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 3:31 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: 59881

Reported Deaths: 1693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5176106
DeSoto321527
Madison227253
Rankin211128
Harrison206732
Jackson187434
Jones174057
Forrest161551
Washington145732
Lauderdale132188
Lee119430
Neshoba119087
Lamar110512
Oktibbeha104434
Warren96425
Lowndes95830
Scott95117
Bolivar93332
Copiah90323
Sunflower90322
Panola89611
Lafayette8619
Holmes83546
Leflore82759
Pike81932
Grenada80520
Yazoo76411
Leake76225
Lincoln73539
Wayne73121
Pontotoc7167
Simpson70726
Monroe68750
Coahoma64810
Tate63822
Marion59418
Adams57825
Covington57611
Winston56615
Marshall5568
George5395
Newton51411
Union51313
Attala49524
Pearl River48036
Tallahatchie44610
Walthall43918
Chickasaw42719
Noxubee41410
Claiborne39913
Smith37413
Calhoun3738
Jasper3738
Clay36414
Alcorn3494
Prentiss3316
Hancock32414
Yalobusha31210
Lawrence3075
Itawamba30610
Tishomingo3063
Clarke29725
Tippah29412
Montgomery2913
Humphreys26511
Tunica2526
Carroll24511
Greene22611
Kemper22315
Quitman2201
Perry2137
Amite2045
Jefferson Davis1966
Webster19512
Jefferson1916
Wilkinson18312
Sharkey1801
Stone1463
Choctaw1254
Benton1240
Franklin1112
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 85278

Reported Deaths: 1531
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11465225
Mobile8466188
Montgomery6093141
Madison481725
Tuscaloosa385161
Baldwin309521
Shelby295431
Marshall287830
Unassigned256950
Lee245540
Morgan215614
Etowah188424
DeKalb165011
Elmore156237
Walker145063
Calhoun14389
Houston127512
Dallas126523
Russell11851
St. Clair116911
Franklin116520
Limestone115512
Cullman109011
Colbert105011
Lauderdale102812
Autauga98820
Escambia95215
Talladega86213
Chambers80738
Tallapoosa80178
Jackson7833
Dale76318
Butler74335
Blount7043
Coffee6955
Covington68420
Chilton6735
Pike6447
Barbour5545
Lowndes54524
Marion52824
Marengo50614
Clarke4799
Hale44825
Bullock43611
Winston42610
Perry4193
Wilcox4009
Randolph38610
Monroe3853
Conecuh36310
Sumter36118
Bibb3602
Pickens3599
Macon30412
Washington30411
Lawrence2980
Crenshaw2793
Choctaw27112
Greene23911
Henry2383
Cherokee2227
Geneva2160
Clay2005
Lamar1912
Fayette1675
Cleburne1121
Coosa892
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