GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As pediatric RSV cases remain high, the staff at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids is working to meet the need.

The Intensive Care Unit has expanded bed capacity to care for more patients.

Nurse Manager Mary Carmichael said in the more than 20 years she has worked there, she has never seen this many patients in the ICU.

“Yesterday, we had 25 RSV patients of the 40 that we had,” Carmichael said.

With other states seeing a significant spike in pediatric flu cases, Carmichael said the staff is concerned about what an increase would mean on top of the surge in RSV.

On Friday afternoon, 40 ICU beds were being used, but the number would normally be half that for this time of year.

“This is much worse than the amount of patients we had during COVID,” Carmichael said.

She said while the pandemic posed challenges, RSV is using up more of the pediatric ICU’s resources.

“We did have COVID patients. We did not see the effect in the (Pediatric) ICU as the adults did and so we didn’t see a huge flex and overflow in patients like we are right now,” Carmichael said.

The ICU is normally a 30-bed facility. The hospital has already added extra beds and can increase the number if needed.     

“We have expanded capacity and we talk about it probably on a daily basis,” Carmichael said. 

The additional beds would mean nothing without the staff to make sure every patient receives the highest level of care. 

“I think of the work that this team has done and that includes nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, really everybody that takes care of patients in this ICU. It’s been really incredible and I’m really proud of this team,” Carmichael said. 

She said there are things you can do to help slow the surge in respiratory virus cases.

“I think parents can do their part and the community can do their part by getting their vaccinations,” Carmichael said. “If they’re sick, keep their kids at home, or stay away from other children, don’t send them to daycare,”