(WXYZ) — The Michigan Health & Hospital Association issued a call to parents on Friday urging them to take preventative measures as pediatric beds are filling up across the state due to a surge in respiratory illness such as RSV and influenza.
According to the association, Michigan pediatric intensive care unit hospital beds are currently 89% occupied. The association cites data from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) and Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS).
Hospitals are reporting surges in young patients coming to the emergency rooms; the association says hospitals are asking those with mild cold-like symptoms to stay at home.
If symptoms get worse, people are advised to head to an urgent care or primary care physician’s office. The ER, they say, should be reserved for those with moderate to severe symptoms.
“Hospitals are here for Michiganders, particularly in emergencies,” said Gary Roth, DO, chief medical officer, MHA in a press release. “But our capacity to provide pediatric hospital care is extremely strained. Right now, the staffing challenges we have been sounding the alarms about all year combined with rapid spread of respiratory illnesses are impacting our hospitals’ ability to care for our sickest children in a timely manner.”
The MHA and its pediatric clinical leaders and partners have issued the following tips:
- DON'T: Seek hospital emergency care for non-emergency medical conditions, such as mild symptoms and routine testing.
- DO: Seek hospital emergency care if symptoms are worrisome and emergency care is needed. Emergency medical conditions can include difficulty breathing, dehydration and worsening symptoms.
- DO: Immediately get vaccinated against respiratory illnesses. Visit www.vaccines.gov [vaccines.gov] to search for vaccine availability or call your provider or the local health department.
- DO: Be patient if seeking care through a hospital emergency department. Consider that wait times may be elevated as respiratory illnesses reach seasonal peak levels.
- DO: Consider having your children wear a mask in public places including school when you know local case rates of respiratory illnesses are high.
- DO: Practice frequent and proper hand washing and stay home if you’re not feeling well.
On Friday, Corewell Health East, formerly Beaumont Health, announced visitor restrictions as they are currently facing a large volume of patients with viral respiratory illnesses, including patients with respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.
Beginning Monday, November 7, at 8:00 a.m., Corewell Health East will implement additional visitation restrictions at its eight hospitals.
For the safety of patients and staff, children 5 years old or younger will not be allowed to visit the hospital. For cases of severe illness of a parent or sibling, or an end-of-life situation, the new policy may be adjusted.