Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital eases concerns over hospital births during COVID-19 pandemic

Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Albemarle County (FILE)
Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Albemarle County (FILE)(WVIR)
Updated: Apr. 7, 2020 at 4:17 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Staff at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital (SMJH) are trying to ease fears from expecting mothers who have concerns about giving birth at a facility treating COVID-19 patients.

Staff members at SMJH say it’s completely safe to welcome a new addition to the family there, adding the maternity ward is completely separate from the main hospital, which reduces the risk of exposure to the virus.

“Our staff are prepared,” SMJH Spokesperson Jennifer Down said. “Our staff are even prepared to help a patient who may have [COVID-19] safely deliver their baby. We have negative pressure rooms right on that unit, so really we’re prepared to handle any of the patients that we should see.”

During the pandemic, both the University of Virginia Medical Center and Martha Jefferson are only allowing one visitor for delivering mothers.

“We, like everyone else, definitely understand that this is a time where emotions are running high for people,” Downs said. “This type of situation that we’re in definitely causes stress levels and anxiety to raise, and we understand that.”

Despite growing concerns, Downs said the hospital’s birth rate for March 2020 was the highest its been for that month since 2016. The University of Virginia Medical Center also said it has not any significant changes to its birth rates since the pandemic.

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