ISTANBUL, TURKEY – MAY 14: A health official checks the vitals of a new born baby right after the … [+]
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New guidelines from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) call for testing all newborns delivered by moms who test positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus or who are suspected of having the illness.
The newly-outlined protocol requires testing newborns at approximately 24 hours of age. If those initial results are negative, testing should be repeated at 48 hours of age. For asymptomatic babies expected to be discharged before 48 hours passes, a single test may be performed between 24-48 hours of age.
The CDC says data suggests that babies younger than a year old who contract Covid-19 may be at a higher risk of severe illness than older children. The agency says that the majority of term infants (born after 37 weeks gestational age) in case studies were asymptomatic or had very mild symptoms. However, severe disease requiring mechanical ventilation had been reported in some Covid-19 positive babies.
Symptoms in babies are similar to those exhibited in adults including fever, lethargy, rhinorrhea, cough, tachypnea, labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, and feeding intolerance or decreased intake.
It’s believed that transmission to newborns occurs through respiratory droplets during the postnatal period when they are exposed to their mothers, other caregivers, visitors, or healthcare personnel with Covid-19.
Temporary separation of a newborn from a Covid-19-positive mother is recommended to lower the risk of transmission. That separation can be achieved by placing the baby in a separate room, maintaining six feet of distance between mom and baby, and putting the baby in a temperature-controlled isolette in the mother’s room.
If separation is not undertaken, a mother can reduce the risk by wearing a cloth face covering and practicing careful hand washing during all contact with her baby.
The CDC says face masks should not be used on babies or any children younger than two years old.