Local hospitals busy with pediatric patients
ROCHESTER, N.Y. Our local emergency rooms are packed again. This time, it’s the smallest patients in our community needing the most help.
Pediatricians, family doctors, urgent cares and hospital emergency rooms are very busy right now dealing with a slew of different respiratory issues.
“The cuts, scrapes, bruises and broken bones of the summer have given way to the viral respiratory illnesses,” says Dr. Colleen Markevicz, the Medical Director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at Rochester General Hospital. “RSV has picked up in the last week or so. Enterovirus and rhinovirus is also something very common that we’re seeing and it’s a little bit early. We’re also seeing flu cases.”
As for the timing of this spike, “I think there was a lot of fear of Covid for so long that now there’s this belief that my kid isn’t sick if they’re COVID negative and if they’re COVID negative they can go to school because they’re not sick,” Dr. Markevicz says. “So, we’re spreading things easier because they’re closer to each other and they would’ve stayed home in the past.”
How are parents supposed to know if their child’s sickness is something that requires a visit to the doctor or even an emergency room?
“Watch their breathing,” Dr. Markevicz says. “If it’s faster than normal up to two to three times faster than normal or if they’re using their entire body to help them breathe, you’ll see the belly sort of moving in and out to physically help push the air in and out. Then you need to call your doctor right away.”
The other issue with these illnesses is dehydration. At Rochester General Hospital, they’re seeing 90-100 new patients every single day.
“We have learned to be creative and find spaces to take care of patients,” Dr. Markevicz says. “So, I don’t know that we worry about capacity. We’re an emergency department. We will see anyone who comes in.”
Monroe County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza says that while most frontline health care workers will say what Dr. Markevicz says about capacity, the reality is all of our local hospitals are full and staff is short.
“We, as a community, owe it to the hospitals to do what we can to keep people out of the hospital,” he tells News10NBC. “If we can prevent flu, if we can prevent these respiratory illnesses, we decrease the burden on our ERs and the nurses and physicians and other staff that work there.”