New York Man Hides Coronavirus Symptoms in Order to Visit Wife and Child in Maternity Ward

A New York man who had been exposed to the coronavirus hid his symptoms so that he could visit his wife in the maternity unit of an upstate New York hospital. The incident, which occurred last week, according to the Democrat and Chronicle, only came to light after the man's wife began exhibiting symptoms, prompting the unnamed man to admit that he, too, had been feeling ill at the time of his visit.

"The patient in question and her partner were in a private maternity room throughout their hospital stay," University of Rochester Medical Center officials said in a statement on Tuesday. "Both the mother and partner were isolated from other patients. After the mother exhibited symptoms, and the OB team learned that the partner had been exposed to COVID-19 and was symptomatic, the patient was tested and all staff who had been in contact were informed of their possible exposure."

According to the hospital, no involved staff members have tested positive for the virus and one staff member developed symptoms quarantined at home and later tested negative. Those staff members who did not show symptoms continued to work while masked, per hospital protocol. The new parents and their baby were also "asked to quarantine, pending testing results, to protect the community and were discharged from the hospital." Due to privacy laws, UR Medicine spokesman Chip Partner said that he could not disclose their test results.

The incident reportedly helped prompt the hospital to enact stricter rules regarding visitors. Prior to the incident, visitors would be asked if they had been in proximity to anyone who might have COVID-19 and if their own health was good.

"It was purely an honor system before," Partner said.

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On Monday, however, the hospital announced that it would being to take the temperature of all visitors. Falling in line with other hospitals in the area in efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the hospital had already begun limiting visitors to parents whose child is hospitalized, a person whose loved one is near the end of life, and one spouse, partner or doula to assist a woman giving birth and support her afterward, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. All staff, patients, and visitors are also required to surgical masks in public, patient-care areas of their facilities.

New York is currently considered the epicenter of the outbreak in the United States. As of Wednesday, a Johns Hopkins database recorded nearly 45,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 1,100 fatalities in New York City alone.