RSV cases on the rise in Massachusetts

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) — As RSV cases continue to rise in the Baystate, Western Mass News is getting answers on the impact this is having on local residents and nearby hospitals

Hospitals across Baystate are still seeing a surge in RSV, a virus that can be dangerous to young children.

“My daughter actually had it when she was six weeks old. And it’s very scary. It’s very real and I’m really worried about how quickly it can get this bad,” said Chicopee’s Paula Roy.

RSV usually looks like the common cold to most adults, but it can be especially dangerous for young children and older adults.

And as the holiday season approaches, ER director of care Sara McKeown told Western Mass News that Cooley Dickinson Hospital is expecting an increase.

“RSV is contagious, just like Covid, and holidays are where we get together with family and friends. And we’ve become more relaxed with wearing masks, and you know people are contagious and germs are spread. We anticipate an increase in RSV over the holiday periods,” she said.

This year, hospitals across the country are recording an unprecedented number of cases of the virus.

“Our emergency room is overloaded and has been for several, several weeks. It’s not just the crowd that’s coming in, but we’re struggling with admissions, we’ve been admitting patients because the hospital is full,” she said.

And over at Baystate Medical Center, the pediatric intensive care unit has also reached capacity.

RSV is often associated with children, but Dr. Weijen Chang, Baystate’s chief of pediatric medicine, told us there are growing concerns it could affect other populations.

“We are concerned about the rise in RSV at this time and not just in the pediatric population. There is growing concern among adult physicians here in Baystate, but also across the country, that the disease could spread to the adult population,” he explained.

dr Chang told Western Mass News medical experts are also concerned about the cold and flu season

He said their adult intensive care unit was making room to accommodate children.

“We are doing our best to ensure that we free up beds in both units to care for children who need it… We have created a pediatric space in the ICU so that we can accommodate small infants in the NICU,” said Dr. Chang.

In the meantime, Roy has some advice for other parents:

“Do not wait. If you know your baby isn’t well, take the next step you need to take and just be careful,” she said.

dr McKeown said parents concerned about their children should call their pediatrician to decide whether or not a trip to the emergency room is necessary.

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