'This is our pandemic': UCSF says its children's hospitals are 'overflowing' as RSV cases soar

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Sunday, November 6, 2022
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Bay Area children's hospitals are packed with sick kids, prompting emergency room doctors to sound the alarm.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Bay Area children's hospitals are packed with sick kids prompting emergency room doctors to sound the alarm.

"This situation right now with RSV and other respiratory viruses is basically our March 2020 -- this is our pandemic," aid Dr. Jackie Grupp-Phelan, division chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals, overseeing both the Oakland and San Francisco facilities.

"We've had our highest volume days at Oakland and San Francisco (than) at anytime that we've been recording in the past five years," said Grupp-Phelan, noting RSV and other respiratory illnesses are hitting kids much harder than COVID-19.

VIDEO: Beds at this Bay Area hospital are 'all full' amid surge in RSV cases among children

"Our ICUs are at capacity. We have boarding children in the emergency department that haven't even been sent up to the floor, because all the hospital beds have been taken," she said.

Both hospitals are relied on far beyond the borders of their respective cities, typically taking countless transfers.

"We have not been able to take children who we normally take from outside into our intensive care units and into our acute care side of the hospital. We are very severely affected right now," said Grupp-Phelan.

Maritza Solaris is a mother of three, all of whom are right in that risky age range for RSV.

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"I don't want my kids to get it. It's scary. It's another just thing we have to keep our kids safe from," she said.

"I do worry that with the uptick across the country, they could get affected, possibly hospitalized," said Cheruba Prabakar, who is also a mother of three young children. "We just try to be safe, wear the masks when possible, wash our hands and all that."

The Grupp-Phelan is advising parents to watch out for symptoms of RSV.

"What parents can look for is increased work of breathing, inability to take liquids, not being able to urinate at least two or three times a day, looking more listless or less active," she said. "These are things that we would really want to check in with our primary care doc."

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