By Josie Harvey
A man who was feeling sick concealed his symptoms from the staff at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York, so he would be allowed to visit his pregnant wife in the maternity ward.
Hospital officials say the man confessed only when his wife began showing coronavirus symptoms after giving birth this past week. On Monday, the hospital started checking the temperature of all visitors to the maternity centres.
“The mother became symptomatic shortly after delivering. That’s when the significant other admitted his potential exposure and that he was feeling symptomatic,” University of Rochester Medicine spokesperson Chip Partner told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
In a statement provided to HuffPost, Partner said no involved staff members had tested positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus.
“One staff member developed symptoms, was quarantined at home, and later tested negative for COVID-19. The couple and their baby were asked to quarantine, pending testing results, to protect the community and were discharged from the hospital,” he said.
Following the incident, the University of Rochester Medicine group, which includes Strong Memorial Hospital, Highland Hospital and several other affiliate hospitals, announced a ban on visitors, with the limited exceptions required to undergo screening, per New York State Department of Health guidelines.
Previously, the hospital relied on “purely an honour system,” Partner told Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
UR Medicine had already limited visitation two weeks ago, as did a number of other hospitals throughout the state, and would ask visitors on arrival if they had any COVID-19 symptoms or any potential exposure to the coronavirus.
Now a temperature check and screen for symptoms will be enforced.
One support person for pregnant patients is still permitted given they pass a twice-daily screening. They will not be allowed to leave the patient’s room without the patient at any time, according to the UR Medicine website. Guardians for minors are also allowed.
The UR Medicine group, as well as Rochester Regional Health, also announced Monday a new universal-masking policy. All providers, staff and visitors in health care facilities will be required to wear masks in an effort to reduce transmission and limit exposure of the virus to vulnerable patients and medical staff.
Earlier this month, several hospital operators said they would ban spouses, birthing coaches or other support people from delivery rooms as a COVID-19 safety measure. However, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) intervened with an executive order announced Saturday that all hospitals must allow a support person (who does not have a fever) to be present during birth.
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