BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases among children are spiking throughout Western New York, and it’s overwhelming local hospitals. Since September, more than 800 patients have been admitted to Oishei Children’s Hospital with RSV.

Healthcare officials say that it’s getting to the point where they’re admitting 200 patients per day to their emergency room. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steve Turkovich said it’s causing long wait times in their emergency department and is putting a strain on hospital workers.

“We are seeing an unprecedented surge of children with respiratory disease, both RSV and now the flu, over the last few weeks, which has increased dramatically,” he said. “It has caused the volumes of patients here both in the emergency room and the hospital to reach levels that I have never seen before even compared to the old building.”

To help with the influx in patients, Oishei added more than 40 extra pediatric beds, opened up a second ICU, and extended their emergency room.

“At the end of the day, it is a tremendous strain on pediatric resources across the nation. We’ve been engaging in discussions with Erie County’s Department of Health, Western New York’s regional Department of Public Health and the Department of Health in Albany,” Dr. Turkovich said. “We’re looking at potential resources from the National Guard to see if there’s anybody that can come and help us.”

Oishei Children’s Hospital implores the public to take the following responsible common-sense actions to help stop the spread of RSV:

  • Get vaccinated and get a booster shot to protect you and your loved ones against the spread of respiratory viruses such as influenza and COVID-19
  • Wear a mask indoors or when you cannot maintain a safe distance
  • Practice safe social distancing, especially when you’re indoors
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water
  • Stay home from work, school, daycare or events if you are feeling ill

Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.