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Orange County declares health emergency due to rapidly spreading viral infections

Orange County hospitals declares health emergency as RSV infections spike
Orange County hospitals declares health emergency as RSV infections spike 03:01

Orange County officials have declared a health emergency because of rapidly spreading viral infections that have caused record numbers of pediatric hospitalizations and daily emergency room visits. 

"Respiratory illnesses, usually, we see more of in December, January and February," said Dr. Eric Ball, a physician at Children's Hospital in Orange County. "We are seeing a huge surge right now. The emergency department is seeing more children on a daily basis than we've ever, not only this time of year, but every time of year."

The proclamation allows the county to use state and federal resources to get a handle on the situation and get mutual aid from other counties.

The country has been hit with a perfect storm of COVID-19, the flu and the respiratory syncytial virus, which is especially dangerous for young children.

"While there isn't a vaccine against RSV, we want OC residents to know there are many ways to protect children and at-risk individuals," said Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, the Chief Medical Officer of the OC Health Care Agency.

Chinsio-Kwong also urged residents to stay up-to-date with their vaccinations to help reduce the strain on the area's hospitals. 

"Our best shot at protecting ourselves and our children from respiratory illnesses continues to be the same things we practiced throughout the pandemic including the use of masks when indoors around others and staying home when you are sick," she said.

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