Am J Perinatol 2020; 37(14): 1482-1484
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1718401
Letter to the Editor

COVID-19 Testing, Personal Protective Equipment, and Staffing Strategies Vary at Obstetrics Centers across the Country

Jasmine D. Johnson
1   Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2   Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, District of Columbia
Sindhu K. Srinivas
3   Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Maternal and Child Health Research Center, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Judette M. Louis
4   Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
Brenna Hughes
5   Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
6   Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
Mary E. Norton
7   Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California
Erika F. Werner
8   Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brown University Warren Alpert Medical School, Providence, Rhode Island
› Author Affiliations

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.[1] Additionally, comprehensive screening strategies to help identify asymptomatic carriers will also protect the highest risk populations—including health care workers.[2] 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.[3] 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.[2] 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.[5] 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”).

Publication History

Received: 10 September 2020

Accepted: 11 September 2020

Article published online:
26 September 2020

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