WITH RESPIRATORY VIRUSES SKYROCKETING IN FINGER LAKES CHILDREN, HUNDREDS OF NEW RSV CASES IN YATES COUNTY & REGION, NEARLY 3,000 IN MONROE COUNTY THIS YEAR ALONE, AND OVERBURDENED HOSPITALS STRUGGLING TO KEEP UP, SCHUMER CALLS ON FEDS TO LAUNCH NATIONWIDE ACTION PLAN TO PROTECT NY CHILDREN, KEEP OUR HOSPITALS PREPARED, AND COMBAT RSV BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE
Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV), Has Been Reaching Unprecedented Levels In Hospitals Nationwide At Nearly 7x The Weekly Rate Pre-Covid According To The CDC, At Strong Memorial Hospital, RSV Cases Have Tripled From This Time Last Year, 30% of Finger Lakes Health Urgent Care Patients Have RSV
RSV Can Be Serious For Young Children And The Elderly- 70% Of Hospitalized in Monroe County Are Aged 0-4 and Tragically Three Monroe Residents Have Died This Year Alone
Senator Says Feds Need A Comprehensive Plan To Address RSV and Be Ready to Send in Federal Support the Moment It’s Needed
Schumer: RSV Is On The Rise, And Feds Need To Step Up To Help Upstate Hospitals
Standing at Finger Lakes Health Systems’ Soldier and Sailors Hospital as Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV) cases surge in children across the Finger Lakes, U U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today launched a major new push to increase federal support for Upstate hospitals strained by the dramatic increase in RSV cases. At nearby Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester, they've seen up to 40% of patients in the pediatric emergency department with RSV, already putting them overcapacity, and at Strong Memorial Hospital, RSV cases have tripled from this time last year. Finger Lakes Health system has seen an over 8% increase with more than 300 people diagnosed with RSV, Flu, COVID-19 and a dramatic rise in pediatric RSV cases with 30% of their urgent care centers’ patient load now comprised of pediatric patients who have been particularly impacted by RSV this season. Flanked by pediatricians on the frontlines, Schumer said the spiking levels of RSV with growing flu rates warrants immediately federal action, and called for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to be ready to act at a moment’s notice to provide whatever support upstate hospitals need. Schumer reported that the federal government has unique authority to help, with the power to support temporary structures, surge staffing if there are not enough pediatricians available, moving patients across states lines, credentialing out of state providers, enhancing the use of telehealth, coordinating medical supply chains and more.
“Finger Lakes hospitals are facing an unprecedented surge in RSV cases among children, and public health experts all say it is only going to get worse as we enter the cold winter months. Normally, RSV cases start to grow in October and November before peaking in December and January. It is outright scary given that hospitals are already struggling to keep up, and it’s possible the worst is yet to come. As a grandfather to two young children, there is nothing more terrifying than the thought of them getting sick, and all across the Finger Lakes parents are facing hospitals who are pushed to the brink, with increased wait times, full beds, all while their child is struggling to breathe because of RSV,” said Senator Schumer. “Hospitals are doing their best on the frontlines, but the feds need to step up with a comprehensive plan to respond to this major spike and be ready for it to get worse. The feds have a unique ability to get more doctors and supplies where it’s needed, and they need to be prepared to do so. Nobody really knows what will come next, and if an Upstate hospital says they need something, the feds need to be able to say ‘help is on the way right now.’ Hospitals cannot afford to wait.”
Jose Acevedo, MD, President & CEO, Finger Lakes Health said, “Similar to regional tertiary and quaternary care facilities, at Finger Lakes Health, we are seeing more patients with RSV, influenza and Covid-19 while 30% of our urgent care patient loads are now pediatric patients who have been particularly impacted by RSV this season. Despite capacity constraints, our staff members are pushing the limit to respond to the surges in patient volumes. We are grateful to Senator Schumer who recognizes the importance of this work and the need to leverage resources to address these challenges. Together with his action earlier this month to ensure Soldiers & Sailors can retain its federal status as a ‘Critical Access Hospital (CAH)’ and receive over $1.4 million a year in additional Medicare reimbursements, we applaud Senator Schumer’s push to help frontline care providers and patients impacted by the dramatic rise in RSV cases.”
Specifically, Schumer said that he is calling for HHS to be ready and, if requested by hospitals, use its unique authority to help. Tools at HHS’ disposal includes the power to support temporary structures like screening tents, surge staffing if there are not enough pediatricians available, moving patients across states lines, credentialing out of state providers, enhancing the use of telehealth, coordinating medical supply chains and more.
RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Schumer said that while most adults recover in a week or two, RSV can be very serious, especially for young children and older adults. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia (infection of the lungs) in children younger than 1 year of age in the United States.
Last week, the Children’s Hospital Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics warned of “unprecedented levels” of RSV combined with increasing flu circulation are pushing many hospitals to the breaking point. Just in the period between September and mid-November more than 300 people have been diagnosed with RSV, Flu, COVID-19 through the Finger Lakes Health System, which Soldiers & Sailors Hospital is a part of, an over 8% increase compared to last year. Plus, Finger Lakes Health is dealing with a dramatic rise in pediatric RSV cases with 30% of their urgent care centers’ patient load now comprised of pediatric patients who have been particularly impacted by RSV this season. This year, Monroe County has had 2,887 confirmed cases of RSV, 247 hospitalizations and 3 deaths associated with RSV, according to the Monroe County Health Department. Around 70% of hospitalized RSV cases in Monroe are patients aged 4 or younger. Because of RSV, Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester reports illness visits are up nearly 300%, ED visits up 200% and hospitalizations are up by 25-40% compared to baseline, resulting in an occupancy of 120-140% of licensed capacity.
This major strain also comes as flu cases also are spiking across New York State, placing further strain on the health system. Infants 6 months and younger are getting hospitalized with RSV at more than seven times the weekly rate observed before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.