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Blank Children's Hospital overrun with RSV cases

Dr. Wendy Woods told Local 5 that half the children currently hospitalized at Blank Children's Hospital are there with RSV or with RSV as a secondary issue.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Blank Children's Hospital is overrun with sick kids with respiratory illnesses. 

Children positive with RSV filled all available pediatric beds earlier this week..

"Around 50 percent of the children that are currently hospitalized at Blank are hospitalized with RSV or with RSV as a secondary issue," said Dr. Wendy Woods of Blank Children's Hospital. 

Woods noted the hospital hasn't seen this amount of respiratory illnesses since before COVID-19 hit. 

She said the virus that usually hits kids hard in the winter has steadily increased over the past week.

It landed patients in all departments, including the emergency room, clinics and in-patient admissions. 

Because of this, the hospital has expanded their bed use beyond their normal capacity.

 "We are utilizing all possible areas of our children's hospital and even some areas outside of our children's hospital to house patients," Woods said. "So I would say we are working very strategically to make sure that we can access and utilize all available beds to us."

Woods said if things become so extreme that they can't take in any more patients, they would direct parents and their kids to other hospitals in the area or state. 

Woods said as a person who has been in the industry for years, this current situation is surprisingly sad.  

 "It is difficult when we are housing a significant number in the emergency department which decreases our ability to see patients quickly in the ER," Woods said. "...You do feel like you're not meeting the needs of your community."

Spokesperson for MercyOne Marcy Peterson said that beds are still available in the pediatric section. But of the beds full, about half of the children have respiratory illnesses and half of those have RSV.

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