In a letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine, physicians describe their experience with universally testing pregnant women for SARS-CoV-2 when they were admitted for delivery, regardless of their lack of symptoms or exposure to an infected individual.
215 women delivered babies in the New York–Presbyterian Allen Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center between March 22 and April 4, 2020. 4 of these women had signs of COVID-19 at admission and all 4 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Of those 211 without symptoms of SARS-CoV-2, 210 were tested via nasopharyngeal swabs. Of those who were asymptomatic, 29 (13.7%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. The letter states that 29 of the 33 patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were asymptomatic. The clinicians note that the “potential benefits of a universal testing approach include the ability to use COVID-19 status to determine hospital isolation practices and bed assignments, inform neonatal care, and guide the use of personal protective equipment.”