A baby is in isolation after an Alabama NICU nurse tested positive for coronavirus, family says

When Brandon Waltman went to visit his newborn baby girl in the neonatal intensive care unit of an Alabama hospital Monday night, he was told she had been pl...

Posted: Mar 25, 2020 3:30 PM
Updated: Mar 25, 2020 3:31 PM

When Brandon Waltman went to visit his newborn baby girl in the neonatal intensive care unit of an Alabama hospital Monday night, he was told she had been placed in isolation.

His daughter Emmarie Grace Waltman has been in the NICU of the University of South Alabama Women's Hospital for the past month. After a nurse recently tested positive for Covid-19, Waltman said, he was told that as a precaution Emmarie was taken to another room and put in isolation.

After watching the news about the spread of the virus over the last few weeks, Waltman says he wasn't surprised.

"I felt like it was inevitable," he told CNN.

Gary Mans, an associate vice president for Marketing and Communications at USA Health, said in a statement that a staff member within the health system had tested positive, but declined to say in which department.

"A USA Health employee has tested positive for Covid-19. USA Health continues to implement all state and national guidelines to ensure we protect our patients, providers and staff," said Mans.

Older adults and those with chronic conditions are most vulnerable to the virus, but young adults are catching and spreading it as well. Fortunately, children are not developing severe symptoms, said Dr. Arthur Reingold, an epidemiologist at the University of California at Berkeley.

Emmarie was born February 20 and was in the NICU for issues associated with feeding, her father said. With the number of people caring for her and running tests, Waltman and his wife talked about the likelihood of exposure.

Now the parents can only visit Emmarie one at a time in a low-pressure room in order to prevent any potential spread of Covid-19, according to Waltman.

"It's rough. But today is about pushing so some of this doesn't happen again to her or God forbid anybody else."

Waltman says that in the weeks his daughter has been in the NICU, he's seen some doctors and nurses consistently wearing masks and gloves, while others are only wearing them some of the time.

As the number of coronavirus cases grow, top healthcare officials have said the US does not have enough protective equipment stockpiled to meet the anticipated need of the healthcare system. Doctors and nurses have been scrambling to get what they need to keep themselves and their patients safe.

According to the hospital's website, all visitors are screened for symptoms and possible exposure and the visitor policy was recently changed to limit one visitor per patient at a time for all patients.

Waltman is anxious to get his daughter home to Mississippi to quarantine together as a family, but he isn't sure when Emmarie will be released. The family's home is about an hour away from the hospital.

"With the times being like they are, we feel like we're better left at home where we know who's coming in contact with her," Waltman said.

For now, he says his daughter isn't showing any symptoms of Covid-19, and he hopes it'll stay that way.

"I don't think she's going to test positive," he says. "She's one of the, probably the biggest and the healthiest babies in the NICU."

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Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34622

Reported Deaths: 1215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds269748
DeSoto181818
Madison138236
Jones117349
Harrison104014
Rankin103515
Neshoba102274
Lauderdale94281
Forrest93943
Scott79215
Jackson72717
Washington64310
Copiah63115
Leake61320
Lee58621
Holmes57341
Oktibbeha56828
Wayne55416
Warren55320
Yazoo5436
Grenada5357
Lowndes52613
Leflore52256
Lincoln50935
Lamar5027
Pike47020
Sunflower4528
Lafayette4374
Monroe43635
Covington4195
Panola3996
Bolivar38018
Attala37524
Simpson3733
Newton35710
Adams34019
Pontotoc3266
Tate32313
Marion31312
Claiborne29310
Chickasaw29219
Winston28711
Pearl River27632
Noxubee2758
Marshall2693
Jasper2676
Clay25511
Union23811
Smith23412
Walthall2267
Coahoma2156
Clarke21425
Lawrence1992
Yalobusha1938
Kemper18014
Carroll17311
Tallahatchie1664
Humphreys15910
Montgomery1493
Calhoun1475
Tippah14411
Itawamba1418
Hancock13813
Webster12811
Tunica1193
Jefferson1173
Jefferson Davis1164
Prentiss1123
Greene10810
Amite1063
George1023
Wilkinson959
Tishomingo921
Quitman891
Alcorn852
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin492
Benton420
Sharkey420
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
Henry1433
Crenshaw1273
Washington1277
Lawrence1170
Cherokee1127
Geneva920
Lamar811
Fayette781
Clay742
Coosa621
Cleburne411
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