Fresno County Health reports taxed hospital system as the holidays get closer

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Friday, November 18, 2022
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With the holiday season fast approaching, an earlier-than-usual flu season and a rise in respiratory illnesses have hospitals on high alert.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With the holiday season fast approaching, an earlier-than-usual flu season and a rise in respiratory illnesses have hospitals on high alert.

Interim Health officer Dr. Rais Vohra says, "volume is really high there's always kind of a seasonal peak and the season should just be getting started and its already showing quite high numbers.

He says with increased access to COVID treatment and vaccines we're in a good position to combat that virus; adding, "we've come so far we're really, for lack of a better term, optimistic that we will have many more good layers to protect people coming into this season."

However, Dr. Vohra says now is the time not to let our guard down regarding safe practices.

The nationwide spike in RSV cases is being felt here in Central California-- Valley Children's hospital reporting 182 confirmed positive cases-- up from 66 the week prior.

80 of those children had to be hospitalized.

Dr. Hovig Artinian of UCSF Fresno says, "almost all of us by the age of two are exposed to RSV. The reason you don't see adults getting hospitalized by sv is because our airways can handle it... it really is those smaller airways that puts our infants at risk."

EMS is working with the state to be prepared for children who may require critical care for RSV.

Dr. Vohra says, "we have to get gear that fits into a small set of nostrils. We have to get gear that makes sense for children."

With other hospitals across the country at or near full capacity-- surge planning is underway.

California is already preparing plans to ease the strain on hospitals if they become overwhelmed.