Each week, Children’s Wisconsin will provide hospital census information to help our community better understand how respiratory diseases, including COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), affect children. As the only health system in the state dedicated to children’s health, Children’s Wisconsin has the largest pediatric intensive care unit in the state. Check back on Wednesday for the latest update.
This week’s takeaway
“We are still seeing a large number of children hospitalized in Children’s Wisconsin, especially for this time of year, but we are grateful to have seen a slight drop in hospital admissions over the past week. Like Wisconsin, some states saw a decline in child hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the past week, while others saw another rise. This reinforces the importance of the mitigation efforts that we know work – wear your mask, keep your distance, wash your hands, work or only go to school if you’re good, and get vaccinated if you qualify. ”
Michael Gutzeit, MD, Medical Director, Children’s Wisconsin
What has changed since last week
Hospital Admissions at Children’s Wisconsin Slightly Decrease: In the past week, the percentage of rooms occupied at Children’s Wisconsin Hospital-Milwaukee, the percentage of patients in isolation, and the average daily number of children hospitalized who tested positive with a respiratory virus (including COVID-19, RSV, and rhinovirus ) ) all showed a slight decline for the first time.
20 percent of new cases of COVID-19 are in children: According to the latest data available from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), 20.4 percent of new confirmed cases as of Oct. 17 were in people under the age of 18. While the number of COVID-19 cases is generally declining, this indicates that children in the community continue to test positive and contribute to the spread of the virus.
Nearly half of states see another rise in hospitalizations from COVID-19: According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly half of states saw hospital admissions for 0 to 17-year-olds rise again last week.
What remains a point of attention
All Wisconsin counties continue to see high COVID-19 cases: As cases begin to decline, according to the Wisconsin DHS, all counties in Wisconsin continue to have “critically high” or “high” activity levels. This highlights the continued importance of mitigation efforts.
Pfizer-BioNTech asks the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve its COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11: Pfizer-BioNTech has asked the FDA to change its emergency use authorization to allow the use of the COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11. The FDA has scheduled a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biological Products (VRBPAC) on Oct. 26 to consider the request. The CDC is also expected to hold an advisory meeting in early November, and a decision should be made shortly after.
Mitigation is essential: In other parts of the country, schools in communities with lower vaccination rates and less rigorous mitigation efforts seem to experience more outbreaks. Until more children aged 12-17 get the COVID-19 vaccine and the age restriction is lowered, masks will remain the best way to protect children from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. Two recent studies published by the CDC provide additional evidence that masks protect children from COVID-19, even when community rates are high and the more contagious Delta variant is circulating.
The W’s (and a V): To reduce the chances of children in Wisconsin being hospitalized for COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses, we need everyone: wear masks, watch their distance, wash their hands, only work or go to school if it’s okay, and to get the COVID-19 and flu vaccines when they qualify.
Average Daily Occupancy Trends at Children’s Wisconsin Hospital-Milwaukee
The Average Daily Occupancy of Children’s Wisconsin Hospital-Milwaukee
% of rooms occupied
% of rooms occupied in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU)
Oct 13-19 70% 72% Oct 6-12 72% 82% Sep 29-Oct 29 5 72% 82% Sep 22-28 71% 78% Sep 15-21 68% 78% Sep 8-14 68% 79%
% of patients in isolation
% of patients in isolation due to respiratory disease
(including COVID-19 and RSV) October 13-19 31% 20% October 6-12 37% 26% September 29-October 29 5 33% 25% Sept 22-28 37% 28% Sep 15-21 34% 26% Sept 8-14 31% 24%
Respiratory Virus Trends Seen at Children’s Wisconsin Hospital-Milwaukee
Average daily number of children admitted to Children’s Wisconsin Hospital-Milwaukee who tested positive with a respiratory virus
Average # hospitalized with:
Week of Oct 19. 6 8 8 0 Week of 12 Oct. 11 14 11 0 Week of Oct 5 11 16 11 0 Week of Sept 28 12 16 13 0 Week of Sept 21 10 15 11 0 Week of Sept 14 5 17 9 0
Confirmed pediatric cases of COVID-19
Statewide confirmed COVID-19 cases for children ages 0-17 based on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services database.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the state
Week of Oct. 3 4,071 367 939 1,427 1,338 Week of Sept 26. 4,613 484 1,045 1,603 1,481 Week of Sept 19. 5,251 519 1,234 1,862 1,636 Week of 12 Sept. 5,593 495 1,296 1,947 1,855 Week of Sept 5 4,390 490 1,120 1,426 1,354 Week of Aug 29 3,096 405 794 960 937 Week of Aug 22 2,343 377 633 692 641 Week of Aug 15 2,107 347 559 631 570
*The latest information from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is preliminary and will be further updated by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services as cases are investigated and confirmed.
National and state context
In Wisconsin, the number of hospitalizations of 0-17 year olds with COVID-19 has continued to decline slowly after peaking in September. According to the latest data from the CDC, some states continued to see a stabilizing or declining COVID-19 hospitalization rate among those 0-17 years old last week. However, nearly half of the states saw hospital admissions begin to rise again.
COVID-19 hospitalization age 0-17
(From October 12)
Previous highest hospitalization rate age 0-17
Wisconsin .34 .61 on Sept. 25 2021 Florida .34 1.61 on Aug 30, 2021 Georgia .17 2.23 on Aug 13, 2021 Idaho .29 .8 on Sept 28 2021 Illinois .09 .31 on Nov. 11, 2020 Iowa .37 .83 on Nov 20. 2020 Louisiana .18 1.2 on Aug 15, 2021 Minnesota .20 .42 on Dec 11 2020 Montana .56 3.31 on Oct 2 2020 Ohio .63 1.01 on September 21, 2021 Tennessee .44 1.12 on September 5, 2021 Texas .30 .92 on September 4, 2021
Current hospital admission rates are an average of the number of children aged 0-17 years admitted to hospital. For example, on September 25, an average of 0.61 out of 100,000 children in Wisconsin were hospitalized with COVID-19, although many of those children were hospitalized for other reasons. For more of this data, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 Data Tracker.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information and data specific to pediatric cases of COVID-19.