The number of kids needing treatment at Winnipeg’s children’s hospital on Thursday was nearly 50 per cent higher than the daily average in November of last year, the organization overseeing health-care delivery in Manitoba says.
Patient volumes at the Health Sciences Centre Children’s Hospital this week are up by about one-third since September, when there was a daily average of 139.5 patients, a spokesperson for Shared Health said in an emailed statement.
Those increases follow a jump in the number of pediatric respiratory cases at the children’s hospital, the spokesperson said. During the pandemic, normal seasonal cycles of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza, gastroenteritis, coxsackie and other viruses were disrupted.
But after most pandemic-related public health measures ended, those illnesses have reemerged — and they’re now all spreading around the same time after being dormant for more than two years, the spokesperson said. That’s led to increased emergency visits and patient admissions.
Thursday also saw 183 patient visits to the children’s emergency department, marking the third time in the past six days that daily numbers surpassed 180, the spokesperson said.
The significant increase in patients needing care at the children’s emergency department this week has been paired with an increase in how many of them are considered high acuity (severely ill). That’s interrupted normal patient flow, since the sicker kids need more care for longer, the spokesperson said.
Since July, clinical staff at the children’s hospital have seen a higher than usual number of kids with RSV.
That includes 48 cases in October, including 14 that needed hospitalization, the spokesperson said. Care teams are also seeing kids test positive for more than one respiratory virus at the same time.
Patient volumes in adult emergency departments and urgent care centres have been relatively stable in recent weeks.
Since kids haven’t built up their immunity to respiratory viruses like adults have, they’re generally more susceptible to them, the spokesperson said.