The New Mexico Department of Health and Human Services is declaring a public health emergency to combat the rise in respiratory viruses

NEW MEXICO (KCBD) – The New Mexico Department of Health has issued an emergency public health order in response to a surge in pediatric cases and hospitalizations from respiratory viruses, including respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV. The order requires all New Mexico hospitals to work collaboratively to reactivate and participate in a “hub-and-spoke” model of resource management to ensure patients are moved to appropriate levels of care.

“We expand our social networks during the holidays, which is an important part of self-preservation as people living in a complex world. At the same time, however, we are creating more opportunities for the spread of respiratory viruses,” he said Deputy Secretary of Health David R. Scrase, MD “It’s important to take action to reduce our risk of respiratory viruses by practicing the good health and hygiene habits we’ve learned over the past few years as nurses, doctors and hospital workers in New Mexico face a continued surge are.”

This public health emergency order is necessary now as hospitals and emergency rooms are operating beyond their authorized capacity due to a rise in respiratory viruses and healthcare providers are now under an unsustainable strain. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States is experiencing an early, elevated onset of respiratory illnesses as a result of RSV, influenza, COVID-19, and other respiratory viruses. Respiratory illnesses caused by RSV and other viruses are straining the capacity of New Mexico’s children’s hospitals, and assessments show the state is approaching a level of capacity strain that would require activation of crisis care standards.

RSV is a common respiratory virus that spreads through virus-containing respiratory droplets produced when you cough and sneeze. In most children, RSV results in mild illness. However, young children are particularly vulnerable to RSV — RSV can be dangerous for some infants and young children, according to the CDC, with children under the age of two at increased risk of serious illness and hospitalization. Each year in the United States, an estimated 58,000-80,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized due to RSV infection. Learn more about how RSV affects young children and infants here.

New Mexico saw a significant increase in RSV cases during the months of October and November 2022, in addition to an increase in cases related to COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory illnesses. According to the weekly influenza surveillance report prepared by their influenza division, New Mexico, Texas and Tennessee have the highest influenza rates in the country.

“With the increasing number of children being hospitalized with RSV, and the number of children presenting to emergency rooms nationwide, it’s really important to take these precautions recommended by the New Mexico Department of Health at this time, especially.” not exposing our children to others who currently have respiratory symptoms,” he said david gonzales, MD and Chief Medical Officer at CHRISTUS St. Vincent.

“As a healthcare provider in New Mexico, we will continue to work closely together to support children across the state who need care during this challenging time,” he said dr Jason Mitchell, Chief Medical and Clinical Transformation Officer at Presbyterian Healthcare Services. “We encourage families to prevent the spread of RSV and other respiratory illnesses and seek treatment when needed.”

Government health officials are encouraging all those at risk of serious illness (and their caregivers) to take steps to prevent RSV and other respiratory infections this flu season.

  • Stay up to date on flu and COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Stay home if you or your child are sick.
  • Wash hands thoroughly and frequently.
  • Keep common, frequently touched surfaces clean and disinfect them regularly.
  • If you have a child who needs a medical evaluation, contact your doctor or visit an emergency center. Hospital emergency rooms are currently overwhelmed. Visit the hospital only if your child is showing signs of a serious illness, such as: B. Significant breathing difficulties.

A copy of the Public Health Emergency Ordinance of 1 December 2022 is available here.