(WXYZ) — University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital leaders announced Thursday that their pediatric beds are “100% full” and they are now postponing some elective procedures amid a surge in respiratory viruses this season.
According to U-M Health, the hospital has seen a 46% increase in RSV this season with 259 cases so far. Leaders are reportedly expecting to see higher volumes as we head into the winter months.
U-M Health said the strain of respiratory illnesses has also led to longer wait times in the emergency department of the hospital.
“We have never seen a surge in pediatric respiratory viruses like this before. Our hospital is 100 % full,” said Luanne Thomas Ewald, FACHE, chief operating officer at Mott and Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital, in a press release.“This is incredibly concerning because we haven’t even seen the full impact of flu season yet.”
Hospital leaders say the majority of children with RSV can rest and recover at home, and they are urging parents to call their primary care provider first to figure out if they should schedule an in-person visit or head to urgent care.
“However, if they’re showing any signs of severe illness, such as trouble breathing, they may need immediate care and should be brought to the emergency department. We’re particularly concerned about children under the age of two,” said said Kimberly Monroe, M.D., M.S., interim chief clinical officer and pediatric hospitalist at Mott, in a press release.
Mott is reportedly working on ways to ensure that every child who needs a pediatric hospital bed will get one.
In recent weeks we have seen a significant surge in cases of RSV, which is impacting our infants and young children. Since Oct. 1, more than 800 patients have tested positive for RSV at our hospital. This is putting a strain on our hospital’s emergency department and inpatient bed capacity and could intensify if influenza cases begin to rise in the near future.
It is also important to note that RSV and its associated bronchiolitis cause symptomatic disease in 20% of infants and children less than one year of age. Although RSV may only cause a mild cold in older children and adults, it is important for parents to keep their infants and young children away from others who are ill, because RSV causes inflammation to the smallest airways making infants especially vulnerable sometimes resulting in hospitalization or ICU care.
Other patients who need to avoid RSV are children with a history of prematurity, chronic lung disease, congenital heart disease, immunodeficiency or solid organ transplant.