KEY POINTS

  • A man admitted to concealing his symptoms so he could visit his wife in the maternity unit
  • He only admitted the truth when his wife developed symptoms after giving birth
  • The New York hospital is now enforcing stricter symptom checks

An unidentified man who had exposure to the coronavirus reportedly concealed from hospital staff that he was already feeling ill so that he would be allowed to visit his wife at the maternity unit of Strong Memorial Hospital in New York City last week. Evidently, the man only told the truth when his wife was already showing symptoms shortly after giving birth.

It is unclear whether the couple or their newborn tested positive for COVID-19 due to privacy laws but the maternity staff were informed of the potential exposure. Of the staff, one nurse who assisted the family, reportedly, presented symptoms of a respiratory illness but eventually tested negative for the coronavirus. However, she remained in quarantine for a prolonged period just to be sure.

On Monday, University of Rochester Medicine (UR Medicine) announced stricter measures that will affect the visitors of Strong Memorial Hospital and other affiliate hospitals. 

Before the incident, UR Medicine was already blocking most visitors from entering apart from a few exceptions such as the parent of a child who is hospitalized, a spouse, or someone whose loved one is close to the end of their lives. However, those visitors were let into the hospitals on an "honor system," which means that they were asked if they were ill and whether they have had contact with someone who may have COVID-19. 

Now, the visitors will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms via stricter measures such as temperature checks and anyone presenting symptoms will be asked to leave the hospital. 

Only one support person will be allowed to be with obstetric patients throughout the stay at the hospital but the support person must stay with the patient at all times and will not be allowed to leave the patient's room.

All doctors, staff and visitors are now also required to wear masks. However, requiring the use of masks is said to be unrelated to the incident at Strong Memorial Hospital. 

These past weeks, many hospitals in New York have been enforcing stricter measures to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. As of March 31, the state of New York has the most number of coronavirus positive cases in the U.S. with over 75,000 patients, followed by New Jersey and California. 

Pregnant Representative image of a pregnant woman's belly. Photo: Pixabay