DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Dayton Children’s Hospital is implementing new restrictions following a high volume of patients due to an increase in RSV and other respiratory viruses.

According to Dayton Children’s, the hospital has been experiencing a high number of families coming to the hospital’s emergency departments, urgent cares and Kids Express locations.

“This is unusual compared to the last five years we’ve seen, we are seeing record numbers of early onset RSV,” said Division Chief of Dayton Children’s Kids Express Dr. Lisa Ziemnik.

Dayton Children’s says their ICU has hit capacity after record numbers of RSV cases have filled their hospital beds.Dr. Ziemnik believes quarantine may have set back some children’s natural immunity from respiratory illnesses.

“Our kids have been more protected the last couple of years of these respiratory viruses, we have been masking, not exposing our kids as much, being more careful, so some of that natural immunity that may not prevent you from getting the illness but decrease the severity of it just needs to be built back up,” said Dr. Ziemnik.

As a mother of four boys herself, Dr. Ziemnik advises parents to watch their children’s behavior and symptoms carefully.

“If your mom gut and dad gut goes this isn’t right, bring them in,” said Dr. Ziemnik. “That’s the key, follow your instincts on what’s right for your child. If you’re worried or concerned, it’s worth waiting for six hours to prove they’re ok then it is to stay at home, worry, them really not be ok and miss it.”

Due to the increase, the hospital will be implementing a visitor restriction: Children younger than 12 will no longer be permitted to visit inpatients. The hospital said this restriction is standard procedure for periods of high transmission of respiratory illnesses that occur every year.

Dayton Children’s reported that the hospital saw more than 300 patients in its main campus emergency department on Monday, October 24. That is a 50 percent increase from the same time last year.

Dayton Children’s says they have not recorded any deaths yet related to RSV for 2022 year.

This increase in patients means families should expect longer wait times. Kids Express locations may also stop accepting walk-in patients when they reach capacity for the day.

If your child is ill, the hospital suggested contacting their pediatrician first, even if it is after office hours. They can direct you to the best care for your child, Dayton Children’s said.

For more information on Dayton Children’s Hospital, click here.