Triangle hospitals report highest number of pregnant patients with COVID-19 during pandemic

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As Omicron cases surge, Duke Health is seeing a higher number of pregnant patients testing positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks.

"We're having the highest number of patients on our labor floor and on our inpatient service with COVID-19 that we've had within the entire pandemic," said Dr. Amanda Craig, Duke University Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellow.

According to a UNC Health spokesperson, at UNC REX in Raleigh and UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill, the number of pregnant women going in to deliver and testing positive has risen to about 20 percent, the highest level since the pandemic began.

"Pretty much across the board, most women who have been vaccinated, received full dose and specifically have gotten boosted or received a booster dose are -- if they do test positive -- remaining asymptomatic or having mild symptoms and not needing to be hospitalized. Which was why we continue to advocate for the vaccination and the booster," Craig said.

Craig said Duke has studies underway looking at outcomes of COVID-19-positive mothers infected during pregnancy or delivery and the outcomes for babies.

"We have not, at least in my experience, seen a number of neonates be infected, thankfully," Craig said. "But the final numbers for all of that information is still being looked into."

Craig said pregnant women have altered immune systems and that can put them at high risk for COVID-19.

Dr. Jennifer Gilner, medical director for the Duke University Hospital Birthing Center, said 30 percent of patients admitted in Labor and Delivery at Duke University Hospital in Durham since January 1st have been COVID positive. Compare that to 18 percent during the previous two weeks. (Dec. 15-31)

At the labor and delivery unit at Duke Regional Hospital in Durham, the percentage since Jan. 1 is 14% compared to nearly 8% from Dec. 15-31.
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