DENVER — State health officials issued a warning Wednesday about the spread of RSV in our community.
"[It's] a pretty unusual, severe RSV season that we're experiencing currently," CDPHE State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said.
Since Oct. 1, there have been 525 children and 29 adults hospitalized with RSV. The hospitalization rate is currently higher than it was at any other point in the past four RSV seasons.
"It's earlier than usual to see levels of hospitalizations this high and also much higher than we typically see," Herlihy said.
This is putting a strain on our hospital systems, including Children's Hospital Colorado. Two weeks ago, staff put up a tent outside to move children who aren't as sick out of the emergency room.
"To put it mildly, we are seeing a very early and intense start to both the RSV and flu seasons, and our emergency departments and inpatient units are really managing patient volumes like we've never seen before," said Dr. Kevin Carney, associate chief medical officer at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Apart from allocating beds and expanding its inpatient care areas, the hospital system is now having to postpone some surgeries and procedures.
"Despite all these efforts, patients and their families are currently experiencing significantly longer wait times in our emergency departments due to the sheer volume of people seeking care," Carney said.
With capacity challenges expected to last for weeks or even months, doctors recommend washing your hands, covering your coughs and sneezes and wearing masks if symptomatic.
"It's important to be mindful of playdates, family gatherings and holiday events, and to take precautions beforehand and stay home if you're sick," Carney said.
But most importantly, don't hesitate to seek help if your child is sick, even if getting that help may take longer than normal.