Orange County, CA declares health emergency over surge in RSV (and pediatric hospitalizations)

Orange County, California has declared a health emergency over the dramatic rise in viral infections, including the respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV (seen not just in California but across the country). The county is experiencing record-high pediatric hospitalizations and visits to the emergency room, according to CBS, and it's not just one but three viruses all hitting at once: RSV, which can be especially dangerous for children, as well as Covid-19 and the flu.

From Los Cerritos News:

November 1, 2022~A rapid rise in RSV, COVID-19 and flu virus infections have prompted the Orange County health officer to issue a declaration of health emergency and Tuesday, health care systems are reporting high patient volumes in emergency departments and pediatric units.

In addition to a countywide declaration of health emergency, a proclamation of local emergency has also been issued, which allows the county to access state and federal resources to address the rise in virus infections.

The Orange County Health Care Agency Emergency Medical Services says in a release it is monitoring regional hospital capacity

"While there isn't a vaccine against RSV, we want OC residents to know there are many ways to protect children and at-risk individuals. Following preventive measures, including remaining up to date with other vaccinations such as flu and COVID-19, can help reduce the severity of disease and can help reduce the burden on hospitals this fall and winter," said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, County Health Officer and HCA's Chief Medical Officer. …

The Health Care Agency recommends seeking medical attention immediately for children showing warning signs, which may include having trouble breathing, showing signs of dehydration, having a persistent or high fever, or looking or acting very sick. …

Visit for more information on RSV prevention.

And last week from CBS News, before the emergency declaration:

Orange County health officials are issuing a public warning, strongly urging residents to take preventative measures as pediatric Respiratory Syncytial Virus numbers surge. 

In recent weeks, OCHA has tracked record-breaking numbers of pediatric hospitalizations and emergency room visits for the respiratory infection. 

"Orange County is seeing very high numbers of respiratory illness, specifically Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) severely impacting capacity in our pediatric hospitals," said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, the county's health officer and Chief Medical Officer for the Orange County Health Care Agency. " RSV can severely affect young infants and children and we are encouraging residents to take precautions, especially with groups of children." …

According to OCHA, RSV leads to approximately 58,000 hospitalizations with 100- 500 deaths among children younger than 5 years old per year. Additionally, the elderly are also affected, with numbers averaging 177,000 hospitalizations with 14,000 deaths among adults, aged 65 years or older.