Two of the largest health systems in the New York region have tightened their no-visitation policies amid the coronavirus pandemic to include their maternity departments.
Manhattan-based Mount Sinai Health Systems and New York-Presbyterian this week have banned anyone, including significant others, from accompanying delivering mothers, according to new visitation policies.
Mount Sinai operates Oceanside-based Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital. New York-Presbyterian does not operate hospitals in Nassau or Suffolk counties but does have doctors offices throughout Queens, and it runs a hospital in Flushing.
“By implementing this, we create the safest setting for patients, newborns and our health care providers,” said Dr. Alan Garely, chairman of the OB-GYN department at Mount Sinai South Nassau. “I really can’t stress enough how sensitive this decision was. But this makes us the safest hospital on Long Island.”
The new policy went into effect throughout the eight-hospital Mount Sinai system on Tuesday.
New York-Presbyterian put the policy into effect on Monday. In a statement, the health system said “we understand this will be difficult for our patients and their loved ones, but we believe that this is a necessary step to promote the safety of our new mothers and children.”
Mount Sinai South Nassau said it was setting up mobile units that include iPads for families to experience the childbirth.
“We are going to do everything to make this a pleasurable and unique experience for everyone,” Garely said.
Every health system in the region has severely limited who can visit patients, including in the maternity area, amid the virus outbreak.
For example, Manhattan-based NYU Langone, which operates NYU Winthrop in Mineola, said it follows the state Department of Health guidelines, which calls for only one support person to be with the child-bearer.
New Hyde Park-based Northwell Health, the largest health system on Long Island, has also put limits on visitors, but it has not banned a partner from being at a child’s birth, said spokesman Terry Lynam.
“We allow that person to come, but after the birth itself, we expect them to leave,” Lynam said.