Orange County Health Emergency Declaration Ends

Close up photo of red large letters spelling emergency

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SANTA ANA (CNS) - A public health emergency in Orange County related to a surge in respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV, COVID-19 and other infectious diseases that overloaded Children's Hospital of Orange County in particular has been canceled, it was announced Wednesday.

Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, the county's chief health officer, declared the emergency on Oct. 31 in response to the record number of pediatric hospitalizations and emergency room visits to allow for hospitals to share resources and gain some flexibility in where to put patient beds. The emergency declaration also allowed some older pediatric patients to be sent to adult hospitals instead of CHOC.

The emergency designation was canceled because "additional resources and support are now available" because of a change in federal policy, Chinsio- Kwong said.

"The cancellation of the local health emergency declaration is not an indication that there is a reduction in cases of infection or spread of respiratory disease," Chinsio-Kwong said.

Chinsio-Kwong told City News Service that hospitals are "continuing to experience staffing challenges -- with staff shortages as well as staff calling in sick," as they attempt to handle the surge in cases.

"Overall, despite these challenges, with previous arrangements and travel staff, hospitals are able to maintain staffing of current beds and surge beds," Chinsio-Kwong said.

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