Influenza, RSV and COVID-19 cases rising among children in Utah

Dec 10, 2021, 7:02 PM | Updated: 8:39 pm

 SALT LAKE CITY — COVID-19 was already causing a lot of illness in Utah communities. Now, influenza and RSV cases are rising.

Doctors at Primary Children’s Hospital are concerned.

On Friday, they urged parents to get their children vaccinated against influenza and COVID-19, if they’re eligible. 

“You’re seeing a year unlike any other in history that we know in terms of the surge of these respiratory viruses,” said Dr. Trahern “T.W.” Jones, a pediatric infectious disease physician with University of Utah Health and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. 

The hospital is full, he said in a media briefing. Cases of COVID-19, influenza and RSV are rising. 

“We are still dealing with a huge surge of children with RSV,” Jones said. “We’re still seeing plenty of cases of COVID, and we’re just seeing, overall, lots of cases of viral infections.” 

A family from Hyrum is dealing with a scary RSV surge of their own. Three out of their five children caught RSV, and one is still hospitalized on life-support. 

“It started with the 5-year-old, Xaylee, two weeks ago,” Dakotah Gordon said. 

The girl had cold-like symptoms. So, they took their three youngest children to the doctor. All ended up with RSV. 

“It really went downhill from there,” Gordon said. 

Xaylee got better several days later, after antibiotic treatment, but her younger brother and sister were hospitalized. 

Three-year-old Xaiden went home from the Logan hospital Wednesday. But, Xarina, who is only one year old, was flown to Primary Children’s Hospital early this week and is still there. 

One-year-old Xarina Gordon is on life support in the hospital. (Dakotah Gordon) Xaylee and Xarina Gordon (Dakotah Gordon) Three of five children from the Gordon family in Hyrum caught RSV. One is on life support in the hospital. (Dakotah Gordon)

“It was pretty scary there for a while. I have to keep reminding myself that she’s at Primary Children’s. They’ve got some of the best doctors there,” Gordon said. 

She’s stable on an ECMO machine, supporting her heart and lungs. 

“She’s not really improving, but she’s not declining,” her father said. 

Doctors have been trying to clear her lungs of infection. 

“Right now, it’s just a day to day, moment to moment thing, seeing how she does with different treatments,” he said. 

Gordon said he has faith that his daughter will recover because of the care she’s getting. 

Family members have set up a GoFundMe* account. 

Dr. Jones said influenza diagnoses are also rising among all age groups, including Utah children. Some have been hospitalized. 

Two weeks ago, there were 43 cases of flu throughout the Intermountain Healthcare system. It was up to 125 last week, the doctor said, and a few children have been hospitalized with influenza. 

“We anticipate this is only rising at an exponential rate. So, this has us fairly concerned,” the infectious disease physician said. 

He’s even more concerned because the vaccination rate for influenza among children is 14% lower than it was a year ago. 

“So, we’re already not covering and protecting our children against flu with proper vaccination. So, this has got us concerned that we’re kind of vulnerable right now to rising flu cases.” 

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Influenza, RSV and COVID-19 cases rising among children in Utah