Swedish Edmonds will be converting its NICU into an ICU for COVID-19 patients. (Unsplash)
Women planning to give birth at Swedish Hospital in Edmonds will soon have to go elsewhere, according to internal communications obtained by KIRO Radio.
The Obstetrics (Labor and Delivery) department and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Swedish Edmonds are closing and being converted to Intensive Care Units, to accommodate an expected influx of critically ill COVID-19 patients. Nurses in both departments were informed of the closure in a staff meeting before the weekend.
“If you come to Swedish Edmonds after Friday, you could very well deliver in the emergency room,” a NICU nurse at Swedish Edmonds told The Gee & Ursula Show on KIRO Radio. “That’s not where you want to have a baby.”
She recommends that expecting mothers consult with their provider on what to do.
“The Providence Everett Women’s Pavilion is a freestanding building and is less likely to have sick people,” she noted.
On Friday, premature babies currently in the NICU will be transferred to other Swedish Hospitals, most likely Providence Hospital in Everett, while one Labor and Delivery physician and two nurses will remain at Swedish Edmonds for two weeks to care for incoming deliveries.
“Our hospitals are overwhelmed,” said the Swedish NICU nurse. “Please stay home. Please wash your hands, and wash your hands again, and only go out if you must.”
Nurses at Swedish Edmonds were told they could continue working in OB/NICU departments at Providence in Everett, Swedish First Hill, or could stay in Edmonds to assist in temperature screenings at entrance control stations, or be assigned to COVID-19 drive through testing in the hospital’s garage.
“My heart is just broken right now — as of today, no one knows where they will be going or what they will be doing,” the NICU nurse said. “I get it. It’s very much needed.
Drive through COVID-19 testing at Swedish in Edmonds is currently available for Swedish patients and employees only.
Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.