ALL young persons who are returning home from a country that has COVID -19 transmission should self-isolate for 14 days, advises consultant gynaecologist Dr Catherine Minto-Bain.
“You may not have symptoms and yet you may be shedding it. Do not go and give it to all the people who don’t need it. When you come home, you should self-isolate which means you don’t go out and you don’t come into contact with people,”she said.
Since returning to T&T last weekend from New York, Minto-Bain has gone into self-imposed isolation. She has no symptoms of COVID-19 but the state of New York has registered more than 2,000 cases of the highly infectious virus. So out of an abundance of caution, Minto-Bain sees it as her moral obligation to socially distance herself from others.
“I have not left the house, I have not been within two metres of my family members. I do not want to be the reason that other people who can’t cope with it are damaged or infected with COVID-19,” said Minto-Bain. “I think the youths may feel that they’re invincible but the reality is that they’re the ones that will spread it and they may well have no symptoms. I really want to implore people to self-isolate for 14 days when they come back to the country.”
Minto-Bain who is the medical director of the TTIVF & Fertility Centre also shares the view of her fellow colleagues that women should seriously reconsider getting pregnant at this time. The TTIVF and Fertility Centre has put a mandatory stop to all fertility treatment at this moment. In addition the Centre recommends that all patients currently in IVF cycles should freeze their embryos and that all patients in other fertility treatments such as IUI and Ovulation Induction should consider cancelling their treatments and defer their pregnancy until a safer time.
Strict measures implemented
The centre has also implemented measures to restrict contact between staff and patients to a minimum. This includes the closures of two of its clinics (Maraval) and (Charlieville) to patients.
“We don’t know what kind of health care system will be available for women who are getting pregnant now. We don’t know what will be available to them in the next two, three or four months so now is not the time to be getting pregnant. This is a difficult time for the country. Pregnant women require health care but the health workers and our health system need to focus on getting the sick safely through COVID-19. It’s not the time to be adding to the burden on the health care system. It’s just not socially responsible to be getting pregnant at this time,” she said.
Minto-Bain also sought to assure expectant mothers in our population who are concerned about COVID-19 and its potential effects on them and their unborn. Experts are learning more about the virus every day. As it relates to COVID-19 and pregnant women, Minto-Bain referred to the latest information coming out of the medical field which states that COVID-19 does not pose a specific threat to pregnant women.
“Pregnant women are not more likely to get COVID-19, they’re not more likely to miscarry or have a problem with their baby and they’re not more likely to have severe disease,” she said.
That being said, Minto-Bain added that there is still a lot that physicians do not know about this virus, what is known however is that pregnant women are more susceptible to having problems with certain viruses. COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be one of them, probably.
“So out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women should be reducing social contact and doing all the things that we have been told to do to avoid COVID-19,” she said.
Minto-Bain also said pregnant women should not be unduly concerned that COVID-19 can have similar effects on their babies as Zika had on babies whose mothers were infected.
“Zika was very, very different. It infected foetal brain tissue, it infected the placenta, it infected the baby. We are not seeing infection going across the placenta to the baby with COVID-19. Of course, only time will tell, but we have a lot of data around the world to say that that is the truth at the moment,” she said.