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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — To help parents care for sick children at home, Children’s Mercy Hospital is now offering an online screening tool.

While health care workers battle the coronavirus there are still children getting sick with all sorts of other illnesses that typically happen every year.

And it can be a parent’s worst nightmare to have a sick child right now, and not know if it’s COVID-19.

Doctors at Children’s Mercy don’t want parents to rush children to the hospital and risk exposure to the coronavirus in the emergency room, if they can be safely treated at home

The virtual screening tool establishes a video link with nurses and, if necessary, doctors at Children’s Mercy who can evaluate a child from the safety of their home.

“My biggest concern is having families be so concerned that they have a sick child and fear going to the ER,” said Dr. Chelsea Johnson, director of Kids Care Anywhere Telemedicine at the hospital.

“They wait too long. This is one way we can make sure we can get into the home quickly and see the child in real time. If the event is a true emergency and we need to help them, get them seen and have everybody be safe during an in person visit.”

Telemedicine screeners see as many as eight or nine patients a day and are used in conjunction with Children’s Mercy’s Covid hotline, where 45 nurses give advice and consult with parents around the clock.

This helps health care professionals focus their resources and limited protective gear on the sickest of the sick, those who need to be in the hospital.

The phone number to the COVID-19 hotline is (816) 302- 8800.

To complete virtual screening for your child online click or tap here.