COVID-19 Response

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COVID-19: The Children's Hospital of San Antonio Information and Updates April 29, 2020

Universal Masking

Effective 5/4: To make sure we continue to follow the CDC's recommendation for Universal Masking; we are asking all patients, visitors and employees to wear a mask while visiting our facilities.

Homemade cloth masks are appropriate for visiting our clinics, you can follow instructions to make a safe mask here.

We are committed to ensuring that our clinics continue to be a safe place to receive care – we appreciate your continued support and understanding as we implement these guidelines.


CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System and The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio to Resume Elective Procedures and Surgeries

CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System and The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio are preparing to resume elective procedures and surgeries on April 22, consistent with the provisions of the Governor Greg Abbott’s original order on April 17.

Our CHRISTUS Santa Rosa and Children’s Hospital facilities have secured the personal protective equipment (PPE) and excess capacity necessary to safely care for the full spectrum of medical conditions and patient needs that we have worked so hard to address in our communities for more than 150 years.

We are working with physicians now to reschedule their patients for medical and surgical procedures they were forced to postpone due to the initial order. While we all understand the reason these procedures had to be postponed, waiting has imposed a hardship on many of these patients, as many can no longer delay care for heart disease, cancer, pain, vision problems and other conditions. We are working to avoid a surge in illness and suffering as a result of deferred and delayed care.

CHRISTUS Santa Rosa is expanding its surgery scheduling to include evening and weekend availability for patients’ convenience and to ensure it is ready to provide care that has been delayed. “With the school year cut short and assignments being done from home, this is an opportune time for children to have the surgeries and procedures they need, giving them ample time to recover before the school year begins in the fall,” said Dr. Charles Hankins, President, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.

“For adults, the procedures that have been deferred are often issues that are tied to a patient’s quality of life,” explains Dr. Ian Thompson, President, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Hospital – Medical Center. “Some of these procedures will even help patients to live longer. Because of that, it is important that we get these patients back into our operating rooms when medically necessary, as quickly as we can. However, as we’ve done with each of our past surgeries and procedures throughout our history, we must ensure the safety of our patients, Associates and physicians first,” said Dr. Thompson.

CHRISTUS Santa Rosa and The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio practice infection prevention every day, and recently demonstrated that the health system is on the cutting edge of infection prevention for the San Antonio and surrounding communities, by offering antibody testing for some patients, Associates and physicians. This new screening tool allows the hospital to test these groups for antibodies related to the COVID-19 virus, helping identify how each patient and caregiver can participate in a safe and caring environment.

Not only that, but leaders with CHRISTUS Santa Rosa and The Children’s Hospital have been collaborating over the few weeks to put policies and procedures in place to provide necessary, non-COVID related care to keep people safe and healthy. To keep all who enter our facilities safe, CHRISTUS facilities in San Antonio, New Braunfels and San Marcos have taken the following precautions:

  • Limiting visitors;
  • Screening everyone to include temperature checks who comes through our doors;
  • Isolating COVID-19 patients within the facility;
  • Requiring everyone on our campuses to wear masks;
  • Using telemedicine to treat active COVID-19 patients, so caregivers and support staff may limit the number of times they enter their rooms.

This may be an unprecedented time, but we have experienced many of these since CHRISTUS was founded 154 years ago. In fact, the first three Sisters who started the CHRISTUS ministry in Galveston faced an epidemic of yellow fever within the first six months of opening the very first hospital. Epidemics and tragedies have been part of CHRISTUS’ history, and so too has the resolve, after each of those challenges, to move on in love and service to those in need.

“CHRISTUS is here to answer the call to help our community – today and tomorrow. In all that we do, we are devoted to keeping patients, their families, our caregivers and our Associates safe. And we are here when you need care. We are ready,” Dr. Thompson said.


April 14, 2020

CHRISTUS Health Offers ‘Game Changer’ Antibodies Test for COVID-19

CHRISTUS Health System is first in the communities it serves to offer new screening tool

CHRISTUS Health announced today it is now offering a new screening tool to some patients, as well as doctors, nurses and other CHRISTUS Associates on the frontlines to learn who has been infected with COVID-19—AND—who might now carry protective antibodies.

“CHRISTUS Health is a safe place to receive care, with high-reliability processes and procedures for infection prevention and mitigating the spread of illness,” explained Dr. Sam Bagchi, CHRISTUS Health’s EVP and Chief Clinical Officer. “Beginning today, we are adding the unprecedented additional layer of antibody screening to help survey for asymptomatic COVID-19 infections among patients and caregivers.”

For the last several weeks, the team has quickly assessed the test’s reliability and then deployed the kits to CHRISTUS hospitals and ambulatory sites across the United States and Latin America. The test produces results in approximately 10 minutes and has been validated internally for screening for COVID-19 infections.

“CHRISTUS is the first in our communities, and is leading the nation by using advanced COVID-19 antibody testing to screen people in our facilities to determine if they have had a COVID-19 infection in the past or have one now,” said Dave Benner, PharmD, MS, MHA, FACHE Vice President, Clinical Ancillary Services.

The country’s leading scientists believe antibody-based tests to be essential in the war against COVID-19.

“This would be a game-changer in restarting parts of the economy more quickly and safely,” Dr. Harvey Fineberg, a professor in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, wrote in an April 1 editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.

CHRISTUS will first begin using the test on Associates and caregivers on the frontlines. The rapid screening tool will also be used on hospitalized patients that the clinical team believes may have been infected with COVID-19 as well as patients who are scheduled for an urgent surgery.

“People should not put off urgent and emergent procedures, and should continue to seek the care they need. We know that, regardless of COVID-19, heart attacks and strokes have not stopped. We need to be able to treat people who urgently need to be in an operating room,” said Dr. Bagchi. “With the availability of an antibody test, we can test anyone who comes in for an urgent surgery. This will allow us to reliably know if a patient has COVID-19 before they start having symptoms or might normally be tested.”

This innovative screening solution is in an addition to the ongoing PCR tests many providers, including CHRISTUS, are able to perform. PCR is a laboratory technique known as polymerase chain reaction, and is the current FDA-approved test for diagnosing patients with COVID-19.

This is part of the work that CHRISTUS continues to do every day to keep its facilities safe from the spread of infection. To keep all who enter hospitals and clinics safe we have added the following precautions:

  • Limiting visitors;
  • Screening everyone who comes through our doors;
  • Isolating COVID-19 patients to one area of the facility;
  • Random temperature checks for Associates;
  • Requiring all Associates and visitors to wear masks;
  • Using telemedicine to treat active COVID-19 patients, so their caregivers and support staff limit the number of times they enter their rooms.
  • Virtual medicine is now available in every one of the CHRISTUS ministries at christushealth.org/virtual-medicine

Updated Visitors Guidelines (beginning Monday, April 6)

Beginning Monday, April 6, patients and their adult caregivers will be required to wear a mask while in the hospital or in the outpatient clinics.  Please bring your own mask or face cover (such as a bandanna).  We are conserving hospital masks for our health care workers.  Hospitalized patients do not have to wear a mask while in their rooms.

Updated Visitor Guidelines (beginning Saturday, March 21 at 6 a.m.):

Applies to The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, Goldsbury Center for Children and Families and The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Emergency Centers in Westover Hills and Stone Oak, Multispecialty Clinics and Pediatric Primary Care locations.

Only one (1) adult caregiver will be allowed to accompany a patient.

No siblings or additional family members will be allowed on campus.

Visitors will undergo a temperature screening and must answer the current COVID-19 risk factor questionnaire.

Screening Guideline:
Have you or anyone in your household travelled outside of Texas within the last 14 days?
Are you experiencing any of the following risk factors:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Runny Nose
  • GI symptoms (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, pain) 
  • Temperature will be taken by screener

March 20, 2020 - 12:00 p.m.

As the demands of the current COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve in our community, The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio wants to keep our communities informed about our approach to elective procedures and "non-essential" procedures.

The federal government has recommended that Americans postpone elective surgeries to increase capacity at medical facilities, and the American College of Surgeons has suggested a thoughtful approach to elective procedures. These announcements emphasize that health systems allow for local decision making as part of the overall process and it highlights the many factors we must consider when deciding to move forward with a procedure.

The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio has carefully considered these recommendations, how they impact the children we serve, and will remain open for necessary elective procedures. We understand that especially in children not all elective procedures are equivalent, and that if we delay care for a prolonged period of time, many issues may become emergent. In many cases, procedures labeled as "elective" are necessary to answer diagnostic questions, or to resolve pain or mobility issues impacting quality of life. So, we are taking a thoughtful approach, guided by our physician leaders and Chief Medical Officers, who will work together with each patient’s physician to help navigate these challenging decisions together to ensure the best outcome for our children and the community.

Our leaders and infection control experts continue meeting daily to monitor the ever-changing situation and respond swiftly and appropriately. This is an unprecedented event in modern medicine and we are learning every day, so as the facts change and we understand more about the progression of this disease and the demands it places on our providers, staffs and resources, we will work together to adjust our policy and practice to ensure we never compromise on providing the best care for our children and pregnant patients.

We want to be perfectly clear: The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio remains a safe place for all children and expectant mothers to receive quality care. While COVID-19 is new, our processes and procedures in place for infection prevention and preventing the spread of illness are not. From physicians and nurses, quality and safety experts to those responsible for ordering supplies and keeping the hospital clean — all our Associates are involved in making sure we provide a safe environment for our patients. Every single day.


March 18, 2020

New Visitor Guidelines

Our number one priority is for the safety of our patients and their families who we are privileged to care for. As the COVID-19 virus continues to threaten our nation and community, we are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our patients. We have implemented new patient visitation guidelines and are now screening all visitors who enter our hospitals. Please read the following guidelines and share with your family and friends so that your next visit to The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio is worry-free.

  • New visiting hours: 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • One caregiver and one additional family member per patient

Visitors, prior to entering the patient floor, will be required to undergo a screening process (4 questions) and will be asked to sign-in and wear a visitor color wristband. 

Visitors will be guided to one entrance of The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio and the Goldsbury Center for Children and Families (CCF) during visiting hours. The entrance to the Emergency Room will remain open 24/7. In addition, our valet service is suspended.


We thank you for your support and appreciate your patience during this unprecedented time.


CHRISTUS values the importance of collaboration and coordinated action for the identification and care of those patients exhibiting signs of the COVID-19. Which is why we continue to follow CDC interim guidelines and work non-stop, in partnership with local, state and federal government authorities. We are fortunate to be part of a local health care community committed to responding to the needs of these patients in the safest manner necessary.

In the event that possible coronavirus patients need hospitalization after screening, we have identified a portion of our facility as the best place to allow us to isolate and safely care for any potential patients without risk of transmission to other parts of the facility.

At CHRISTUS, we have always screened visitors to our clinical points of access for international travel, to assess for various evolving infectious disease risks, including this one.  If a patient meets the current CDC criteria, and is exhibiting symptoms consistent with the virus, we will isolate the patient in a private room and take proper respiratory precautions to safely assess and treat them 

It’s still flu season. We continue to encourage all our patients and the community to practice good respiratory hygiene habits, like washing hands frequently and covering mouths while coughing especially during times like this where catching the flu is a far greater risk.

CHRISTUS Health currently convenes daily, sometimes more, to check in on our emergency preparedness plans. We have had many hands on deck during this process. Nearly everyone — from physicians and nurses, quality and safety experts to those responsible for ordering supplies and keeping the hospital clean — is involved in making sure we can do best for our patients our Associates and this community we serve.