MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - As more and more people become sick with various seasonal illnesses throughout Minnesota, both staff and medication shortages have the healthcare community asking for help.
"There have been days when we've had 30 to 40 children waiting in our emergency departments, waiting for an inpatient bed. and that's unprecedented," Dr. Rob Sicoli, medical director of Children’s Minnesota emergency departments told FOX 9.
Medical leaders from across Minnesota coming together to sound the alarm that many hospital beds are full, doctor’s offices are packed and kids are ill in seemingly record numbers.
With Thanksgiving week upon us, it’s time to act experts say.
"In greater Minnesota, we're pressed with more sick children than we can manage," said Dr. Jill Amsberry, medical director of pediatrics and adolescent clinic at Centracare. "Around 99% of our same-day appointments are for respiratory illnesses with some of our older children coming in with severe disease."
Experts point to a three-headed viral monster as families and friends plan to travel and gather in large groups for the holidays, including RSV, COVID-19 and more and more flu cases.
"RSV affects those who are less than two years old the most, but we also have all the other viruses," said Dr. Ashley Strobel, FACEP, FAAP, emergency physician, with Hennepin Healthcare. "I've seen Rhino and Enterovirus 17, influenza viruses – these viruses do not need a name; they are virus."
Compounding the impact on the health care system right now is staffing issues and medication shortages – including Amoxicilin, the number one go-to antibiotic – at Hennepin Health, doctors are preaching prevention with that side of mashed potatoes.
"The advice is, you know, preventive – washing your hands, wearing your mask, staying at home when you're sick," said Dr. Stacene Maroushek, with Hennepin Health pediatric infectious disease.
Parents are urged not to be afraid to care for ill children at home, and saying it’s not always necessary to rush them into emergency rooms or urgent cares immediately.