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February 8, 2023

Monterey County hospitals warn about respiratory virus surge

Residents urged to take preventative measures this holiday season

MONTEREY COUNTY — Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, Mee Memorial Healthcare System, Natividad Medical Center, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital and the Monterey County Health Department are urging all residents to act now to protect themselves and their families against respiratory viruses circulating this holiday season, including influenza/flu, Covid-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

An early wave of RSV and influenza activity in California has led to increased hospitalizations among children in many places across the state, placing stress on the healthcare system.

Monterey County hospitals are not Pediatric Intensive Care Unit hospitals and are working with regional hospitals to transfer critical care pediatric patients. These critical care hospitals are also near capacity. 

In at least two Monterey County hospitals, the number of pediatric patients with respiratory symptoms visiting the Emergency Departments has more than doubled, health officials said. 

Local hospitals and the Health Department ask for everyone’s help keeping children and families safe heading into the winter season by following these five steps: 

  • Get Vaccinated and Boosted. Influenza and Covid-19 vaccines continue to provide the best protection against severe illness and death. You can get both vaccines at the same time. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get up to date on their flu and Covid-19 vaccinations now.
  • Stay Home If You Are Sick. When you are sick, avoid close contact with others to protect them and to take the time you need to heal.
  • Wear a Mask. There is no vaccine for RSV. Wearing a mask can significantly slow the spread of RSV and protect babies and young children who do not yet have immunity. You can spread illness before you start feeling sick. Wearing a mask in indoor public places protect others who might be more medically vulnerable.
  • Wash Your Hands. Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water is an easy way to stay healthy and keep from spreading germs.
  • Cover Your Cough or Sneeze. Use your elbow, arm or a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing to help prevent the spread of winter viruses.

“Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, Mee Memorial Healthcare System, Natividad Medical Center, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital and the Monterey County Health Department urge residents to take these measures to help our hospitals have the capacity to care for all Monterey County residents this winter,” the health facilities stated in a joint news release.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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