Hospitals brace for more flu, COVID, RSV cases

In New Jersey, flu activity is high in all regions of the state, and higher compared to the last several years.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Hospitals brace for more flu, COVID, RSV cases
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The American Academy of Pediatrics and Children's Hospital Association have asked for a national emergency declaration because some hospitals are overwhelmed.

CAMDEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas approaching, hospitals expect respiratory illnesses to rise.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and Children's Hospital Association have asked for a national emergency declaration because some hospitals are overwhelmed.

According to the CDC, the hospitalization rate in all kids for the week of November 12 was twice as high as any other flu season on record.

As people recover from Thanksgiving travel, they're also hoping they won't have to recover from a winter illness.

"In the airplane, in the airport, I wear my mask," said Linda Rosenblatt of Cherry Hill, who just returned from a Thanksgiving trip to Rhode Island.

After several years of precautions around gatherings, many are ready to have a pre-pandemic holiday season.

"Personally, it's just another season honestly. You just always get your flu shot and COVID seems to be dying down a little bit," said Ryan Recca, who lives at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. "So I'm personally not too concerned."

But doctors in our region are reporting higher than normal respiratory illness activity, with three different sicknesses going around.

Philadelphia had over 1,100 COVID cases last week, up 27% from the week before.

In New Jersey, flu activity is high in all regions of the state, and higher compared to the last several years.

At Cooper University Health Care in Camden, officials are seeing more flu hospitalizations.

"Today our census is 18 people, which is extremely high for this time of year," said Dr. Joseph Montella, Chief Medical Officer at Cooper University Health Care on Monday. "We normally see a rise in these cases somewhere in January or February."

Montella is also seeing more pediatric RSV patients at Cooper.

He says the best defense against these respiratory viruses is to get vaccinated for flu and COVID, especially when planning family gatherings.

"I think people can get back to normal," he said. "The best way to do it is, again, get those vaccinations now so that you can be comfortable."

Montella says Cooper has enough staff and enough beds, but emergency plans are in place in case that changes.