CHOC’s outdoor evaluation center offers COVID-19 testing for children who have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as well as children who require a test before an upcoming procedure.
We understand that having a child undergo a COVID-19 test can be stressful for parents, so we’ve prepared this guide on what to expect.
What to know before your appointment
- You will be notified in advance by phone of your appointment time at the outdoor evaluation center. Children with possible exposure or those experiencing symptoms will first have a telehealth visit.
- The outdoor evaluation center is an outdoor area with large tents.
- Wait in your car until a CHOC employee comes to check you in. Please ensure all vehicle passengers wear a mask.
- Your child should stay seated in the car and wearing a seatbelt.
- A nurse or respiratory therapist will ask you a few questions and take your child’s temperature before beginning the test.
- They will wear yellow or white gowns, gloves, masks and face shields.
What to expect from your child’s COVID-19 test
The COVID-19 test is done using a nasal swab. This might sound scary, but if your child can relax, the test takes just 5 seconds.
There are some things you can do to make the process easier:
- Bring a small comfort item for your child to hold.
- You can try sitting next to your child and holding their wrists, if necessary.
- Parents may sit younger children in their laps and wrap their arms around them.
- The provider can also help hold your child steady, if necessary.
- After counting to 5, the provider will insert the swab into the back of the child’s nose, twist it and then pull it out. Inserting the swab this far into the nose is necessary to ensure the provider gets a proper specimen.
- The test feels funny. It may feel similar to when water gets in your nose at the pool or beach. Your child might sneeze, and their eyes may water.
Waiting for your child’s COVID-19 test results:
Awaiting testing results can be worrying, and we want to clarify the process and what parents can expect.
If your child underwent a COVID-19 test before a scheduled procedure — and the test is positive, you will receive a telephone call by the end of the day or, in some cases, early the next morning. Any scheduled procedure will be canceled. If the test is negative, you will not be contacted.
If their test was negative, you should come for the procedure as scheduled. After the test, your son or daughter should stay at home until their procedure the next day to prevent COVID-19 exposure. Parents will not be tested for COVID-19. Instead, they must pass a health screening at the hospital upon arrival for their child’s procedure the next day. They must also wear a mask.
If your child underwent a COVID-19 test due to COVID-10 exposure or symptoms — you will receive a phone call with your child’s test results, which may take up to 14 days.
Even if the test is negative, the child should isolate at home for 14 days after contact with someone who has COVID-19. If the child has shown COVID-19 symptoms, they should isolate at home for 10 days after symptoms began and for at least 24 hours after a fever has resolved.
For more health and wellness resources from the pediatric experts at CHOC, sign up for the Kids Health newsletter.
How to prevent and treat respiratory illnesses this season
Unfortunately, many kids get infected with respiratory illnesses in the fall and winter seasons. CHOC experts highly encourage all eligible members of households to receive their annual flu shots. Other preventative measures like good hygiene and staying home when sick can help protect families from illness. The following articles and guides provide more information.
Get answers to your frequently asked questions – and some peace of mind – with this complete guide to COVID-19 vaccines from CHOC pediatric experts.