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Schumer calls for federal action amid RSV surge as rural Upstate hospitals struggle with capacity issues

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer visited a number of hospitals across rural, Upstate New York late this week – highlighting the need for federal support amid skyrocketing RSV caseloads.

Hospitals across the region are being crushed by RSV cases. The respiratory viruses mainly impact children, but a mix of adult and pediatric cases have prompted rural hospitals to push capacity for the last 45 days.

Experts say it’s early, too.

Schumer said the spiking levels of RSV with growing flu rates warrants immediate federal action and called for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to act.


Schumer reported that the federal government has unique authority to help, with the power to support temporary structures, surge staffing if there are not enough pediatricians available, moving patients across states lines, credentialing out of state providers, enhancing the use of telehealth, coordinating medical supply chains and more.

“Hospitals are facing an unprecedented surge in RSV cases among children, and public health experts all say it is only going to get worse as we enter the cold winter months,” Schumer said. “Normally, RSV cases start to grow in October and November before peaking in December and January. It is outright scary given that hospitals are already struggling to keep up, and it’s possible the worst is yet to come.”

HHS has a variety of tools at its disposal. Among those Schumer is calling on them to use, if necessary, are power to support temporary structures like screening tents, surge staffing if there are not enough pediatricians available, moving patients across states lines, credentialing out of state providers, enhancing the use of telehealth, coordinating medical supply chains and more.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most adults recover in a week or two. It can be very serious for children, especially the youngest infected. SUNY Upstate Health Center has already recorded three-times more RSV cases this year compared to years previous.



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