The big increase in RSV and influenza last year came after two years of restrictions on children (and mask-wearing) were lifted. BC Children’s Hospital is now asking families to consider the urgency of their symptoms before coming to the emergency room.
After hospital emergency wait times routinely exceed 10 hours and six children died from severe influenza last year, BC Children’s Hospital this year is asking families to give them advice on where and how they can receive care. issued guidance.
The hospital said in a statement Thursday that during the respiratory disease season from October to December last year, its emergency department provided care for more than 13,000 children, more than a third of whom were emergencies. He said he may have been receiving treatment for something other than the incident. Emergency medical environment.
However, the hospital has made it clear that if you require such treatment, you must visit the emergency room or call 911 for an ambulance.
“Our message to families is simple: If your child has an urgent health concern, please speak to one of our experts.” [emergency department] Our team is ready to provide them with exceptional care,” said Dr. Garth Meckler, Chief of Emergency Medicine.
But Dr. Meckler cautioned that “clinicians must first focus their attention on children with the most pressing problems.” So hospitals are advising families with non-urgent needs to be prepared to wait. You must bring “other items to support and soothe your child,” such as a cell phone charger, snacks, drinks, toys, and books.
Although not specified in the statement, after the state government reinstated emergency room parking fees, families arriving by car will also be subject to parking fees until March 2022, which had been lifted since the COVID-19 pandemic. need to pay.
According to the statement, the most common non-emergency concerns included “fever, mild respiratory symptoms (cough or congestion), nausea/vomiting, mild abdominal pain, and earache. A common immediate concern was children with moderate to severe respiratory distress.”
“Conditions that are considered non-emergency can be handled by your primary care physician, walk-in clinic, or if you have an available emergency primary care center in your community,” the hospital said.
Family members who are observing these symptoms can always call 811 for medical advice. Last month also saw the launch of BC Children’s. sunny bear chatbot Advise families about hospital services and provide tips to stay healthy during the respiratory period.
Kristi Hay, executive director of clinical service delivery, said the hospital “reviewed operational adjustments made last year in preparation for the upcoming respiratory season.”
Respiratory disease season is in its early stages but has not yet occurred
According to the BC Center for Disease Control’s Oct. 12 Respiratory Epidemiology Overview, respiratory infection season has not yet begun, as attendance rates at children’s hospitals remain below levels for the past two years so far. do not have. This report monitors three major viruses/diseases: influenza, RSV, and coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
So far, SARS-CoV-2 levels are rising at all wastewater treatment plants in the state, while positive tests for influenza and RSV remain low, below or comparable to pre-pandemic levels across the state.
BC Children’s Hospital overwhelmed in fall 2022
The state suffered a more severe pediatric respiratory disease season last year, following “low activity” in 2020/21 and 2021/22.
The BC Center for Disease Control’s 2022/23 respiratory season report says the flu hit early and hard, especially on children.
In children, the peak positive influenza A test rate (41%) was “significantly higher” than the historical average (16%) between 2014/15 and 2018/19. However, after the peak in mid-November, interest rates remained well below average until early 2023.
At its peak in November 2022, respiratory illnesses accounted for 50% of all emergency department visits for children ages 5 to 11, compared to about 20% a year earlier.
RSV then peaked in late December, with test positivity rates about twice the historical average for the entire population.
Meanwhile, detections of the SARS-CoV-2 virus remained “relatively stable,” with test positivity rates ranging from 2% in September to 15% at the end of April.
“Despite remaining within the high end of historical ranges, pediatric visit rates were some of the highest in the past 13 years. This observation is attributable to the low circulating levels of influenza over the past two respiratory seasons. “In 2022/23, more people will be susceptible to influenza,” the report said.