The clinical director for Ireland South Women and Infants Directorate, Professor John Higgins, has said that pregnant women are being admitted to hospital with Covid-19.
The obstetrician and gynaecologist, who is based at Cork University Hospital, told RTÉ radio’s News at One efforts were being made to allow partners accompany pregnant women to scans and appointments and during labour.
Access had been restricted because of Covid-19, he explained, but the position was that women were still presenting at maternity units where they were tested and found to be positive for the virus.
“We have to care for them and their baby,” he said.
Earlier in the pandemic such cases were not serious, but there was a growing concern about the connection between Covid-19 and still births. There was now a situation where there was concern that such cases could be “very dangerous”.
Prof Higgins said that in recent weeks a new system of visiting for partners had been introduced. A review was held every week (on Thursday).
“Every week this has been opening up further and further,” he said of the system for visits with the visiting time at CUH extending from one hour to two hours. Times in Waterford and Kerry would be extended this week.
The pandemic had hit maternity units in the same way as elsewhere “in waves” and hospitals were trying to respond, he explained. Staff were committed to delivering the best service to mothers and partners.
It had been a “big disappointment” that maternity units could not “do what we want” but with Covid-19 still in circulation that was not possible.
Prof Higgins acknowledged that partners still could not attend the first scan, but said that in cases where they suspected there may be a problem there was a “pass” system where partners could attend and support.