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RSV cases rising on the Central Coast

As pediatric hospital beds in the Bay Area near capacity, more kids are visiting Central Coast emergency rooms with respiratory symptoms. Following a nationwide trend, respiratory cases including the flu, cold and Respiratory Syncytial Virus are surging across the central coast.Hospitals on the Central Coast are unable to treat more severe cases; if needed they’ll transfer patients to Lucile Packard Hospital at Stanford or the University of California, San Francisco.While on vacation visiting family, Salinas native, Talia Darby rushed her 9-month-old child, Matthew, to the emergency room at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital after her son had trouble breathing. “He started to start coughing, like incessantly,” Darby said. “He pretty much didn’t have very many breaks in between the coughing spells, and he started to feel a little bit warm. But it was really more so later in the evening when I was feeding him, I noticed his breathing was labored. It was much more exaggerated. You could see like the rise and the fall weren’t — he didn’t have that smooth cadence. It was much more punctual with each one.”Matthew has been in the hospital on oxygen since Wednesday but is expected to make a full recovery.In October SVMH had 560 pediatric respiratory cases and 50 hospital admissions. That’s nearly twice compared to last year, hospital officials said.As of Friday, SVMH had six pediatric patients with respiratory illnesses, four of which are RSV cases. “We just transferred a patient today that they told us was getting the last ICU bed at Lucile Packard,” said Lindsey Macbeth-Hymes, a registered nurse at SVMH.Meanwhile, at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, there’s an average of six positive RSV cases per day. On Friday, Dominican transferred two kids in critical care to Lucile Packard.In San Benito County, Hazel Hawkins reports having trouble finding beds for critical pediatric patients with RSV. “Things have been really ramping up in the emergency department. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact kids are back in school. And so, for a long time, our kids were masked in school. They were not exposed to all the viruses that they’re now being exposed to,” said Dr. Erica Locke, a physician at SVMH.Doctors hope to raise awareness about the spread of this virus.“I think it’s important now that everyone be aware that this is a potentially severe viral illness that’s circulating in our community. And once we get the word out, hopefully, people will then take the appropriate precautions,” Dr. Martha Blum, the medical director for infection prevention at Montage Health in Monterey, said. “The issues that come up with RSV is that it is not a vaccine-preventable disease. That means there is no shot or vaccine that you can get to prevent getting RSV.” To prevent RSV, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people cover their cough and sneezes, wash their hands, limit sharing any cups and eating utensils and clean frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs and cellphones.

As pediatric hospital beds in the Bay Area near capacity, more kids are visiting Central Coast emergency rooms with respiratory symptoms.

Following a nationwide trend, respiratory cases including the flu, cold and Respiratory Syncytial Virus are surging across the central coast.

Hospitals on the Central Coast are unable to treat more severe cases; if needed they’ll transfer patients to Lucile Packard Hospital at Stanford or the University of California, San Francisco.

While on vacation visiting family, Salinas native, Talia Darby rushed her 9-month-old child, Matthew, to the emergency room at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital after her son had trouble breathing.

“He started to start coughing, like incessantly,” Darby said. “He pretty much didn’t have very many breaks in between the coughing spells, and he started to feel a little bit warm. But it was really more so later in the evening when I was feeding him, I noticed his breathing was labored. It was much more exaggerated. You could see like the rise and the fall weren’t — he didn’t have that smooth cadence. It was much more punctual with each one.”

Matthew has been in the hospital on oxygen since Wednesday but is expected to make a full recovery.

In October SVMH had 560 pediatric respiratory cases and 50 hospital admissions. That’s nearly twice compared to last year, hospital officials said.

As of Friday, SVMH had six pediatric patients with respiratory illnesses, four of which are RSV cases.

“We just transferred a patient today that they told us was getting the last ICU bed at Lucile Packard,” said Lindsey Macbeth-Hymes, a registered nurse at SVMH.

Meanwhile, at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, there’s an average of six positive RSV cases per day. On Friday, Dominican transferred two kids in critical care to Lucile Packard.

In San Benito County, Hazel Hawkins reports having trouble finding beds for critical pediatric patients with RSV.

“Things have been really ramping up in the emergency department. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact kids are back in school. And so, for a long time, our kids were masked in school. They were not exposed to all the viruses that they’re now being exposed to,” said Dr. Erica Locke, a physician at SVMH.

Doctors hope to raise awareness about the spread of this virus.

“I think it’s important now that everyone be aware that this is a potentially severe viral illness that’s circulating in our community. And once we get the word out, hopefully, people will then take the appropriate precautions,” Dr. Martha Blum, the medical director for infection prevention at Montage Health in Monterey, said. “The issues that come up with RSV is that it is not a vaccine-preventable disease. That means there is no shot or vaccine that you can get to prevent getting RSV.”

To prevent RSV, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people cover their cough and sneezes, wash their hands, limit sharing any cups and eating utensils and clean frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs and cellphones.

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