As coronavirus surges through New York City, overloaded hospital systems are starting to make difficult decisions in an effort to protect patients and health care workers on the frontlines. One hospital system has gone so far as to ban all visitors during childbirth, including partners.
CNN reports that NewYork-Presbyterian, which has 11 facilities and is one of the largest hospital systems in the world, will not let visitors into any of its maternity wards. “For the time being, we really do need to exclude all visitors, including partners, for women admitted in labor,” Dr. Dena Goffman, chief of obstetrics at Columbia University Medical Center, said on Sunday, adding that it was “very difficult decision and not one taken lightly.”
NewYork-Presbyterian will also test all patients in labor for covid-19, noting that hospitals have seen a number of patients with few to no symptoms that ended up testing positive. Fatigue and shortness of breath are also commonly experienced by people in labor, and since they’re symptoms of covid-19, everyone’s on high alert.
In general, hospitals are trying to do all they can to mitigate the crush of coronavirus patients, particularly since personal protective equipment like N95 masks, gowns, and gloves are in short supply. 3M, which manufactures masks, says they’ll be shipping half a million to New York and Seattle starting Monday, and will ramp up production over the course of the next year. Project Runway winner Christian Siriano is also reportedly making masks for New York. This is wartime, people.