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A baby died during birth on Sunday after the mother, who was infected with COVID-19, was forced into premature labour. The woman was experiencing extreme symptoms directly related to the virus, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate.
Health officials in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said the mother’s contraction of COVID-19 forced her to deliver the child almost four months early. The baby will be tested for coronavirus, but regardless of the results it will be counted as a COVID-19-related death.
Louisiana currently has at least 14,000 cases of COVID-19 and over 500 deaths.
Dr. Beau Clark, a local coroner, called the incident a “very tragic case,” explaining that if the mother hadn’t contracted a case of coronavirus then her pregnancy would have proceeded as expected.
Health officials will protect the identity of the mother however Dr. Clark did reveal that she was suffering from hypoxia, a condition that comes after the body is deprived of oxygen and had to be placed on a ventilator.
Low oxygen levels are a prominent symptom in COVID-19 patients, in some cases this symptom is severe enough to have fatal outcomes.
This is not the first case of a baby dying from a coronavirus related death, a nine-month-old infant died in Illinois in March and another infant died in Connecticut.
Dr. Clark said an investigation will be conducted into whether the virus was transmitted in the womb, a discovery which would have “huge ramifications” on understanding this virus.
The Public Health Agency of Canada said that doctors still have no evidence that the virus can be transmitted mother-to-child or that transmission may occur in the third trimester. The Agency does recommend that mothers who have tested positive isolate themselves from their children as much as possible.
Additionally, there is no available evidence to suggest that pregnant women are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 but officials still recommend that, “Pregnant women should take all the same precautions as the general public, such as avoiding sick people and public gatherings, frequently washing hands and sanitizing surfaces,”