Infectious Diseases

Information on COVID-19 Coronavirus


  • Driscoll Children’s Hospital Updated Visitation Policy
    Effective September 25, 2020

Dear Parent,

To ensure the health and safety of our patients, families, employees, physicians and community, Driscoll Children’s Hospital has updated our visitation policy for both our hospital and clinic patients.

Effective Sept. 25, 2020, two (2) adult primary caregivers will be allowed per patient in the Emergency Department, Day Surgery and inpatient care areas of Driscoll Children’s Hospital; we prefer to have the same two (2) primary caregivers for the duration of your child’s stay. Only one (1) adult primary caregiver will be allowed for Driscoll outpatient clinics, lab and radiology.

If during your child’s hospitalization you develop symptoms of a respiratory infection (cough, fever, shortness of breath) contact your child’s nurse immediately. If during your child’s hospitalization you have contact with a person that is Covid-19 positive or a Person Under Investigation (PUI) for Covid-19, contact your child’s nurse immediately.

If you have been given a white or pink band during the screening process, you will be restricted to your child’s room. We will work with you to provide necessary accommodations to include meal delivery.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we continue to work to enhance an environment that keeps us all safe.

Please contact the Patient Relations Department if you have any questions or concerns at (361) 694-4035.

We will continue to monitor Covid-19 numbers in our communities. If numbers change, we will adjust our caregiver numbers per patient accordingly.

Driscoll Health System, which consists of Driscoll Children’s Hospital, our specialty centers, clinics and health plan offices located throughout South Texas are meeting and/or exceeding all CDC guidelines to keep our facilities safe for our patients, members, families, employees, volunteers and physicians. With the number of COVID-19 cases increasing in Texas, Driscoll Children’s Hospital continues to follow our protocols of maintaining physical distancing where possible, using face masks and practicing proper hand hygiene. Driscoll has more than 2,600 employees, both clinical and non-clinical, spread out between Corpus Christi, Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen, Laredo and Victoria. We have the appropriate amount of PPE to protect our employees and patients. Driscoll is safe for your child and you.

To meet the demands of the community, Driscoll Children’s Hospital is operating a drive thru testing center to accommodate pediatric patients who meet testing criteria. Please contact your child’s Primary Care Physician (PCP) to see if your child qualifies for testing. If your PCP decides to test your child, a representative from Driscoll Children’s Hospital will contact you with instructions on when and where the test will be collected. The drive thru tests are by appointment only and require a physician’s order. Results will be sent to your physician’s office anywhere from 1-5 days.

Most fever, cough, and cold symptoms can be managed at home with over-the-counter medications like Tylenol, Motrin and oral hydration fluids like Pedialyte. However, we encourage you to bring your child to the Emergency Department if:

       – Child  is having difficulty breathing

       – Child is dehydrated (crying without tears, infrequent urination)

       – Child is overly drowsy or hard to wake

Fever (a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees) in babies less than 3 months old should prompt you to call your primary care physician or bring your child to the Emergency Department.

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19

Q: Aside from masks and hand-washing, what is the biggest safety tip you could offer to the public?
A: Maintain physical distancing of 6 feet or more from others, limit the number of people you come in contact with and utilize curbside pickup whenever possible. Being outside is safer than being indoors in an enclosed environment.

Q: How can we keep safe now that numbers are increasing?
A: Everyone needs to wear a mask, maintain 6 feet or more of physical distancing, limit the number of people they come in contact with and practice proper hand sanitization. When wearing a mask, it is important to wear it so that it properly covers your mouth and nose. Do not pull down your mask when talking, coughing or sneezing.

Q: How do we keep our kids safe?
A: The same measures that apply to adults apply to children. However, kids two and under are very unlikely to tolerate a mask. Further, those with special needs who can’t tolerate a mask, regardless of age, can make appropriate accommodations.

Q: Are children still being less affected by COVID-19 than other age groups? Why is this?
A: There is research that suggests that young children don’t have as many receptors developed in the lining of the nose, lungs and heart that COVID-19 latches onto. More studies are currently being done to determine other possible reasons why children have been less affected.

Q: Please explain the importance of wearing masks. How do you convince everyone they need to be wearing them?
A: Countries around the world that have more masking in their culture have done better with curtailing the transmission of COVID-19. It is important for everyone to do their part. Wearing a mask is a sign that you care for others around you. There are a significant number of people (30% or more) who do not know they are infected and who can spread the virus, so it is important to always wear a mask, whether or not you have any symptoms of COVID-19.


Driscoll physicians urge public to follow COVID-19 precautions

CORPUS CHRISTI – As the number of COVID-19 cases in Texas increase, physicians at Driscoll Children’s Hospital urge the public to continue following all safety precautions to fight the coronavirus.

Wearing masks and practicing physical distancing and proper hand sanitation remain the most effective ways to contain COVID-19.

“This is a time to express our love by wearing a mask,” said Mary Dale Peterson, MD, MSHCA, Executive Vice President and COO of Driscoll Health System, since the mask protects each person and those around him.

“You need to wear the mask all the time you are outside your home in public places where physical distancing may not be possible,” said Jaime Fergie, MD, Director of Infectious Diseases at Driscoll Children’s Hospital, whether a person is sick or not, for the protection of all.

“Now is the time to work together as a community,” said Dr. Peterson.

Dr. Fergie agreed: “Everybody must do their part.”

“Wearing a mask really does make a difference,” said Dr. Peterson. “We need to go back to basics.”

Dr. Fergie explained that wearing a mask shows strength, not weakness: “It’s a sign that you care about the people around you.”

To Dr. Peterson, taking the precaution of wearing a mask is like observing the Golden Rule: “If we care about people around us, we will wear a mask.”

Physical distancing also is critical. Dr. Fergie emphasized limiting the number of people a person is around, adding “being outside is safer than being inside.”

Dr. Peterson suggested surrounding ourselves with smaller groups, “so we can maintain some form of socialization and limit the potential for exposure to the virus.”

“We are seeing a huge increase in cases in Texas,” said Dr. Peterson. “This is a more generalized community spread which makes contact tracing very difficult.”

Once the coronavirus takes hold, the transmission rate becomes exponential and “progresses up,” she said.

To keep the pandemic from spreading exponentially, the transmission rate must go down below one, meaning that one infected person transmits the illness to less than one other person.

“Right now, we are seeing absolutely the opposite,” said Dr. Fergie.

“There is no magic bullet, no cure per se,” said Dr. Peterson. “We need everybody’s help to keep the transmission rate down.”

Please contact the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) if you have any questions or would like more information:

DSHS COVID-19 Call Center: 1-877-570-9779
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. everyday

For local assistance, see the listing of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Local Health Entities.

Driscoll Children’s Hospital is gratefully accepting donations of handmade face masks. For more information on patterns, materials and delivery of masks, please click here. Individuals or companies interested in making a donations of supplies should contact Volunteer Services at (361) 694- 5012.