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COVID-19 Testing, Personal Protective Equipment, and Staffing Strategies Vary at Obstetrics Centers across the Country
The continued safety and preservation of the health care workforce is vital during the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Observational data show that appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)—including masks and eyewear are paramount to slowing the spread. Additionally, comprehensive screening strategies to help identify asymptomatic carriers will also protect the highest risk populations—including health care workers. A recent systematic review of 16 cohort studies estimated that asymptomatic carriers accounted for approximately 40 to 45% of positive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) polymerase chain reaction tests, and this number is expected to rise as screening becomes more accessible. Sutton et al wrote in their commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine that the use of universal SARS-CoV-2 testing in all pregnant patients presenting for delivery revealed that most of the patients who were positive for SARS-CoV-2 at delivery were asymptomatic, and more than one in eight asymptomatic patients who were admitted to the labor and delivery unit were positive for SARS-CoV-2 during a period of increased community transmission. In an effort to characterize COVID-19 safety practices and resources at academic and community hospital obstetric units across the United States, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) administered a national survey to designated state liaisons regarding generalized testing and access to PPE in obstetrical units from April 7 to April 14, 2020. Results from the initial survey (“Survey I”) found wide variation in universal testing policies and PPE use in obstetrical units across the United States. To determine how practices changed as rates across the country increased, SMFM re-administered the same survey from May 1, 2020 to May 22, 2020 (“Survey II”).
Received: 10 September 2020
Accepted: 11 September 2020
Article published online:
26 September 2020
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