respiratory

San Miguel County’s COVID-19 dashboard as of Friday, Sept. 10.  In addition to 24 new COVID-19 cases, the county public health department announced eight related cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) among six infants and two toddlers in the last week. (Courtesy photo)

San Miguel County Public Health has identified eight related cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) among six infants and two toddlers in the last week. Two infants were hospitalized over the weekend and all symptomatic children have been treated and directed to isolate with their families. The outbreak occurred at a local childcare facility, which is working diligently to disinfect the respective classrooms. The facility will re-open Monday.

Additionally, in a rare case, a middle school student tested positive for RSV this week.

“COVID cases amongst unvaccinated people continue to overwhelm our healthcare system making it increasingly difficult for people with illnesses like RSV to receive the urgent care they need,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “The recent COVID surge is deeply affecting our local frontline resources and capacity at regional hospitals.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), RSV, while treatable, can be dangerous for some infants and young children. Each year in the United States, an estimated 58,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized due to RSV infection. Those at greatest risk for severe illness from RSV include: Premature infants; Very young infants, especially those 6 months and younger; Children younger than 2 years old with chronic lung disease or congenital (present from birth) heart disease; Children with weakened immune systems; Children who have neuromuscular disorders, including those who have difficulty swallowing or clearing mucus secretions; People infected with RSV are usually contagious for 3 to 8 days. RSV can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Virus droplets from a cough or sneeze can enter the eyes, nose, or mouth. Touching infected surfaces that has the virus on it, like a doorknob, and then touching theface before washing hands can also transmit the virus. And direct contact can result in infection, such as kissing the face of a child with RSV.

“RSV cases are presenting with potentially more severe illness outside of the typical RSV season (Oct-May). We are recommending that all symptomatic children and infants remain out of childcare settings until completely symptom free,” said Influenza and RSV Surveillance Supervisor Elizabeth Austin, MPH, of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “We recommend that parents have a low threshold for deciding when to bring their child to a healthcare provider and to follow provider testing recommendations for SARS CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens. A negative test for SARS CoV-2 doesn't necessarily rule out a positive test for RSV, while a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 should not be used to rule out co-infection with other respiratory viruses.”

People infected with RSV usually show symptoms within four to six days after getting infected. Symptoms of RSV infection usually include a runny nose, decrease in appetite, coughing, sneezing, fever and wheezing.

These symptoms usually appear in stages and not all at once. In very young infants with RSV, the only symptoms may be irritability, decreased activity, and breathing difficulties. If you or somebody you know has symptoms of RSV, please stay home and contact your primary care physician right away.

Public Health has confirmed 24 new positive cases of COVID-19 from test results received from Sept. 3-9. Of these cases, six are nonresidents, 15 are confirmed as east end residents while three are confirmed as west end residents. As of release time today, there are 13 active cases, all actively contagious cases are currently in isolation. To-date, there have been 1,062 total COVID cases among residents including 76 breakthrough cases and three COVID-related deaths.

To learn more about the county’s current COVID-19 metrics, visit sanmiguelcountyco.gov.