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Montana doctors brace for 'tridemic' as pediatric beds fill up nationwide

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Posted at 11:13 AM, Nov 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-15 13:13:03-05

BILLINGS - Montana doctors are watching for a trifecta of serious illnesses moving west across the country and it could be especially dangerous for children.

As cases are set to increase across the nation, health leaders in Billings say it's just a matter of time before the so-called “tridemic” arrives here.

Cases of RSV, the flu, and COVID-19 continue to keep hospitals across the country at capacity.

Officials say cases of RSV are twice as high among people of all ages compared to last year, and nationwide 76% of pediatric beds are filled with patients.

But it's also trending up in Montana.

In Kalispell, hospital officials were recently seeing an average of two cases of RSV a week in the pediatric wing.

It's that data that has Billings' mom Haley Galland concerned for the health of her kids.

“Yes, yes we are worried,” said Galland. “He came home from school yesterday with a cough, and cold, and his throat was really sore. You could tell that his throat was hurting.”

Galland immediately booked an appointment for her 10-year-old son Mikey when his cough started to sound like croup.

The pair was at Billings Clinic getting a COVID-19 test when Galland said it wasn’t the first time her kids were sick this season.

“My youngest got sick two weeks ago and he had the same cough,” she said.

Nationwide, pediatric hospital beds are hitting capacity with the CDC saying cases of RSV have hit a two-year high.

Cases are increasing in Western Montana, but at Billings Clinic Dr. Neil Ku says numbers of the flu and RSV are still relatively low.

For now.

“We're likely going to get those cases, probably in the coming few weeks,” said Ku.

Ku says Montana usually declares “RSV season” if the test positivity rates in the state rise above 3% for two consecutive weeks.

Ku says Montana has officially met that threshold.

“We are now officially in RSV season,” he said.

Galland is just trying to stay ahead of all the sicknesses.

“We try and drink water a lot and just try and keep hydrated and keep distance from people that are sick,” she said.

It’s all sound advice from a mom who knows.