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Kansas City Star: RSV, flu & COVID 'triple-demic' overwhelms KC hospitals. How to keep your family safe

By Natalie Wallington

Children’s Mercy Hospital officials announced Thursday that respiratory illnesses — particularly the flu and a virus called RSV — are severely impacting children in the Kansas City area. Local experts also warn that the viruses are causing illness among seniors. 

“We are at capacity,” said Jennifer Watts, the hospital’s chief emergency management medical officer, in a news conference Thursday. “Our staff keeps showing up every day, and they keep picking up extra shifts to make sure that we can take care of these kids. I will tell you, though, that it’s exhausting.” 

Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, is a common cause of illness in young children. At its mildest, it causes temporary cold-like symptoms — but at its most severe, it can require patients to be intubated to help them breathe.

Watts noted that this year’s viral surge is happening during an already difficult flu season. When combined with staffing shortages across the health care industry and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the so-called “triple-demic” is straining medical facilities in the metro and beyond. 

“We have 15 children waiting to get beds in our emergency department right now,” Watts said. “We can’t refer them anywhere else, because there are no beds in the region.”


Read the full story via The Kansas City Star

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