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In-Person Obstetric Visits Not Likely to Spread COVID-19

Findings suggest clinic visits can be safely done even during high COVID-19 community spread

TUESDAY, Aug. 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) — There does not appear to be a significant association between the number of in-person health care visits and the rate of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among obstetrical patients, according to a research letter published online Aug. 14 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Sharon C. Reale, M.D., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined whether the number of in-person health care visits was associated with the risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection for obstetrical patients delivering at four Boston-area hospitals between April 19, 2020, and June 27, 2020. Each of the 111 women testing positive (during pregnancy or at the time of admission for delivery) was matched to five control patients (matched for gestational age, race, insurance type, and ZIP code).

The researchers found that 45 of the 111 women tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection antenatally and 66 tested positive at the time of admission for delivery. The final matched analysis included 93 cases and 372 control women. The mean number of in-person visits was 3.1 and 3.3 for cases and controls, respectively. For each additional visit, the association between the number of in-person health care visits and SARS-CoV-2 infection yielded an odds ratio of 0.93 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.80 to 1.08). Results were similar in sensitivity analyses.

“The findings from this obstetrical population who had frequent in-person visits to a health care setting and underwent universal testing for SARS-CoV-2 infection suggest in-person health care visits were not likely to be an important risk factor for infection and that necessary, in-person care can be safely performed,” the authors write.

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