RSV patients fill Minnesota hospitals ahead of holiday get-togethers

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Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 9:35 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (Northern News Now) -- Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, a group of leading doctors in pediatrics gathered Monday to speak on the current status of RSV and other viruses currently weighing down Minnesota hospitals.

“We have RSV, influenza, COVID at the same time, mostly influenza and RSV,” said Dr. Ashley Stobel of Hennepin Healthcare. “RSV affects those who are less than two years old the most.”

Many of the doctors spoke about what they’ve seen in their hospitals in recent weeks.

“What’s unusual with the current situation is both the timing and this is also a more severe season than we’ve seen in recent years,” said Dr. Robert Sicoli of Children’s Minnesota.

Sicoli said some days there have been 30 to 40 kids waiting in the emergency department for a bed.

It’s an issue happening all across the state.

“The impacts that these respiratory viruses are having on our hospitals and health systems, are not just happening here in the metro, we are seeing the same thing in greater Minnesota,” said Dr. Jill Amsberry of CentraCare in St. Cloud.

To help, doctors said parents shouldn’t immediately bring their kids to the ER, but monitor symptoms if they persist for multiple days and take advantage of virtual healthcare when they can.

“One of the things we’ve learned from the pandemic, one of the silver linings, is we have figured out ways to deliver this care that’s not necessarily in an ER or in a clinic,” said Dr. Abraham Jacobs of MHealth Fairview.

Doctors also warned people to be wary of conspiracies and misinformation.

“Get your healthcare information from reliable sources,” said Dr. Will Nicholson, President of the Minnesota Medical Association. “There’s nothing except your best interests that we’re focused on in times like this.”

The doctors also asked for patience in this trying time.

“Have mercy on us, we are working very hard and doing our absolute best,” Strobel said. “We are parents just like you, we are Minnesotans just like you and we want to take care of you.”

Doctors said the best thing parents can do to help stop the spread is to keep kids home from school and daycare if they experience symptoms of any illness.