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A maternity unit in a Rochester, N.Y. hospital has revised its screening system after a man lied about experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to be with his expectant wife.
According to the Democrat and Chronicle, the unnamed man confessed to staff at Strong Memorial Hospital only after his wife began displaying symptoms of the novel coronavirus post-delivery. The incident prompted University of Rochester Medicine (UR Medicine) to add a mandatory temperature screening for all visitors to hospital maternity units.
The man reportedly assured nurses that he was in good health when he arrived with his wife to the maternity unit. Chip Partner, a spokesperson for UR Medicine said the hospital’s previous strategy was “purely an honour system” taking patients and visitors at their word.
Partner said the man admitted he was feeling ill when his wife began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms immediately following delivery, and told staff he had been potentially exposed to the virus and was feeling unwell.
On Monday, UR Medicine announced it would issue a zero-visitation policy, but would permit one legal guardian for paediatric patients as well as one support partner for obstetrics. Upon arrival, all approved support partners will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and have their temperature checked. Screenings will occur every twelve hours until the admitted patient is discharged from hospital. Once screened, support partners are required to stay with the patient, and not leave their designated hospital room for any reason, including taking smoke breaks or leaving to get food. According to the UR Medicine website, all symptomatic support partners will be asked to immediately leave the hospital.
Due to privacy laws, Partner was unable to confirm whether or not the man and his wife tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement to NBC News, UR Medicine spokesperson Barbara Ficarra did note that a nurse who treated the wife was tested negative for the virus, and that both the man and his wife were discharged.
As an added precaution, UR Medicine has also enacted a universal masking policy, which requires all staff, healthcare providers and approved visitors to wear face masks at all times in “public and clinical areas.”