Having a baby? You’ll be tested for COVID-19 before you deliver


AUSTIN (KXAN) – Expecting mothers are now being tested for COVID-19 even before they walk into several hospitals. 

“Patients who are having scheduled child birth inductions at St. David’s North Austin are being forced to undergo COVID testing after several moms have tested positive after giving birth,” said one mom about to have her baby at that hospital. “When I asked if nurses/drs [doctors] exposed to those patients were being tested or have to isolate to protect patients I was told that hospital staff are not being tested or isolated.”

The mom tells KXAN that worries her and puts her at a greater risk. She said she only found out after asking questions about being tested. 

St. David’s HealthCare responded to KXAN News that numerous infection prevention measures to keep patients and staff safe have been implemented, including requiring everyone to wear a mask. 

The hospital would not say how many women who’ve had a baby have tested positive for the virus.

“While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend testing for every patient if they are asymptomatic, St. David’s HealthCare is exceeding CDC guidelines by testing all patients prior to surgery or procedures, including delivering a baby—whether through natural birth, induction or C-section,” Dr. Ken Mitchell, Chief Medical Officer with St. David’s HealthCare explained.  “As such, women who deliver at our hospitals are tested for COVID-19 prior to delivery. If the test is refused and the patient is asymptomatic, full COVID-19 personal protective equipment is used during stage 2 of labor.”

Dr. Mitchell said if an expectant mother gets to the hospital and requires an emergency procedure, she is screened for COVID-19 symptoms, including a temperature check, and receives a swab test for the virus. 

Also, patients who test positive are isolated. Dr. Mitchell explained that patients who test negative are treated in separate areas and assigned to caregivers who are not caring for COVID-19 positive patients. 

“All staff and physicians are screened for COVID-19 symptoms, including a temperature check, every day upon entrance into our facilities, and tested when necessary, and our colleagues on the clinical care team are not permitted to work if experiencing any respiratory or other COVID-19 symptoms,” Dr. Mitchell said. 

Tonight on KXAN News at 6 p.m., who is tracking the number of new moms testing positive for COVID-19 and how are maternal health organizations preparing moms. Plus, what is your hospital doing?

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