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Coronavirus (COVID-19): FAQ for Women, Pregnant Women, & Families

Author:  Darin R. Gregory, M.D.

At Moreland OB-GYN, we want you to come to us with your questions and concerns and we're more than happy to talk you through our answers and suggestions. With plenty of hearsay regarding COVID-19, or the coronavirus, our patients want to know what is true, what they should do, and what information to trust.

It is our duty to provide our patients with the facts and information they need in order to accurately make important decisions about their unborn baby, newborn, or their own bodies. Information about the emerging new coronavirus is rapidly changing and updating on a daily basis. If you are interested in the most recent number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, please visit the CDC's website to learn more.

For the latest Moreland OB-GYN clinic and hospital updates, FAQ answers, and tips for your family, watch the video below or continuing reading. 

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

What Are the Coronavirus Symptoms?

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Can I Travel? 

The travel restrictions update frequently, see the CDC website, but right now domestic travel is fine. Currently the only areas with travel restraints are China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and Hong Kong.

Hospital Visitor Restrictions as of 3/13/2020 

Stricter hospital visitation rules are now in place

After careful consideration of how best to protect our patients and employees amid the coronavirus pandemic, ProHealth care has put in place stricter rules for hospital visitation. These changes are designed to promote everyone’s safety. 

ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital and ProHealth Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital have set a limit of one visitor per patient at a time. We also will strongly encourage that in any 24-hour period, a hospital patient should have the same visitor, rather than a succession of different visitors.

In our labor and delivery and neonatal intensive care units, the following restrictions are now in place: 

  • Visitation in labor and delivery will be limited to one person at a time. Visitation in the NICU will be limited to two people at a time.
  • Visitors are limited to spouses, parents, guardians, family care partners or support partners.
  • Visitors must be 18 or older.
  • Visitors will be screened prior to entering patient areas. Any visitor with a fever or other signs of illness will not be allowed to enter and will be asked to leave the hospital.

There will be no restrictions on visitation in situations where a patient is near the end of life.

Especially now, anyone who is feeling unwell should not visit a hospital or other health care facility unless it is to seek care.

In addition to the visitation restrictions, we are taking these further steps:

  • Volunteer services have been temporarily discontinued.
  • Groups visiting our hospitals will be limited to 20 people or fewer, and all hospital tours have been suspended.
  • All scheduled visits by student groups and student rotations have been suspended.
  • Meetings of patient support groups will be suspended.

We will communicate the new visitation restrictions through our website, the media, signs in our lobbies, social media and in other ways.

If you work in our hospitals and have questions about how to enforce these restrictions in your department, talk with your leader.

COVID-19 and Pregnancy

What is the risk to pregnant women of getting COVID-19? Is it easier for pregnant women to become ill with the disease? If they become infected, will they be more sick than other people?

We are currently receiving requests for work excuses related to COVID-19.  At present there are no specific recommendations related to pregnant women 37 weeks gestation and under and work related to the risks of COVID-19 exposure .  Therefore newly pregnant patients up to 37 weeks should observe the general recommendations for all employees who have the capabilities to work from home to do so.  At present we cannot provide work excuses or short term disability for healthy patients 37 weeks gestation or under.  If you have had an known exposure to COVID-19 we can evaluate your situation for a recommendation for quarantine and provide a letter to that effect.  Please use myChart for all of your non-urgent requests as we have staff working remotely to meet your needs.  If you have submitted a myChart message or phone call please answer all calls, including those listed as unavailable or blocked, as many of our staff are calling from outside our office.

How can pregnant women protect themselves from getting COVID-19?

Pregnant women should do the same things as the general public to avoid infection. You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 by taking these actions:

  • Cover your cough (using your elbow is a good technique)
  • Avoid people who are sick
  • Clean your hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer

You can find additional information on preventing COVID-19 disease at CDC’s (Prevention for 2019 Novel Coronavirus).

What should I do if I think I’ve been exposed or I develop symptoms?

Please call the office and we will direct you on where to receive care depending on your
situation. Moreland continues to evaluate entries patients with obstetric complaint in the
office. We are not bringing patients with respiratory symptoms into the clinic for evaluation and
will be directing those patients to appropriate facilities for care.

What if I am a pregnant health care worker exposed to Coronavirus?

At present, pregnant patients should observe the same precautions and procedures all other
healthcare workers are being instructed to observe. Please look to your institution’s employee
health or infection prevention and control departments for guidance on procedures and PPE.

Can COVID-19 cause problems for a pregnancy?

We do not know at this time if COVID-19 would cause problems during pregnancy or affect the health of the baby after birth.

Will the Coronavirus Harm My fetus if I Get It?

We don’t know of any specific risks to pregnant women other that the general risks of being ill. 

Work Releases

We are currently receiving requests for work excuses related to COVID-19.  At present there are no specific recommendations related to pregnant women and work related to the risks of COVID-19 exposure.  Therefore pregnant patients should observe the general recommendations for all employees who have the capabilities to work from home to do so.  At present we cannot provide work excuses or short term disability for healthy patients.  If you have had an known exposure to COVID-19 we can evaluate your situation for a recommendation for quarantine and provide a letter to that effect.  Please use myChart for all of your non-urgent requests as we have staff working remotely to meet your needs.  If you have submitted a myChart message or phone call please answer all calls, including those listed as unavailable or blocked, as many of our staff are calling from outside our office.

Why are People in the U.S. Infected if They Did Not Travel to China?

The virus now appears to be circulating in the U.S. population but that data is not very clear and changes daily.

Why Isn’t There a Vaccine or a Treatment?

This is a new virus. It take years to develop vaccines and medications to new illnesses. Treatments have to be created then tested to make sure they are both safe and effective. This work is currently underway but right now, prevention is your best defense.

What Is Moreland Doing to Protect Patients Who Visit the Clinics?

We are asking all patients who enter our clinic to use hand sanitizer to protect all patients, staff, and other employees.
Our cleaning staff uses two disinfectants that are both approved for killing the flu and coronavirus. These chemicals are used daily in restrooms and on door handles, and any common touch points. We also use these disinfectants on break room/cafeteria surfaces. The general rule is if food or hands touch it, disinfectant is needed. Our goal is to keep all areas used by patients and staff clean. 

What Are Some Ways to Help Prevent Getting the Coronavirus?

Clean Your Hands Often

  • Coronavirus virus outbreak and coronaviruses influenza image as dangerous flu strain cases as a pandemic medical health risk concept with disease cells as a 3D renderWash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Avoid Close Contact

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Take steps to protect others.

Stay Home if You Are Sick

Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.

Cover Coughs and Sneezes

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and Disinfect

Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

If surfaces are dirty, clean them. Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

To disinfect:

Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. Use disinfectants appropriate for the surface.

An option includes diluting your household bleach.

To make a bleach solution, mix:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water OR
  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Should I Wear a Mask?

Wear a face mask if you are sick.

If you are sick: You should wear a face mask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a face mask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a face mask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.

If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a face mask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a face mask). Face masks are in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.

Who Is at Risk of Dying From the Coronavirus?

Older adults are most at risk of dying from the Coronavirus as well as people who have serious chronic medical conditions like:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Lung disease
  • Cancer

For more information about those who are of high risk of serious illness from COVID-19, visit this page

What Are the Current Number of Cases and Deaths from Coronavirus in Wisconsin?

Please refer to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services outbreaks page to view the most up-to-date case numbers. These cases are being updated every weekday at 2 pm.

What to Do if You Get Sick

Stay home and call your doctor. Call your healthcare provider and let them know about your symptoms. Tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help them take care of you and keep other people from getting infected or exposed. If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home. Follow CDC instructions for how to take care of yourself at home.

Know when to get emergency help. Get medical attention immediately if you have any of the risk factor warning signs listed above.

For more information on what to do if you are sick, visit this CDC web page.

Thoughts You May Be Thinking of if You Are Close to Delivery

What will happen if there is an overflow of pregnant patients who are not sick?

Right now, both Waukesha Memorial and Oconomowoc Memorial are constantly evaluating
their patient volumes and making workflow changes to take care of all of their sick and their
healthy patients. Additionally, they are cohorting patients to keep them separate.

Can I have an elective induction?

At present there have been no changes to the scheduling of either elective or medically
indicated inductions or C-sections.

Should I have a backup hospital?

Both Waukesha Memorial and Oconomowoc Memorial have adequate capabilities to care for
all of their patients. We are not recommending patient identified backup hospitals at this time.
If that need were to arise you would be notified with instructions on how to do this.

What if my husband is immune compromised or has asthma?

If your support person has medical conditions that put them at increased risk from COVID-19,
you will need to determine the severity of those risks whether an alternative support person
should be identified. These decisions are different for each family and must be individualized.
We recommend you seek guidance from that support person’s healthcare professional.

Will I be alone in labor?

At present all laboring patients are being allowed to have a healthy support person present. Currently
there are no plans to change this.

Will my baby get circumcised?

No system wide changes have been made to circumcisions. At Moreland we continue to
perform them unless there is a medical reason to delay them.

Would a home birth be safer?

Homebirths involved a spectrum of risks but are different for each patient depending on the
complexities of their pregnancy. Moreland does not feel the risks of COVID-19 outweigh the
many risks of delivering outside the hospital setting.

Make a Plan. Prepare. Take Action. 

It's important to have a plan in place and prepare for you and your family's best interests and health. Do not panic, but know enough and stay informed to know when the time is right, if necessary, to take proper action. 

Visit this page on the CDC website for ways to protect your family with a check list and have a plan ready to go if needed. 

For more information about the Coronavirus and Influenza risks, watch a video here.

 

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