Ten newborns have been infected with coronavirus at the maternity award of Temesvár (Timişoara) Municipal Hospital, while their mothers tested negative for COVID-19, Romania’s Strategic Communication Group announced on Tuesday.
According to the official communiqué, the hospital tested 49 mothers and babies born on April 1; the results arrived on April 7, showing that ten newborns were infected with the virus. As the test results came back late, nine of them had already been released from the hospital between April 2-4.
Health Minister Nelu Tătaru called upon the Temesvár directorate of the National Health Service to immediately start epidemiological investigations and isolate all the families with the infected infants in their homes. The minister also demanded the retesting of all personnel and patients of the ward.
In its coverage of the issue, ziare.com news portal reminded readers that five nurses of the maternity ward had already tested positive for COVID-19 by March 31, and one of them worked in the delivery room. Testing was then extended to the all medical personnel of the hospital as well as to newborns and mothers; but these results arrived rather late in the first week of April.
By then, it was already certain that 25 people – including medical workers, mothers recovering from childbirth and one pregnant lady – plus the ten newborns had been infected with coronavirus. The Chief Medical Officer of the Temesvár National Health service, now dismissed, and the manager of the municipal hospital have only blamed each other for the situation. According Digi 24 news channel, the chain of infection started most likely with a nurse working in the maternity award; she had been infected by her paramedic husband, who had in turn gotten the disease from a patient he took to the hospital.
The public prosecutor’s office of the Temesvár court has opened a criminal investigation into the hospital for hindering the efforts of authorities in halting the pandemic. Prosecution suspects that the mandatory measures needed for preventing and limiting the spread of the infection were not upheld at the hospital.
UPDATE: On Wednesday a second test only showed five of the newborns are infected.
Title image: Nine of the ten infected newborns had been released from the hospital by the time their test results arrived