Women delivering babies during the COVID-19 pandemic are only allowed to bring one person into the hospital with them.
For a Williams Lake couple who had their first baby on April 4, it was not a big deal, however, they did stay in the hospital for another five days because their newborn son was jaundiced.
New dad Rupinder Singh said he was not allowed to leave and come back so he brought his own food and was there for the duration.
“We are all good,” he told the Tribune from their home Monday, April 13. “Everyone is happy.”
Interior Health communications spokesperson Susan Duncan said doulas are being permitted to support mothers in labour and delivery provided they follow guidelines established by Interior Health, namely that they are certified doulas, that they are screened upon entry for COVID-19 symptoms, and that they follow appropriate personal protective equipment precautions.
They cannot attend deliveries of suspected or COVID-19 positive patients, as this creates risk of exposure, she added.
If a women shows up with COVID-19 symptoms, each site has a protocol to safely admit suspected or COVID-19 positive mothers, while minimizing risk of exposure to other patients and health-care providers.
Duncan noted showers and baths are not being used as they are too difficult to effectively disinfect, and as they are not testing every patient, it cannot be definitively established that they do not have COVID-19 prior to use.
“We are following BCCDC recommendations and not using Entonox (nitrous oxide) in birthing suites. Medical oxygen and air are available for use if required.”
For suspected or COVID-19 positive mothers requiring c-sections, hospitals are following BCCDC guidelines and partners cannot be present during the procedure due to risk of exposure, Duncan confirmed, noting partners are still able to stay overnight.
When it is safe to do so, low-risk patients and babies are being released earlier than usual when safe and suitable.
Duncan said health care staff are following BCCDC guidelines that recommend discharge of mother and baby as soon as medically appropriate.
Singh said they have lived in Williams Lake for two years, having moved here from Kamloops to run the Super Save Gas Station, which he owns.
When asked if they need anything he replied, ‘no.’
“We are perfect,” he said, adding baby Wuvnehr is doing well.
Duncan confirmed between March 1 to April 14, 42 babies were born at CMH.On average 370 babies are born each year.