Newborn Baby in Isolation at Alabama Hospital After NICU Nurse Tests Positive for COVID-19

The newborn's father said his daughter has not shown any symptoms of coronavirus

Baby in isolation
Photo: Brandon Waltman

A newborn baby in the neonatal intensive care unit of an Alabama hospital has been placed in isolation after one of the nurses recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Emmarie Grace Waltman was born on February 20 and was placed in the NICU of the University of South Alabama Women’s Hospital due to feeding issues, her father, Brandon Waltman told CNN.

However, when Brandon went to see his daughter Monday, he was informed that she was taken into a separate room to be isolated after a nurse tested positive for COVID-19. Information about the infected individual has yet to be released.

Although the NICU doctors and nurses wore gloves and masks, Brandon said he “felt like it was inevitable” that his daughter’s care might be affected in some way, considering the impact of coronavirus on medical centers.

In an effort to lessen exposure to the virus, the hospital will only allow one visitor per patient at a time, CNN reported.

For the time being, Emmarie’s parents have to visit her one at a time in a low-pressure room.

Baby in isolation
Brandon Waltman

“It’s rough. But today is about pushing so some of this doesn’t happen again to her or God forbid anybody else,” Brandon said.

Brandon said he hopes he can bring his daughter back home to Mississippi so that the family can quarantine together.

“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,” he explained.

His daughter has yet to show any symptoms of the coronavirus but the hospital has not told Brandon when Emmarie can be released.

“I don’t think she’s going to test positive,” he added. “She’s one of the, probably the biggest and the healthiest babies in the NICU.”

As of Wednesday, the governors of 18 states have opted to place their entire state under a stay at home order. California was the first to do so, on March 19, and New York and Illinois followed the next day.

In the United States, there are at least 53,852 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States and 728 deaths, according to a New York Times database.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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