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Cape Fear Valley Health System said it is experiencing “higher than normal patient volumes” at its adult and pediatric Emergency Departments in Fayetteville, largely because of a spike in flu and RSV cases.

“Flu season came early this year, as did RSV, and the numbers of cases are high everywhere,” said Chief Clinical Officer Michael Zappa, M.D. “Hospitals throughout the state are filling their pediatric beds with children with RSV or flu. A large portion of what we’re seeing in the adult ED are respiratory illnesses as well.”

Cape Fear Valley said that while there is a vaccine available for flu in Fayetteville, there is not one for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). They encouraged masking, handwashing, avoiding close contact, and cleaning surfaces frequently to help prevent spread.

“Adults can contract RSV, but it generally impacts children much more often than adults,” Cape Fear Valley said in its release. “With the flu, children and geriatric patients are at a higher risk for complications.

“Cape Fear Valley Medical Center’s 25 Pediatric inpatient beds almost constantly stayed full this week. About 80 percent of the children admitted to the hospital recently have tested positive for RSV.”

Many children are being seen and sent home at the ED, but officials said the same testing and evaluations can be done at Cape Fear Valley ExpressCare locations. Breathing treatments can also be given for children at the ED, without needing to be admitted.

“We don’t want to discourage anyone who is having an emergency from coming to the Emergency Department,” Zappa said. “If an adult or a child is having difficulty breathing, they should come to the Emergency Department. We do ask that people consider our ExpressCares for non-emergencies, and for people to extend their patience if they experience extended wait times in the Emergency Departments.”