Corewell Health limits children’s hospital visits as RSV cases rise

Corewell Health, formerly Beaumont, places restrictions on hospital visits for young children as cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections increase.

From 8 a.m. Monday, children aged 5 and under will not be able to visit patients in hospital unless there are extraordinary circumstances, such as the serious illness of a parent or sibling, or an end-of-life situation.

This is because more and more young children are being diagnosed with the respiratory virus RSV. Many hospitals in the region are out of capacity when it comes to pediatric patients and have been forced to make room for them in other areas.

Read: 6-year-old Macomb County boy dies of RSV

Officials say this change to Beaumont’s visitor policy is a critical step in reducing the spread of RSV.

“I think the whole idea is to not only protect the patients, but also to protect the community,” said Dr. Whitney Minnock, Royal Oak Beaumont. “When kids visit and visit their sister or brother who has RSV, or even just being in the hospital, there are certain viruses that are circulating.”

RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild cold symptoms in most people who get it. However, it can become a serious health risk for infants and older adults, resulting in health problems such as pneumonia such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia.

Health experts say children ages 4 and younger account for the majority of RSV emergency room visits in southeastern Michigan.

There is no vaccine for RSV — and because it’s a virus — it doesn’t respond to antibiotics.

Doctors are limited in how to treat it.

“Oxygen, IV, fluids, acetaminophen and ibuprofen and that’s about it,” said Dr. Minnock.

To slow the spread of RSV, individuals are asked to be up to date on their vaccines, and anyone who feels sick or has cold symptoms to avoid children at high risk of the disease, including premature infants, children under the age of 2. years old with chronic lung or heart disease and children with weakened immune systems.

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