A surging respiratory virus is causing unprecedented levels of hospitalizations for children nationwide and in the Bay Area and the outbreak has some local hospitals setting up tents to handle the load.
At UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, and at its facility in Oakland, tents have gone up for treatment of children 2 years of age and younger, outfitted with seven beds — both facilities are operating at capacity.
“We are just at the breaking point for hospital admission for ICU beds in the pediatric population,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong of UCSF.
All of this because of RSV, respiratory syncytial virus, which causes infections of the respiratory tract. Experts say hospitals nationwide haven’t seen this many pediatric hospitalizations in years, COVID actually lead to few pediatric hospitalizations.
“The next step is a state of emergency. The American Academy of Pediatricians is asking for it at the national level to give more flexibility to personnel to move from adult hospitals to pediatric hospitals for children to be taken care of in adult beds if necessary,” said Chin-Hong.
Experts also report a surge in seasonal flu and COVID cases. With uncertainty about how all of these viruses would interact, health departments are recommending people keep their vaccinations up to date, especially with indications this might be a severe flu season.
“A lot of people haven’t been vaccinated here yet or over the past couple of years or exposed to flu,” said Dr. Darvin Smith, Kaiser Infectious Disease Specialist. “So that makes us more susceptible to getting the flu.”
It appears a vaccine for RSV is at least a year away. Health experts continue to say mask up, wash your hands frequently and clean surfaces, especially children’s play things.Surging Respiratory Virus Causing Pediatric Hospitalizations
Source: NBC Bay Area