Children’s Hospital of Michigan says it is 100% full due to RSV surge

Children’s Hospital of Michigan says it is 100% full due to RSV surge

Children’s Hospital of Michigan reports that it is completely full due to an increase in cases associated with respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

CS Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor — located about 44 miles west of Detroit — said it has seen 259 children with RSV this season, a 46% increase from the same number seen in this time last year.

Hospital officials said they were concerned that this surge — along with an earlier flu season and a potential new wave of COVID-19 — could put more stress on the health care system.

“We’re 100% filled, I think we’re going into our sixth week, and RSV seems to have come up earlier this year and in higher numbers this year,” Luanne Thomas Ewald, chief operating officer at Mott Children’s Hospital, told ABC. News. “And the fact that we’re already full is a concern because we’re just starting to see the flu in our emergency department.”

She continued, “Some reports have told us that we’re also going to see an increase in children with COVID during this flu season. So we haven’t really seen the full impact of flu and COVID — and we’re already at capacity.”

The situation in Michigan is just the latest example from some hospitals across the country they report that they have reached capacity due to the high number of cases of RSV.

Symptoms of RSV in babies.

TNS via Newscom

According to data from the Center for Disease Control and Preventionweekly RSV cases nationwide rose from 5,872 in the week ending Oct. 1 to 8,597 in the week ending Nov. 5.

In Michigan, the five-week average for positive RSV tests rose from 95.7 for the week ending Oct. 1 to 257 for the week ending Oct. 29, the latest date for which CDC data is available.

As a result, officials say wait times in the emergency department at Mott Children’s Hospital are much longer than usual.

To ease the burden on emergency room staff, Ewald said she and other hospital officials are asking parents to call their children’s primary care doctor first to determine if they need such treatment.

“Most pediatricians can diagnose RSV and treat RSV, and most kids recover really well with rest and hydration,” Ewald said. “We’re really trying to say to the community throughout the state of Michigan, please partner with your pediatrician. Let’s use our urgent care as well and only come to the emergency room when it’s absolutely necessary.”

PHOTO: Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., in a 2020 Google Street View image.

Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., in a Google Street View 2020 image.

Google Maps Street view

Although rare, between 100 and 500 pediatric deaths occur from RSV every year, according to the CDC. Deaths among children from RSV have already been reported in states including Michigan and Virginia.

Ewald said the hospital is working to increase capacity by treating children in rooms traditionally used for blood draws and on stretchers lined up in the hallway, and they are doubling up on stretchers in private rooms. The hospital is also considering transferring patients to local medical centers.

“We work very closely with our community hospitals. Some of our community hospitals have several pediatric beds available,” Ewald said. “So we’re really trying to take a statewide approach to make sure we’re taking care of these kids in our state.”

She also encouraged parents to make sure their children are up to date on their flu and COVID-19 vaccines, practice good hand hygiene and consider wearing masks indoors.

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