COVID, Flu, RSV Cases Put Strain on Bay Area Hospitals

The triple threat of flu, COVID and RSV is pushing some hospitals to the brink.

In the South Bay, Santa Clara County’s available beds are shrinking quickly, including Regional Medical Center in San Jose.

“We’re concerned,” Regional Director of Emergency Services Director Dr. Paul Silka said. “We’re very close or at capacity.”

Silka said RSV is peaking, but COVID cases are rising. He is also seeing an increase of the flu far earlier than normal.

“This is early,” Silka said. “So we tend to see influenza peaks after the new year. Sometimes in December, but we were starting full force influenza in November.”

The impact is being felt throughout the Bay Area.

Stanford Children’s Hospital said they are postponing some elective surgeries, ensuring they have the staff and space to care for their most at-risk young patients.

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital is nearly full as well.

“Above 90% occupancy in the adult hospitals. Influenza is a dark horse that’s coming up very quickly, about 12 times increase in the last month at UCSF,” said UCSF Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong.

The CDC said over Thanksgiving week, outpatient visits for flu-like illness tripled the national baseline and hospitalizations nearly doubled from the previous week.

Hospitals are especially strained in the south.

The good news locally, is that Regional Medicial Center said that all of the patients are being seen and treated and they are not seeing the death rates we saw at the beginning of the pandemic.

Doctors said this year’s flu shot is working.

“The type that’s circulating is the type that’s included in the vaccine. So, it should be encouraging for people to run out and get it if you haven’t yet,” said Chin-Hong.

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