Flu blamed for school closing, shortage of hospital beds

Child battling the flu. (Photo/Dayton Children's Hospital)
Child battling the flu. (Photo/Dayton Children's Hospital)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Children’s Hospital neared capacity, Thursday through Friday, following a recent spike in RSV and the flu in the region.

“Have we seen the worst of it yet, I’m not 100-percent sure we have,” Dayton Children’s Hospital Dr. Sherman Alter said.

The hospital was down to roughly seven beds, out of 155, after treating an estimated 80 patients Thursday.

“Right now it doesn’t appear to be any worse than usual.  Although, what concerns me is that we’re still on an upswing, so I don’t think, it’s hard to predict, but I think we could see more.  I think the school closings indicate how bad it is,” Alter said.

Milton-Union School District was one of them.  The school closed Friday after hundreds of kids complained of flu like symptoms, mostly from the middle school, who saw a 30-percent decrease in attendance, because their students came down with the bug.

Milton-Union Exempted Village Schools Superintendent Brad Ritchey said closing the K-12 building was in the best interest of the students and staff.

“Because of our setup, you know it seem like the right thing to do, because very easily, we share spaces, it could have been more concerning and affect the other buildings similar to the middle school,” Ritchey said.

The custodial staff spent Friday thoroughly cleaning the school from top to bottom, leaving no surface untouched.

“Winter in Ohio, flu season in Ohio, people can be exposed anywhere, so we’re pretty comfortable with the steps we’ve taken.  We’ve at least tried to put our best foot forward and do our due diligence to make sure our facility has been cleaned properly,” Ritchey said.

The school is expected to reopen on Monday.

However, if the number of flu and RSV cases continue to increase, Dayton Children is prepared to take the necessary steps to treat as many kids as they can.

“Occasionally we have to make alternative plans, where to put the children, and many times it includes once a child is better and is able to be discharged, you know we try to discharge them on a timely basis, so we can admit the new ones,” Alter said.

He goes on to say, in most cases the flu can be managed at home, but if the child’s condition worsens then you should contact your pediatrician.  According to Alter, kids can still get a flu shot, as we’re only half way through flu season.

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