A New York woman began exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, shortly after giving birth last week. Officials from Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, New York, said the woman's husband hid his COVID-19 symptoms so he could visit her in the maternity ward. According to the hospital, the man admitted to having been exposed to COVID-19 and feeling ill himself after his wife began to display symptoms.
"After the mother exhibited symptoms, and the [obstetrics] team learned that the partner had been exposed to COVID-19 and was symptomatic, the patient was tested and all staff who had been in contact were informed of their possible exposure," the University of Rochester Medical Center, which includes Strong Memorial Hospital, said in a statement issued Tuesday. "The patient in question and her partner were in a private maternity room throughout their hospital stay. Both the mother and partner were isolated from other patients."
While none of the involved hospital staff have since tested positive for COVID-19, one staff member was quarantined at home after they began to develop symptoms. That staffer later tested negative for COVID-19. "Per hospital protocols, staff members without symptoms continued to work while masked, monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19, and having their temperatures checked twice daily," the hospital network said.
Over the weekend, the University of Rochester Medical Center tweaked its zero-visitation policy following the release of updated hospital safety guidelines from the New York State Department of Health. While visitors are no longer permitted, the initial policy allows for pediatric and obstetrics patients to have one visitor for the duration of their stay. Previously, however, hospital staff merely asked visitors if they felt ill, were experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, or had contact with someone presumed to have COVID-19.
Under the newly updated policy, hospital staff will now screen an obstetrics patient's support person for symptoms, including fever, twice daily for the duration of the patient's hospitalization. Additionally, the support person will be required to remain with their patient at all times and will not be allowed to leave the patient's room. No exceptions will be made for those wishing to step outside to get food or smoke, according to the updated policy.
Additionally, both UR Medicine and Rochester Regional Health moved Tuesday to implement a universal-masking policy, which requires all providers, staff, and visitors to wear surgical masks at all times in public, clinical areas. However, a spokesperson for the medical center tells Romper that neither policy change was a direct result of last week's incident and both policies would have been implemented whether or not the incident had taken place.
As for the new parents, the University of Rochester Medical Center said that, after being discharged from the hospital, the couple was asked to self-quarantine at home pending their own test.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.