A Michigan pediatric hospital is reporting it is completely full due to a surge of cases linked to respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.
C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor — which is about 44 miles west of Detroit — said it has seen 259 children sick with RSV this season, a 46% spike from the same number seen this time last year.
Hospital officials said they are worried that this surge — coupled with an earlier flu season and a potential new COVID-19 wave — could put more stress on the health care system.
“We have never seen a surge in pediatric respiratory viruses like this before,” Luanne Thomas Ewald, chief operating officer at Mott Children’s Hospital, said in a statement. “Our hospital is 100% full. This is incredibly concerning because we haven’t even seen the full impact of flu season yet.”
The situation in Michigan is just the latest example of some hospitals across the country reporting they have reached capacity due to a high number of RSV cases.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, weekly RSV cases nationwide have risen from 5,872 the week ending Oct. 1 to 8,597 the week ending Nov. 5.
In Michigan, the 5-week average of positive RSV tests has increased from 95.7 the week ending Oct. 1 to 257 the week ending Oct. 29, the latest date for which CDC data is available.
Because of this, 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, doctors are asking parents to call their children’s primary care physician first to determine whether they need such treatment.
“The vast majority of children with RSV experience cold symptoms and can rest and recover at home,” Dr. Kimberly Monroe, interim chief clinical officer and pediatric hospitalist at Mott Children’s Hospital, said in the statement.
She continued, “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.”
Although it’s 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.
Mott has reported it is postponing some elective procedures and is currently working to increase bed capacity, including transferring patients to local hospitals.
“We’re working very closely with our partners around the state to find space for children who need care even if it’s not at our hospital,” Ewald said.
The hospital did not immediately reply to ABC News’ request for comment.