Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update for Parents

Updated September 2023

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get an updated COVID-19 vaccine. 

The CDC recommends everyone age 6 months and older should get the 2023-2024 updated COVID-19 vaccine. The 2023-24 updated COVID-19 vaccines more closely target the most current variants. In addition to restoring protection against COVID-19 that may have decreased over time, these updated vaccines will also be better at fighting currently circulating variants. 

Visit our pediatric COVID-19 vaccine information page for the latest details. 

Latest Information from Michigan Medicine

COVID-19 Vaccine Info

Get the latest info about how we are preparing to vaccinate children & adolescents.

Updated Visitor Guidelines

Find out about the most recent visitor guideline updates for our clinics and hospitals.

COVID-19 Information and Updates for Our Patients

What is Novel Coronavirus COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, human coronaviruses are common throughout the world and usually cause mild to moderate illness in people. But certain people are at risk for severe disease, including people who are older than 60 and people with underlying health conditions.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure to the virus. They include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to isolate at home during their illness. You should restrict activities outside your home, except for getting medical care.

Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing).

Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19.

I think my child has coronavirus or COVID-19, what do I do?

If you would like to be evaluated for COVID-19, see the options below. Please note: Stay at home and away from others if you are sick. In many cases, COVID-19 can be managed without emergency care. 

For Patients: There are three options for established Michigan Medicine patients who want to be evaluated for COVID. 

  • Schedule a Virtual Care Visit: Submit an E-Visit or Urgent Care Video Visit request for prompt evaluation for COVID-19. Visit our Virtual Care page or log in to the MyUofMHealth patient portal to get started. 
  • Call the COVID-19 Hotline for Patients: The hotline is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week, to answer COVID-19 questions. Call 734-763-6336 to reach the hotline. 
  • Contact Your Primary Care Provider: If you are an established patient of a Michigan Medicine primary care provider, contact your clinic with questions or to be evaluated for COVID-19. Find your doctor using our Find a Doctor tool, or search by location

If you are not a Michigan Medicine patient and are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, contact your primary care provider. If you do not have a primary care provider, contact the State of Michigan Coronavirus Hotline at 888-535-6136. 


If you test positive for COVID-19 at a non-U-M testing provider, please notify your Michigan Medicine provider through the MyUofMHealth patient portal or by calling your clinic. 

What if my child does not have a primary care physician?

If you are not in an emergency situation, the best thing to do is to keep your child at home. In many cases, COVID-19 can be managed without emergency care. However, if your symptoms are severe and you are in an emergency situation, call 911 or go to your local emergency room.

How does COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:
  • Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles that contain the virus.
  • Having these small droplets and particles that contain virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
  • Touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them.

What steps can I take to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

If you or your child is ill, stay home and rest. Here are other everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  • Adults and children over the age of 2 should wear a mask. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that by covering your mouth and nose, you’re significantly lowering the chances of spreading infection through small droplets that come out of your mouth when you talk, sneeze and cough.
  • Adults and children should wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. (Check out our video: "Wash Your Hands: Fight Germs with the University of Michigan Fight Song")
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Keep your child or other family members home if they are sick.
  • If you haven’t done so, it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine.

How is COVID-19 treated?

There are currently no tested therapies proven to prevent or treat COVID-19. Treatments are instead focused on supporting the patient and managing symptoms, helping the patient to breathe, and allowing the body to fight the infection and heal. University of Michigan faculty are closely monitoring a number of potential treatments in development around the world, including several therapies currently being investigated here at Michigan Medicine.

Is my child at greater risk due to a medical condition?

According to the CDC and WHO, people at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 include older adults over 60 and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like:                                                                                                                                                                                               
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Lung disease
  • Cancer
  • People with compromised immune systems

People with compromised immune systems include those:

  • With primary or acquired immunodeficiency
  • On anti-rejection therapy following organ or bone marrow transplant
  • On biologic therapeutic agents
  • With malignant cancers or receiving or who have recently received chemotherapy
  • Receiving systemic immunosuppressive therapy, including corticosteroids equivalent to 20 mg a day of prednisone for 2 weeks or longer

If you are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, watch closely for symptoms and emergency warning signs. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor immediately.

Get medical attention immediately if you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, including:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Blue-colored lips or face

This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.