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California hospitals running low on beds for children as flu activity surges

Sacramento Bee - 12/6/2022

Flu activity has reached high levels all around the state of California at a time when hospitals already are admitting a large number of children suffering from that illness, COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, state public health officials announced Tuesday.

The announcement means that flu transmission is just one step below the worst possible level of activity.

With hospital resources strained, Dr. Tomás Aragón, the director of the California Department of Public Health, asked residents to take every possible precaution to ensure there will be enough beds available for the youngest and most vulnerable Californians.

“We’re reminding Californians about the effective mitigation and safety measures they can take to protect themselves and their loved ones, including getting the flu shot, keeping up to date with their COVID-19 booster, and masking in indoor public places,” Aragón said,

Not all Sacramento-area hospitals have licensed pediatric beds, so they try to stabilize the patients and get them into a hospital that does.

While California hospitals have been adding temporary pediatric beds as quickly as possible, the number of children who need admission is outpacing their ability to expand right now, state officials said.

Typically, 35% to 40% of pediatric intensive care unit beds are open at hospitals, state officials said, but that number is down to about 20% statewide. In some regions, it’s below 12%.

In addition to getting vaccinated, state officials said, Californians can help by once again donning masks. KN95 or KN94 masks are better, they said, and N95 are best.

They also recommended:

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