(Santa Ana, CA) – The County Health Officer today issued a Declaration of Health Emergency in Orange County due to rapidly spreading RSV virus infections causing record numbers of pediatric hospitalizations and daily emergency room visits. Additionally, a Proclamation of Local Emergency has been declared, which allows the County to access State and Federal resources to address the situation and seek mutual aid from surrounding counties.
The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is monitoring regional hospital capacity and engaging hospital and health care systems that are seeing very high patient volumes in their emergency departments and inpatient pediatric units.
“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. “Our best shot at protecting ourselves and our children from respiratory illnesses continues to be the same things we practiced throughout the pandemic including the use of masks when indoors around others and staying home when you are sick.”
Seek medical attention immediately if your child is showing warning signs, which may include having trouble breathing, showing signs of dehydration (i.e., no urine in over 8 hours, dark urine, very dry mouth and no tears), has a persistent or high fever, or looks or acts very sick. Call your primary care provider, pediatrician, urgent care or hospital to help navigate steps to recommended care before your visit.
- Do not go to school or work when you are symptomatic.
- Avoid close contact such as kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick, and when you are sick.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper shirt sleeve, not your hands.
- Mask when indoors or large group settings.
- Wash your hands frequently, especially before and after eating and using the bathroom.
- Get your flu shot and COVID-19 vaccines to prevent complications from these viral illnesses.
Additionally, parents and caregivers should keep young children with acute respiratory illnesses out of childcare, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19.
For more information on RSV prevention, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/about/prevention.html.