Pediatric Hospitals Use Tents Outside to Treat Overflow of “Tripledemic” Cases


Just when we thought that the worst of COVID-19 pandemic was over, we are already seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases as the winter approaches.

Along with COVID-19, there are multiple viruses floating around at the same time: Flu, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), and a new variant of COVID-19 every season. 

As the “tripledemic” continues to grow, pediatric hospitals are brimming, seeing an unusually high number of sick patients, and many of them are at or near capacity. 

H2: Pediatric hospitals are getting overwhelmed this holiday season

To add to our worries, children are the most at risk to these viruses. Among the three viruses, RSV is surging the most among kids and is gradually filling hospital beds. 

Infants 6 months and younger are getting hospitalized with RSV at seven times the rate observed before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2018, according to CDC data.

Due to the combined impact of COVID-19, flu and RSV among children, many pediatric hospitals are struggling right now, adding tents outside to handle the “tripledemic” surge”. 

The wait times have increased now more than ever, and hospitals are urging patients to take their children to primary care doctors or urgent care facilities before going to the hospital.

Data Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Why RSV cases are so high among children 

While RSV isn’t a new virus, there has been a huge surge in cases among children mainly due to the low immunity being low after two years of isolation. Due to masking and remote learning, many children never had exposure to what would’ve otherwise been relatively common ailments. 

Another reason is easing COVID-19 restrictions in schools and outside, which could lead to these viruses spreading rapidly during this holiday season. 

According to the CDC data, this could be the worst flu season in more than a decade as we gather for the holidays. 

So, should you go to the ER or not? 

Symptoms for all three viruses: COVID-19, flu, or RSV can be similar, and because health systems are already overwhelmed with the increased surge in the RSV cases, it’s important to know what level of care you need before you head to the ER due to uncertainty. 

Emergency departments are designed to care for the sickest patients first, so you’re bound to face a long wait. 

Avoiding an unnecessary trip to the ER is not just a matter of convenience but an unnecessary visit to the ER can expose your already sick kid to other hospital germs and illnesses like COVID-19 or the flu carried by other ER visitors. 

How to prepare for a ‘Tripledemic’ this holiday season

One of the most effective approaches to decrease the unnecessary pediatric ER visits this holiday season is nurse triage. 

Access to a reliable nurse triage is crucial to avoid the overcrowding of the ER, which can lead to increased wait times that compromises the quality of care and delays time to deliver care to those who are in need. 

Nurse triage helps by providing guidance and reassurance to the patients by assessing their symptoms and ensuring they get the care/treatment they need and pointing them towards the right path to care. 

AccessNurse offers the most up-to-date Schmitt-Thompson nurse triage protocols, also known as the gold standard, because they cover symptoms from infants, children to adults, including all kinds of concerns like COVID-19, the flu, and RSV.  

The Schmitt-Thompson nurse triage protocols used by the telephone triage nurses can be used to determine which ailments patients may have by evaluating their symptoms. 

Based on the acuity level of those symptoms, the triage nurse then decides where a patient should receive care – either they would recommend home care, a primary care physician, urgent care or ED.  

Opting for a nurse triage solution is a very effective approach to avoid overcrowding of the ED, during this “tripledemic” surge this holiday season.

AccessNurse continues to stand united with our healthcare partners to ensure quality patient care. If your organization needs support with nurse triage calls during this holiday season, click here to start your journey with AccessNurse.