About Newborn Screening Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Newborn Screening
Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be scary and tough to navigate. Being informed and prepared can help you get through the pandemic and beyond.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a viral illness that can affect your lungs and airways. COVID-19 spreads from person to person. People with COVID-19 typically show the following symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- And more
If you are concerned that you may have COVID-19, please call your healthcare provider to discuss how to safely receive testing
Find out more about COVID-19 on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
How should I protect myself and others?
You can reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19 and avoid spreading it to others by taking several simple actions:
Stay home as much as possible
- Work from home, if possible
- Avoid gatherings with friends and family who don’t live with you
- Ask your healthcare provider if you can get an additional emergency refill on your prescriptions
- Wear a mask or face covering when you have to go out
- The CDC has issued guidelines on how to correctly wear a mask
Keep a distance of 6 feet between you and people who don’t live with you
- 6 feet is about the length of a bicycle or a hockey stick
- Avoid large crowds
Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Cover your mouth with your arm, the inside of your elbow, or a tissue to keep your hands clean
Regularly clean surfaces that you touch often
- Use a disinfectant with at least 60% alcohol or another household cleaner
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds
- Use warm water and soap
- Wash your hands often
- If you need to wash your hands, but don’t have access to running water and soap, you can use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- If you have touched one of these areas, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer afterwards to keep your hands clean
It’s ok to feel afraid or unsure of what will happen
- Take steps to protect yourself and your family to reduce your risk of exposure as much as possible
- Take care of your physical and mental health during this stressful time
Find out more about actions you can take on the CDC website.
How does COVID-19 impact newborn screening?
Health screenings and check-ups are still important for new babies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health screenings and checkups can help families make informed decisions about how to protect themselves. The COVID-19 pandemic should not impact the ability to get routine newborn screening done. However, additional precautions may need to be taken for follow-up testing after newborn screening results come back.
Newborn screening is an important health screening for babies
Newborn screening conditions may have serious symptoms in the first few days of life. Babies with newborn screening conditions still need to receive monitoring and treatment in a timely manner for newborn screening conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. State and territory newborn screening programs are still performing newborn screening. Babies should still recieve newborn screening during the COVID-19 pandemic. All three components (blood spot screening, hearing, and CCHD screening) of newborn screening are essential for babies and should still occur during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you or someone you know have concerns about access to any part of the screen or are being denied services, please get in touch with the state or territory's newborn screening program. The contact information for each newborn screening program is listed on our state pages.
Please get in touch with Baby's First Test through our contact form for help reaching a newborn screening program.
Families and healthcare providers still need to know newborn screening results
If a baby has a positive (out-of-range) newborn screening result, it’s ok and normal to be scared. It’s important to quickly follow any recommendations for follow-up testing or treatment. The baby’s health care providers will help make informed decisions about medical care and protecting the baby during this time of COVID-19.
Here are some steps to safely follow-up on newborn screening results during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Quickly follow instructions for follow-up testing
- Ask the follow-up testing location about processes to be aware of to limit the family’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19
- Quickly get in touch with a specialist to ask about treatment, if needed
- Ask the specialist about steps to limit risk of exposure to COVID-19 at the speciality clinic
When getting in touch with the baby’s healthcare provider, here are some questions to ask to understand how to limit risk of exposure to COVID-19:
- What processes does your office have in place to limit risk of exposure to COVID-19?
- What protections does the office or laboratory have in place for those who need for follow-up testing?
- Is it possible to do a telehealth appointment?
- Are any medications or prescriptions needed to manage the baby’s health? Can you order or refill this prescription so the family is prepared to stay home?
We continue to learn more about COVID-19 and how to stay safe, so it is helpful to stay informed of updated guidance. Healthcare providers and other health professionals are here to support families as everyone navigates the COVID-19 pandemic together.
Here is a list of reliable sources of information to stay updated on guidance and advice:
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- Federal health agencies such as:
- National and local health organizations such as:
- State and local health departments
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, states may update their services or provide new guidance. Check state department of health websites for updates. Get in touch with the state newborn screening staff with questions about newborn screening in each state specifically.
It’s ok to feel scared and unsure about COVID-19. Being prepared and informed may help you feel more in control of your family’s situation. Here is a list of a few COVID-19 resources where you can find more information:
- You can find information about COVID-19 for new and expecting parents on Expecting Health’s website.
- Take Expecting Health's Navigate Newborn Screening and COVID-19: What Can You Do? educational modules to get more information about COVID-19 and newborn screening - safely from home!
- You can find COVID-19 resources for families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing on the Hands and Voices website.
If you have questions, reach out to our newborn screening experts through our Ask an Expert form.
State and Healthcare Provider Resources
If you are looking for technical assistance on how to communicate with families about COVID-19 and newborn screening, Baby’s First Test offers services at a negotiated rate. We offer specialized risk communications consultations. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Reviewed - 7/14/2020
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