By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado health experts say the number of children with COVID is going up. That’s in line with a wave of new pediatric cases being reported across the U.S. because of the delta variant.

“Not near the increase that we are seeing in other parts of the country yet,” Dr. Reginald Washington, Chief Medical Officer for Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children said.

While their numbers are up only slightly, they are preparing for a surge in cases.

“You can’t predict everything there is to predict about COVID and we know when there is a surge that’s not the time to begin the planning,” he said.

They are already increasing capacity as far as staff and bed availability goes.

The preparations will help with an increase in COVID patients should they see them, and right now it’s needed to support a current spike in a second respiratory virus, also known as RSV.

“I would say we have 2 to 3 times more children a with RSV now than we did a week ago,” Washington said.

RSV is seen every year in Colorado, but typically not until the fall.

Doctors believe the early spike has a lot to do with our pandemic protections.

“We think there was very little RSV last year because kids were not out and about. They wore masks, etc. Now they are being more exposed to each other,” Washington said.

Despite having both viruses surging at the same time, they believe preparation will be key in avoiding any issues. The real concern, he says, is for parents.

“The difficulty is the symptoms are the same, so parents are going to have a difficult time saying ‘Is this RSV?’ or ‘Is this COVID?’ and I would discourage parents from trying to make the diagnosis,” he said.

Symptoms for RSV include difficulty breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea, very similar to covid Dr. Washington says parents should seek medical attention sooner rather than later.

Karen Morfitt