DAL Covid-19 Update 3-24-20

DAL COVID-19 Update 3/24/20

Hello community! We know many people are anxious right now, and we want to share some of our confidence and sense of purpose with you by keeping you informed about our maternity and gynecology care plan for you, and offering you some resources. We hope this update will answer some common questions that have been coming up in our clinic visits too. 

Will Dar a Luz Close? 

This is a question that has come up many times in the last week.  If we can adhere to social distancing in general but especially to the policies that we are implementing (see below), I feel confident that we will be able to keep our doors open and serve our clients as we always have. 

The only way we would close is if we had too many staff who were sick and unable to give adequate and safe care. If that happened, we would give you advance notice and help you transfer your care to other providers. We remain dedicated to your continued, high quality, personal care. 

We are proud to provide you with essential care at this sensitive time. We are proud to be on this journey with you. Each member of our staff is adhering to our high standards for safety. Each person with whom you are interacting at the center is healthy. No one has had any symptoms of COVID-19, nor do they have family members with symptoms. No one at the center has traveled for several weeks and our staff and family members have been amazing at following social distancing rules in general. We are doing this for our own families and for yours, and we ask that you do the same. 

COVID-19 Questions 

Currently, there is no evidence that the virus is transmitted to babies in utero or through breastmilk. There is no evidence that a mother with the virus endangers her baby as long as she is not suffering severe symptoms that could produce other complications and she has appropriate personal protection equipment. However, the number of pregnant people who have tested positive and their babies is quite small and the data available is very limited. 

Some of our clients have asked if they should call our midwife on call if they are having COVID-19 symptoms. The short answer is yes. Remember we are available to you 24/7 for urgent matters, but if you have a worry-type of question and don’t know who else to call, we are here for you. 

The latest update on getting tested in NM: you must have severe symptoms (fever AND cough or shortness of breath) to get tested, and most places are requiring a note from a provider. They are running out of tests and asking that people with mild/moderate symptoms simply stay home for 14 days. If you are having severe symptoms and would like to get tested, please contact the midwife on call to talk about that. The birth center does not do testing. 

Screening at the door

We started screening all staff, clients and guests at the front door on Monday, 3/16, with temperature and screening questions. So far, so good! You all have been amazing! We have added some questions regarding being in contact with someone who has traveled, has tested positive for COVID-19 or has a pending test. We may reschedule clients according to our safety guidelines. 

Reduction in clinic visits = lots of rescheduling

We are sending many a message via text these days for scheduling and rescheduling. Overall, our clients have been so incredibly understanding about holding off on visits, rescheduling and accepting phone or telehealth visits instead. 

So please keep your eyes out for messages. If you have NOT heard from us about rescheduling, then you should plan to keep your in-person appointment time that is already scheduled. We are looking forward to seeing you! 

We went from two midwife visiting rooms per day down to one, in order to allow proper social distancing and minimize exposure risk. So you can imagine these single clinic schedules are completely full. Therefore, we really need your cooperation to keep things running smoothly: If you are getting sick, please let us know right away so we can reschedule you and make full use of our clinic time by offering that spot to others. For example, we have many gynecology clients who are on a waiting list while we prioritize our pregnant clients and mother/baby dyads. If you need to isolate yourself for safety, and you give us enough notice, we can help more people. 

Please remember that if you cancel less than 24 hours in advance, you may be subject to a $50 late cancel fee, unless you just became ill or exposed, and are canceling to protect the birth center. Thank you for your understanding.

Please keep your regularly scheduled appointment if you have NOT heard from us 24 hours prior to your appointment and you are not sick or exposed. We can’t be successful in this social distancing environment without your full cooperation, so we send a huge thank you to everyone this has affected so far!

Prenatal care schedule

For your prenatal visits, we are asking that you come alone as much as possible to decrease the number of people coming to the center. We ask again that you don’t bring children. We know this can be difficult, but it is for our community’s health. 

For now, prenatal clients will have in-person visits according to the following schedule: 

  • First trimester (aiming for 12 weeks) 
  • 20 weeks 
  • 28 weeks along with diabetes screening lab work 
  • 32 weeks 
  • 36 weeks along with GBS screening 
  • 37 weeks and after, we will see you weekly until birth 
  • If you have a higher-risk pregnancy, we will let you know if/when we need to see you sooner. 
  • If you want a visit in between, it will be scheduled as a telehealth visit (live video and audio through your phone or computer). 
  • If you have a problem that requires a physical exam or lab work, we will schedule you an in-person clinic visit  
  • This schedule is evidence-based, advised, and accepted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and various professional organizations in the United States for most pregnant people, but especially for low risk pregnant people, and that’s who we serve! After all, this is, and has always been, an evidence-based practice. 

Classes

Some of you have already started taking your classes virtually with Amity and Nancy, and it sounds like it is going very well! I know there have been some hiccups with logging in and videos getting dropped as the number of video conference users has increased globally. Even so, classes are required for your care at Dar a Luz, and we are taking attendance. We will work with you the best we can, but we need you to meet us halfway. If you have any suggestions, please let us know!

Support groups

We will be starting some virtual groups soon, both old and new. Robin is working to get our breastfeeding support group up and running on Zoom, so be on the lookout for more information on social media; you could also email her at robin@daraluzbirthcenter.org.  Kimberlee is starting our postpartum support group on Zoom on April 3rd and she and her husband Jose are offering a weekly 30 minutes stress reduction and resiliency building class every Friday from 11:00-11:30 starting this Friday! You may email her at kimberlee@daraluzbirthcenter.org for more information. And if any of our previous clients are interested in moderating a group — mommy’s happy hour, anyone? — we can help you do that! 

Birth partners

We were previously allowing clients to bring up to two people with them to the center for labor and birth. Unfortunately, we have to decrease this to one guest. However, if you have hired a certified/professional doula, you may bring that person also, for a total of two people. Everyone coming in the door will be screened.

Full months

We cannot accept any more due dates between April 1 and June 30 because our calendar is full. We have received many calls and requests for transfer of care for these next few months, but we were already at capacity even before the pandemic. We know this is an extremely worrisome and complicated time and we are sorry that we can’t increase our numbers. It comes down to safety and we know what our maximum number of due dates is per month.

Portal questions: 

Just a reminder to our current clients that you can always contact a midwife through the MacPractice portal https://daraluzbirthcenter.org/portal/ where you entered all of your history. Please do NOT send urgent or time-sensitive questions there, as we may not get to our portal questions for several days. If your matter is urgent, call the midwife on call (extension 8) or our nurse in the clinic (extension 5). If it’s non-urgent during business hours, try texting for a fast response.

Other questions

The spread of the coronavirus is rapidly changing our lives and the healthcare landscape, with new evidence coming out daily. As we incorporate new information, our understandings, plans and policies may change at any time. Our clients have been wonderfully understanding and flexible about this, and we are so very grateful

We sent our first newsletter about COVID-19 on March 14, and it answers many other questions you may have. You can find it here: https://daraluzbirthcenter.org/dar-a-luz-birth-health-center-position-statement-and-policies-regarding-covid-19/ 

If you have questions that we haven’t addressed yet, please send them to abigail@daraluzbirthcenter.org and we will answer them directly as soon as possible, and we may add them to our next newsletter too. 

We are all in this together! We’ve always provided evidence-based care, and that’s more important now than ever. So much is going on and we are working hard to keep things manageable, calm and as happy as can be! With your help, your birth center will continue to be a healthy, hopeful and peaceful safe-haven. We miss having all of our groups and classes and seeing so many faces in a day. But we are committed to keeping our center, staff and clients infection-free, and continuing to fulfill our mission: holding space for the miracle of natural birth. 

Warmly, 

Abigail Lanin Eaves, CNM

Executive Director

For More Information Please Visit:

Information from the NM Department of Health 
http://cv.nmhealth.org/

Information from the CDC
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Defining mild, moderate, severe symptoms:
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/13/814691018/coronavirus-symptoms-defining-mild-moderate-and-severe

Nine charts that explain the coronavirus
https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2020/3/12/21172040/coronavirus-covid-19-virus-charts?fbclid=IwAR34YBJhXPiMSYN9M7xpOXWEX1ac84q4fEBpvG2L75EociLcUSzVrDXBOmI

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