Long wait times, no beds: These states have the most comprehensive children's hospitals

Long wait times, no beds: These states have the most comprehensive children’s hospitals

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), COVID-19 and influenza continue to overwhelm healthcare systems in the United States, well before the traditional start of the peak influenza and RSV season.

Currently, about three-quarters of hospital beds are already full in the United States, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.

COVID-19 cases have risen about 16% in the past two weeks, NBC News reported, and experts said cases will likely rise further as more people gather outside. interior during the holiday season. Also, a wave of COVID recently hit Europe, which could mean one is on the way in the US.

Flu cases, meanwhile, are skyrocketing, with hospitalizations, driven largely by children, at their highest level in 10 years at this point in the season. The number of flu hospitalizations in the last week of November was almost double that of the previous week.

The number of flu deaths since early October – around 4,500, including 14 children – is already on course to surpass last flu season’s total of around 5,000. An estimated 8.7 million have died. flu cases to date, up from 9 million total last season.

“This year’s flu season has gotten off to a bad start,” Dr. Sandra Fryhofer, chair of the board of directors of the American Medical Association, said during a press briefing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on 5 december. “The flu is here. It started early, and with COVID and RSV also circulating, it’s a perfect storm for a terrible holiday season.

VRS by state

RSV, a virus that primarily affects children and the elderly, has made headlines in recent weeks as it has caused serious illness at unprecedented levels. Several doctors told TODAY.com they have never seen such a high number of children who have required so many medical interventions because of the virus.

While CDC data shows nationwide cases trending downward, RSV cases by state are a different story. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at the Dec. 5 briefing that RSV cases peaked in the South and Southeast, and plateaued in the Mid-Atlantic, New England and Midwest.

But California hospitals still feel stressed, the Los Angeles Times reported. And state-level RSV data collected by the CDC shows that 23 states saw increases the week of Nov. 19. (The CDC collects the five-week average of RSV cases detected per week for most states.) These states are:

  • Oregon
  • Idaho
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Montana
  • Colorado
  • South Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • Kansas
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • Indiana
  • Ohio
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Vermont
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
  • Connecticut
  • New Jersey
  • West Virginia

Nationally, RSV cases are still higher than they were in early October, when children’s hospitals began to feel the strain from the surge, as TODAY.com reported at the time. Additionally, it is unclear whether the downturn will hold, as RSV typically peaks in January or February.

“Nationally, the numbers seem to be dropping,” Dr. Ashish Jha, White House COVID-19 task force coordinator, told NBC News. “We will want to see over the next few weeks where it goes. But the preliminary evidence right now is pretty optimistic.

Pediatric Hospital Beds Available by State

Regardless of what happens with each “highly contagious” virus, as Jha described them, it’s clear that hospitals, especially those serving children, are overwhelmed, and parents who have to take their child to one of them might have long wait times, if they can get a bed at all.

TODAY.com previously reported that a mother waited 4 p.m. in an Oklahoma emergency room as her 4-year-old daughter struggled to breathe. NBC Washington spoke with a Maryland mother whose son waited a week for a bed in an intensive care unit.

NBC News tracks the percentage and number of pediatric hospital beds available by state this RSV season, to get an idea of ​​where parents need to be most vigilant to protect children from respiratory illnesses. RSV and influenza are likely responsible for many hospitalizations, but other conditions also contribute.

As of November 24, about 30,000 of the country’s 40,000 pediatric hospital beds were available. Five states have a capacity of 90% or more. Currently, the most overwhelmed state is Maine at 109% capacity, followed by Arizona, Minnesota, Idaho and Rhode Island.

As flu and RSV season progresses, check back to see how full the pediatric hospital beds are in your state.

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