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San Antonio family shares experience of visiting son in NICU during coronavirus pandemic

Local family changing the way they visit their son at North Central Baptist Hospital in Stone Oak

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio family is sharing how they are dealing with having their baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) during the coronavirus pandemic.

Marianne and Jason Norris have to take precautions at the hospital to see their son, Ryan.

“To get in the hospital at all, now you have to have your temperature taken, and they ask you questions,” said Marianne Norris, Ryan’s mother.

Marianne said only one of them can see Ryan at a time. She said before they see him, they each have to fill out a form to say they are not sick. They also sanitize their phones and wash their hands before entering the room.

“They didn’t know what was going to happen. He was on full oxygen, and you start to get a little bit better. There’s been ups and downs,” said Jason Norris, Ryan’s dad.

Ryan is 14 weeks old. He has a condition where the tube that carries food from his mouth to his stomach is not developed.

Ryan is at the NICU at North Central Baptist Hospital in Stone Oak. His family believes their son is safer in there during the pandemic.

“I feel like that’s the best place for him right now, honestly, because he is not out and susceptible to, you know, just germs that we don’t know what’s where,” Marianne said.

The family said they couldn’t do this alone. They thanked the staff members at the hospital, who are on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19.

“We just want to say thank you. And we know that you’re putting your lives on the line when I’m sure you rather be at home with your family and keeping safe, but because you do that for us, you make our life so much better,” Marianne said.

The family said Ryan is a fighter, and they can’t wait to bring him home.

Baptist Health System sent KSAT the following statement:

“We continually update our prevention measures in concert with our City of San Antonio Metro Health District, Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in alignment with local, state and federal government recommendations to ensure the safety of our patients and medical staff.

"In the NICU, we continue to enforce and strengthen the already stringent infection prevention protocols in place to protect the most vulnerable of our patients. These include:

  • All personnel wear surgical masks
  • Visitors are limited to 2 banded individuals
  • Only one visitor is allowed at the bedside at a time
  • Double screening: family member is screened when entering the hospital and goes through an infection control screening process when entering the NICU
  • Only essential personnel are allowed in the NICU (no cuddlers, students, etc.)
  • All NICU staff and NICU respiratory therapists only go to the NICU, nowhere else in the hospital

We have a no visitor policy and strict screening measures for anyone who enters the hospital that are based on CDC guidelines and in line with all hospitals in San Antonio.”

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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