OBJECTIVES: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to pediatric transport programs . The aims of this study were to describe the transport of pediatric patients with confirmed COVID-19 and to review the operational challenges that our transport system encountered .
METHODS: A retrospective descriptive study was performed to review all COVID-19 pediatric transport performed over a 6-month period during the initial pandemic surge in 2020 . Pediatric patients with a known positive SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction test at the time of transport were included . Patients' hospital records, including their transport record, were reviewed for demographics, diagnoses, transport interventions and complications, and admission disposition . Descriptive statistics were used to describe the patient cohort .
RESULTS: Of the 883 transports performed between April and October 2020 , 146 (16 %) tested positive for COVID-19 during the initial surge in our geographical area . Patient acuity was diverse with 40% of children having a chronic complex medical condition . More than 25% of children required aerosol-generating procedures during transport . The most common medical diagnosis was respiratory compromise, and the most common surgical diagnosis was appendicitis . No adverse events occurred during transports, and no transport team members contracted COVID-19 because of workplace exposure . Transport program operational challenges ranged from rapidly changing system logistics/policies to educational and utilization of proper personal protective equipment .
CONCLUSIONS: Children with COVID-19 can be transported safely with adaption of transport program procedures . Change management and team stress should be anticipated and can be addressed with repeated education and messaging.