ST. LOUIS- The CDC is now recommending testing all babies born to moms who have tested positive for COVID-19. Fox 2 reporter Molly Rose talks to a local doctor who says all SSM Health hospitals are putting this new recommendation into practice and he wants to know moms have options if they test positive.
Dr. Guy Venezia the clinical lead for the SSM Health Women and Children’s clinical program says mothers and babies aren’t forced to separate at SSM health hospitals — even if mom tests positive for COVID-19 it’s a decision that is up to the mother.
Here’s how the process works — the babies are tested within the first 24 hours of being born….and then the test is repeated again 2 to 5 days later. Babies are tested the same way adults are, by using a nose swab.
He explains at SSM hospitals and Cardinal Glennon they are giving careful training to their staff so they can get the most accurate samples for the testing. A newborn receives the test if their mom is COVID-19 positive or if she is under investigation. If the baby comes back negative and mom is positive there are two options families have — doctor Venezia calls them the reduced risk and least risky options.
Either mom can decide to separate from the baby and dad or a nurse cares for the baby while mom uses a breast pump so the baby can still receive breast milk, or the baby can stay with mom and they can remain 6 feet apart in the hospital room and the mother wear a mask while breastfeeding.
Dr. Venezia says it’s important for people to know if a mom or baby is positive — they aren’t being placed in areas near other families and babies — and that they are keeping the birthing suites very safe.
SSM Health is also now allowing both parents full access to their baby in the nursery — in the past if the baby tested positive or was in the NICU, only one parent could visit but that policy has changed.
For more information visit: ssmhealth.com