Texarkana hospital tightens visitation rules amid spike in RSV cases


TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – CHRISTUS St. Michael is taking steps to protect its newborn babies following an increase in Respiratory Syncytial Virus cases in Texarkana.

According to CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System officials, after a statewide alert from the Texas Department of State Health Services and an increase in cases of RSV locally, visitation restrictions have been issued for the Women’s and Children’s areas of its hospitals.

No visitors under the age of 18 will be allowed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Mother/Baby Unit, or the Labor and Delivery Unit.

“With the masking and hand hygiene practices in place across our community for COVID-19, we did not have the normal respiratory virus season in the fall and winter like we have in years’ past,” said Ashley Wilson, BSN, RN, CIC, Infection Preventionist. “This spring and summer, we have seen abnormally increased occurrences of RSV. In order to protect our newborns, youngest and most critically ill and injured infants, we are instituting this temporary visitation restriction.”

Since the beginning of June CHRISTUS St. Michael has seen at least 25 pediatric cases of RSV. This recent increase of RSV activity in the pediatric population throughout the area and the state of Texas has prompted CHRISTUS St. Michael to change visitation guidelines for these areas.

“The safety of our patients is our top priority,” said Carole Harman, MSA, RN, BSN, FNP, CENP, Administrative Director of Women’s and Children’s Services. “The restriction will be instituted until RSV cases decrease and it is deemed appropriate to return to normal visitation practices.”

Two other area hospitals also issued statements on Friday concerning RSV:

  • Willis-Knighton Health System“We have seen an uptick in RSV positive tests through the lab, but not many inpatients. Typically this happens in September and October right before the influenza season, but we didn’t get our first case of RSV until mid-March.”
  • Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport“At this time we have not seen a consistent or marked increase in RSV cases at our hospitals.”

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