Louisiana newborn dies after coronavirus-positive mom goes into preterm labor

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A 1-day-old baby in Louisiana died on Monday after the child’s mother was admitted to the hospital last week with novel coronavirus symptoms and went into preterm labor. The child, who was born prematurely, has not tested positive for COVID-19, but officials are considering the death coronavirus-related because “of the positive nature of the mother.”

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There is no update on the status of the mother, who required ventilator support, but she had been experiencing shortness of breath and fever, Dr. William “Beau” Clark, East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner, said in a web conference on Monday.

“Unfortunately her pregnancy, which she was carrying, she went into pre-term labor and ultimately delivered the baby prematurely, and in doing so, the baby, because of the extreme prematurity, did not survive,” Clark said. “The child as of now has not tested positive for COVID-19, however, the mother was, and in speaking with the state epidemiologist, we all agree, myself included and the doctors involved in the care, that this would be a COVID-19-related death because of the positive nature of the mother in this scenario.”

The child was born at just under 22 weeks gestation.

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“Had she not been COVID-19 positive, had not required ventilator support, had not had the shortness of breath and hypoxia that’s associated with the virus, likely she would not have gone into pre-term labor and there would have been a different outcome,” Clark said.

He said this is the first case of its kind that he's aware of in Louisiana, but after speaking to other officials around the country, “there have been cases similar to this.”

“You hope that this would never happen here in our state, but it has and we’re certainly left dealing with that issue,” he said.

Clark said East Baton Rouge Parish has had at least 27 coronavirus-related deaths, which is part of at least 477 deaths statewide. As of Monday, the state has tallied at least 13,010 cases of the illness, putting among the top highest states in the country behind New York, New Jersey, Michigan and California.

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Clark said the newborn’s death is an important reminder to adhere to guidance from public health officials.

“This really brings up a strong point that we should all pay attention to the quarantine, pay attention to the social distancing and the isolation,” he said.