RSV Cases in Portland Hospitals Have Increased Dramatically

In the midst of an RSV outbreak, hospitals in Portland are reporting a severe lack of available paediatric intensive care unit beds. Doctors at Legacy said that the number of children in the ICU who have the virus has gone up by about 70% in the last three weeks.

At Randall Children’s hospital, Dr. Wendy Hasson is in charge of the ICU. Hasson said that this is happening at a time when there is a big lack of nurses and respiratory therapists.

“Our nurses have been working extra shifts, extra long hours, we’ve been pulling nurses from administrative roles, pulling nurses from operating rooms. We’ve been trying to be very, very creative about where we’re pulling staff from because we want to keep all of our hospital beds open,” she said.

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Dr. Andrew Miller is the top doctor at Portland’s AFC Urgent Care. Miller said that his team is also adding people and changing schedules because the number of people who want to take tests is going up.

“I can anticipate that the number of cases will definitely go up. There will be a lot of holiday exposure, a lot of family exposure and this is definitely going to get worse before it gets better,” he said.

Hasson said that the hospitals in Portland are sharing resources by working together. “We’re having sometimes three times daily conversations between the three children’s hospitals in Portland to see who has beds available to take care of these children,” she said.

Biology teacher Ken Stedman works at Portland State. Stedman said that he thinks the FDA will approve vaccines for RSV in the next few months.

“There’s also an antibody treatment. So, not unlike the monoclonal antibodies we’ve been hearing about for Covid but this actually, pregnant women can take these antibody doses and that protects their newborns,” he said.

Hasson told KATU that for the next few weeks, it’s best to keep babies away from crowded indoor places like airports.

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