BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The California Department of Public Health reported the first death of the year in a child under the age of five due to RSV, short for Respiratory Syncytial Virus.

To protect patient confidentiality, no additional information, including where the death occurred, is being released at this time. However, with this recently reported death, Kern County hospitals are bracing for an anticipated further surge.

RSV cases are not uncommon, with the typical RSV season starting in November and fading out in March. However, California is seeing more of the virus than normal this time of year, with the surge mostly among kids.

Many of those kids are filling up Kern County hospitals, according to Chief Medical Officer of Adventist Health Dr. Ghassan Jamaleddine.

“I wouldn’t say we are overwhelmed; we are quite busy in the emergency department, but most of the time, those cases are getting discharged,” said Jamaleddine.

Bakersfield Memorial Hospital is seeing the increase too, even stepping up to help other hospitals during this time.

“So far we are going okay, and we haven’t had to turn away a lot of patients which is nice, but we do get calls from other places in the state looking for beds for children so we know that it’s coming to our county soon and we’re just doing what we can to prepare for that so we can support our community,” said Nursing Director of Pediatrics Catherine Harker.

Yet, all hospitals can do is provide support.

“There’s no pill that we can give for it, there’s no medicine, all we can do is support children through that whether that’s to support their respiratory system with giving oxygen or different things or giving fluids if they’re not eating or drinking really well, so I think it’s important that we are vigilant as a community,” said Harker.

If you notice any RSV symptoms, both doctors suggest going to your physician or the nearest hospital as soon as possible and continuing to wash your hands, staying home if sick, cover coughs and sneezes.