

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or two weeks after their single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Be sure to check with the CDC website for the most up-to-date recommendations and follow any federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.


Is it safe to send my child to school or daycare?

As the CDC guidance for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools indicates, students benefit from in-person learning. By taking important steps to get more eligible students vaccinated and implementing prevention strategies, including indoor masking in K-12 schools, we can get more students back into classrooms across the country. The U.S. Department of Education provides a free online resource to help parents with this. Visit their Return to School Roadmap for more information on keeping kids safe at school this year. Parents can help by encouraging kids to practice good hand hygiene, finding them a mask that fits properly and keeping them home when they’re sick.

How should I talk to my child about COVID-19?

Chances are, your child has heard about COVID-19 — whether it’s at school or by overhearing news coverage or grown-up conversations. Fortunately, most parents have all the skills necessary to help kids deal with questions and calm their fears.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Ask questions. No matter the age, start by asking the child what they already know or have heard. Then ask what questions they have. 
  • Keep it simple. In general, it is best to share basic information only and skip the graphic or unnecessary information. 
  • Avoid overexposure. Try to keep younger children away from repeated graphic images and stories on television and social media. Often, the same stories are shared numerous times on different broadcasts or sites, and while we can understand that it’s the same story told again, children can easily misinterpret these stories as separate and as happening more often than they actually are.
  • Watch what they watch. With older children, try to make sure you are watching these news stories with them so you hear the information they are hearing and can observe their reaction. This way, you can discuss it with them in real time, which can be more impactful.
  • Normalize their feelings. You can help your child process their feelings by letting them know that what they’re feeling is normal. For example, “It is normal to feel sad and worried, or maybe even a little mad that this has happened. I feel that way, too.”
  • Wrap up with the good. Like Mr. Rogers always said, “Look for the helpers.” Let children know that there are people in our community helping — firefighters and EMTs, doctors and nurses, police and government officials who are working hard to keep people safe, and families, friends and caregivers who are taking care of their loved ones.
  • Be patient and repeat if necessary. Children often ask questions over and over. Yes, they’re listening, but they need that repetition to understand and feel comforted.

What resources are available in the community?

View a list of resources available in the community that can help families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is it safe for my child to return to youth sports?

Before returning to athletics, consult with state and local health departments as their municipal and county regulations must be satisfied when developing a return to play protocol.