EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Children are filling hospital beds with the flu, RSV and COVID-19, with El Paso Children’s Hospital reporting its at full capacity.

“In certain instances, there has been overflow. Children haven’t been able to get out of the emergency departments up to the floor. For example, they may be in hallways,” said Dr. Glenn Fennelly, the chairman of Pediatrics Texas Tech Health Science Center and chief transformation officer for El Paso Children’s Hospital.

Fennelly explained that we are seeing a relatively early and disproportionately severe RSV season — with estimates showing a minimum of two times more cases than ever seen before that require hospitalizations.

Complicating this is the masking and social distancing over the past few years during the pandemic.

“We’ve built up a higher proportion of vulnerable children, so all of the children between birth and 2, 2 1/2 years of age, haven’t encountered RSV in large part due to the masking and social distancing, so we have many that are more vulnerable and that’s part of why we’re seeing this surge now,” Fennelly said.

El Paso Children’s Hospital is seeing much higher numbers of flu and RSV hospitalizations, sending us the statistics compared to last year.

Flu

  • November 2021 – 7 cases
  • November 2022 – 447 cases
  • December 2021 – 17 cases
  • December 5, 2022 – 134 cases

RSV

  • November 2021 – 106 cases
  • November 2022 – 568 cases
  • December 2021 – 84 cases
  • December 5, 2022 – 47 cases

“School-age children, anywhere from 4 to 12 years, these are the most cases that we are seeing right now,” said Jose Luis Salas, the infection prevention and control director for El Paso Children’s Hospital.

Salas explains what symptoms parents should look out for.

“In the event that they start getting very lethargic, very tired, that they can’t even hold their head up. You start seeing discoloration, their having difficulty breathing, then those are things that, yes follow up,” Salas said.