NEW YORK - After two hospital systems announced women giving birth must labor alone to combat the spread of the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio explained Tuesday city hospitals will not take a similar course.
“To me, there is just nothing more important in your life than when a child is born,” de Blasio said during a press conference.
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City hospitals will continue to allow support partners for pregnant women, whether that be a spouse, partner, or other healthy person, the mayor explained. That support partner must be healthy, showing no symptoms of the coronavirus, and wear a mask.
If those conditions are not met, the partner cannot enter the hospital room.
“We certainly hope and pray that happens to nobody or very few people, so that partners can be there for that amazing life moment,” he said.
But that’s exactly what Billy Scheer, of Brooklyn, is preparing to miss - the birth of his second child.
Billy’s wife, Emily, is 38 weeks pregnant. They plan to deliver at New York Presbyterian, one of two hospital systems that announced earlier this week changes to visitor policies intended to protect women and children from the coronavirus.
New York Presbyterian and Mt. Sinai Health Systems will no longer allow partners or visitors to enter labor and delivery units.
The new rules were implemented just days after the New York State Department of Health issued new guidance stating that one support person is “essential to patient care.” The state added that the support person must be healthy, showing no symptoms of the coronavirus, and have their temperature checked before entering labor and delivery floors, and every 12 hours afterwards.
After the mayor explained the city’s visitor policy, which seem to closely follow state recommendations, a spokesperson for Mt. Sinai said its policy remains unchanged. Visitors, including partners, will continue to be prohibited in maternity and postpartum units.
“We do not take this decision lightly, but these are unprecedented times that require unprecedented steps to protect our patients, their families and their new babies,” Mt. Sinai’s website states.
A request for comment from New York Presbyterian, Emily’s hospital, was not immediately provided. “We understand that this will be difficult for our patients and their loved ones, but we believe that this is a necessary step to promote the safety of our new mothers and children,” the hospital’s website says.
Now, Emily is thinking about the logistics of being dropped off at the hospital in about two weeks to deliver her second daughter without Billy by her side.
“So now I’m going into labor and delivery all by myself with a stroller and my stuff. I don’t know how to navigate the hospital, I’l be having contractions,” Emily said. “We are just completely shocked and hoping hospitals can figure out a way for partners to be there for that crucial moment.”
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