Man hides coronavirus symptoms to visit wife in New York maternity ward

A man with COVID-19 symptoms reportedly hid them from staff at an upstate New York hospital so he could visit his wife in a maternity ward.

The man, per NBC New York, had also been exposed to the novel coronavirus. He only revealed the truth when his wife began showing symptoms after giving birth.

Rochester’s UR Medicine says it will now be taking the temperature of all visitors to its hospitals’ maternity units in effort to control what was once an honour system.

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‘The unknowns’ — Giving birth amidst the worldwide coronavirus pandemic

“It was purely an honour system before,” spokesperson Chip Partner told the Democrat and Chronicle. “Now we’re adding the temperature check.”

UR Medicine and Rochester Regional Health now also require staff, patients and visitors to wear surgical masks, according to the Rochester newspaper.

The hospital, because of privacy laws, hasn’t revealed whether the mother, father or newborn child were infected with the virus, NBC reports.

A nurse tending to the new mom tested negative for COVID-19, UR Medicine spokesperson Barbara Ficarra told NBC News.

In Canada over the next two months, approximately 60,000 women are set to give birth.

“Being confirmed positive, there is no additional risk to the labour,” Ontario midwife Sara Cooper told Global News. “However, you will have to give birth in a hospital.”

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Pregnant people not at increased risk for coronavirus, experts say

“You will be limited to one support person and they can’t leave,” Cooper added.

For many, this means the option of having a doula in the room, alongside a partner, would not be possible.

Experts say pregnant people are not at an increased risk for coronavirus, despite the fact that respiratory illnesses typically affect pregnant people disproportionately.

“There is no evidence that pregnant women are at increased risk from COVID-19,” Dr. Brett Belchetz, a Toronto-based emergency room physician and CEO of telehealth company Maple, told Global News.

“This appears different from the flu, for example, where pregnant women typically are at greater risk of flu complications.”

Belchetz also added that so far, there is “no evidence that COVID infection is passed on to the fetus or has any effect on the fetus.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whether a pregnant person with COVID-19 can transmit the virus to their fetus before, during or after delivery is still unknown.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

—With files from Global News reporters Jamie Mauracher and Laura Hensley.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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