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El Paso hospital and expectant moms prepare for pandemic baby deliveries

EL PASO, Texas -- University Medical Center is taking steps to prepare for child deliveries in the coronavirus era. The hospital has now assembled a perinatal Covid-19 group to prepare for the challenges brought by a pandemic delivery.

"There are certain requirements for personal protective equipment to include goggles, gowns, shields. We are practicing to ensure that the staff is appropriately prepared so we can take care of these moms in the safest way possible," said Debra Barba Orenelas, who is UMC's director of labor and delivery.

The hospital is running drills weekly to give them the best opportunities to succeed in these trying times.

"We are meeting weekly, up to three times a week we are running drills and we are just bringing up all the up-to-date evidence to make sure that our moms are comfortable as well as our health care providers," Barba Orenelas said.

For expectant mothers, an already challenging time has become more daunting as they face solitude in the delivery room. Hospitals have now put a ban on visitors so only one person is allowed to accompany the mother.

"I was really excited to be pregnant. It’s my first baby and now they are restricting who can go into the delivery room with me and to my appointments. I have one more ultrasound and they are saying that my boyfriend my not be able to go with me," said Malorie Lucero, who is 31-weeks pregnant.

Other mothers don't know when they will get to introduce their children to their parents.

"It's a girl you know grandpas are obsessed with girls. Just calling him and showing him his granddaughter, thinking about it just makes me so sad. I don’t know when he is going to be able to meet her. I just don’t know, it breaks my heart really," said Alida Ledee, who is 35-weeks pregnant.

Some mothers have already taken steps to change their delivery methods to an at home delivery.

"In a way, I feel like by being in the hospital I am putting my life and my baby's life in danger. On the other side, it is also not having my mom and my mother-in-law there, so it’s a little bit of both," said Jelitza Dominguez, who is 33-weeks pregnant.

UMC wants to make sure all expecting mothers know that they are prepared to deal with all types of deliveries including one of a confirmed coronavirus patient.

"Should we get a mom who is positive, we do have negative pressure rooms, and they are going to separate from that pregnant population. That nurse will only be assigned to that individual, including the providers," Barba Ornelas said.

El Paso / News

JC Navarrete

El Paso native JC Navarrete co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend newscasts and reports during the week.

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