DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The medical director of the Pediatric ICU at Duke University Children’s Hospital said they have a “surge plan” to increase resources if Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) and flu cases keep filling up floors.
“Bracing for a long and busy winter, so we’re looking at surge plans to open up additional floors, additional beds with the potential available resources,” Duke Pediatric ICU Medical Director Omar Alibrahim said.
Meanwhile, David Weber at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill said more beds are already in the works to combat RSV and flu during the holiday season.
“This has overwhelmed a number of pediatric services in hospitals,” Weber said. “For instance, at UNC in Chapel Hill, we will be opening up this week some additional pediatric beds to help handle that surge.”
Duke Health reported 229 positive flu tests last week, up from 215 the week prior. The health system also reported 165 RSV cases last week.
“We send one patient out and we’ve got another one waiting to come in,” Duke Clinical Operations Director Kristen Ammon said. “To see it this much, this early and for this long, is certainly something I’ve never seen in my nursing career.”
Alibrahim said the cause of this year’s early and strong respiratory-illness season could be in part due to lifting restrictions with kids who had yet to be exposed to other illnesses.
“Now with restrictions kind of being off and school being open, kids back in school — all the kids are exposed to certain viruses,” Alibrahim said.
He recommends parents stay on the lookout for any breathing difficulties, fever, cough, and other flu-like symptoms that might mirror those of RSV.