The major reason it’s not recommended but urged that you stay quarantined if you feel like you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms is because of the obvious — if you do have COVID-19, you could infect others. But we already know some people are being quite careless and selfish and are doing what benefits them as opposed to what is best for the greater good. A prime example of that is a New York man who, exposed to coronavirus, hid his symptoms so he could be with his wife in the maternity unit.
Per NBC News, the wife gave birth in an upstate New York hospital, Strong Memorial Hospital, and the unidentified man was by her side during delivery. When questioned beforehand by hospital staff, he said he was in good health and hadn’t been in contact with anyone who had the virus. Soon after delivery, the woman began to experience symptoms.
“That’s when the significant other admitted his potential exposure and that he was feeling symptomatic,” the hospital’s spokesman Chip Partner told the publication Democrat & Chronicle, who first reported about the matter.
The incident occurred within the last week, and because of it, the system over Strong, UR Medicine, revealed that the few guests allowed in the hospital at this point, pretty much co-parents or a birthing partner of mothers giving birth, were going to be required to have their temperatures taken upon entry to the facility and four other affiliated hospitals.
“It was purely an honor system before,” Partner said. “Now we’re adding the temperature check.”
Before, if visitors said they weren’t experiencing any symptoms and didn’t meet any other criteria that could be an issue, they were allowed into the hospital. Now, body temperatures will be checked for fever, which is a big sign of coronavirus infection. If they pass and remain in the hospital with the delivering mom for a long time, they will be tested every 12 hours.
In this particular case, maternity staff were informed that they could have possibly been exposed, but were allowed to work as long as they continued to be asymptomatic, which was monitored by temperature checks throughout shifts. One staff member who fell ill with respiratory symptoms was tested but found to be negative for coronavirus. She was sent off to be quarantined nonetheless.
This incident comes around the time of recent policy changes in New York where hospitals looking to thwart the spread of the virus, particularly among patients and staff, stopped allowing most visitors, with the exception of a birthing partner. However, some systems in NYC took things a step further, banning all visitors for women giving birth, causing some to have to deliver without anyone present during delivery or afterward aside from nurses and doctors. The move left many expectant mothers full of anxiety and fear at the idea of being alone during such a time. Not only did doulas speak out, but petitions were also created. Governor Cuomo would eventually intervene. He tweeted out over the weekend that “In no hospital in New York will a woman be forced to be alone when she gives birth. Not now, not ever.” An executive order was announced for issuance that would bar public and private hospitals throughout the state from keeping a woman from having a partner with her in the labor and delivery room. This followed the Department of Health’s orders to hospitals on Friday that they were required to allow a partner.
But with people out here like this man lying to medical staff about his exposure, it’s definitely important that precautions, including the consistent temperature tests, are taken in order to protect our medical workers, hospital patients, moms-to-be, and, of course, their children.
This story was originally published on MadameNoire.com.