The OHSU forecast predicts a severe burden on Oregon hospitals due to RSV | Tech US News


OHSU Hospital Emergency Department

Oregon Health and Science University experts predict a severe RSV burden on Oregon hospitals. (OHSU/Christine Torres Hicks)

Oregon hospitals will be under intense pressure for the next few weeks to manage a wave of critically ill infants and toddlers suffering from respiratory syncytial virus, according to the latest two-week forecast from Oregon Health and Science University.

The new forecast predicts that the number of weekly hospital admissions for adult and pediatric RSV cases will peak at 129 by Nov. 30 — well above the 77 admissions nationwide in the week ending Wednesday, Nov. 9. pediatric patients who contracted RSV and became critically ill.

Accept Oregon RSV per week

In a joint statement Thursday, Portland-area hospital leaders urged parents and caregivers to take proven steps to reduce the spread of the virus now.

“Due to the large number of sick young children currently requiring emergency care, caregivers and families can unfortunately experience long wait times in our emergency departments,” they said. “Additionally, urgent, immediate and primary care appointments can take longer. Except when emergency care is needed, we urge families and caregivers who are concerned to call their primary care physician first.

Peter Graven, Ph.D.  (OHSU)

Peter Graven, Ph.D. (OHSU)

The new forecast — which expands on the current forecast of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 for the entire country — projects that the RSV hospitalization rate in children will peak at about 80 hospitalizations at the end of this month and begin to decline around the first of December. Hospital admission rates are expected to remain at or near current levels until the Christmas holidays.

“We think we will see a peak in RSV over the next two to three weeks and then a gradual decline following previous seasonal patterns,” he said. Peter Graven, Ph.D.director of OHSU’s Office of Advanced Analytics.

Public health emergencies

Gov. Kate Brown declared a public health emergency on Monday to give hospitals more flexibility in staffing beds for children, allow them to draw on a pool of volunteer nurses and doctors and take other measures to care for children.

“Like other hospitals in the region and around the country, OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital is seeing a lot of sick patients right now. Diseases have hit our communities hard – and that’s on top of the tremendous health workforce challenges that the pandemic has exacerbated,” he said. Dana A. Braner, MD, Doernbecher chief physician. “We expect this increase in disease to continue in the coming months. The dedicated staff here at Doernbecher is incredible and will continue to provide quality and compassionate care to our patients.”

Doctors across the region stressed that the best thing parents can do to keep their children healthy and safe is to implement all the measures that have been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Consider wearing a mask.
  • Keep up to date on all routine vaccinations, including flu shots and COVID-19 boosters.
  • Limit infants’ exposure to frequent visitors and crowds, especially if they are at risk of severe illness and/or are less than 12 weeks old.

The new statewide forecast does not project a significant increase in the number of Oregonians hospitalized with COVID-19.


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