Each week, Children’s Wisconsin will provide hospital census information to help our community better understand how respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), are impacting kids. As the only health system in the state dedicated to the health of kids, Children’s Wisconsin has the largest pediatric intensive care unit in the state. Check back on Wednesdays for the latest update.
This week’s takeaway
“We continue to see a high number of kids hospitalized at Children’s Wisconsin, especially for this time of year, but we’re thankful to have seen a slight decrease in hospitalizations in the last week. Like Wisconsin, some states saw COVID-19 hospitalization rates in kids decrease over the last week, while others are seeing another increase. This reinforces the importance of the mitigation efforts we know work — wear your mask, watch your distance, wash your hands, work or attend school only when well, and get vaccinated when you are eligible.”
- Michael Gutzeit, MD, chief medical officer, Children’s Wisconsin
What has changed since last week
- Hospitalizations at Children’s Wisconsin slightly decreases: Over the last week, the percent of rooms occupied at Children’s Wisconsin Hospital-Milwaukee, percent of patients in isolation, and the average daily number of children admitted to the hospital 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 COVID-19 cases are in kids: According to the latest data available from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), 20.4 percent of new confirmed cases on Oct. 17 were in those under the age of 18. While cases of COVID-19 are declining overall, this indicates kids in the community are continuing to test positive and contribute to the spread of the virus.
- Almost half of states see another increase in COVID-19 hospitalization rate: According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), last week, almost half of the states saw the hospitalization rate in those 0 to 17 years old beginning to increase once again.
What continues to be a focus
- All counties in Wisconsin continue to see high COVID-19 cases: While cases are beginning to plateau, according to the Wisconsin DHS, all counties in Wisconsin continue to have “critically high” or “high” case activity levels. This highlights the continued importance of mitigation efforts.
- Pfizer-BioNTech asks U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize its COVID-19 vaccine for children age 5-11: Pfizer-BioNTech asked the FDA to amend its emergency use authorization to allow the use of its COVID-19 vaccine in children 5 through 11 years of age. The FDA has scheduled a meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (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 thereafter.
- Mitigation is vital: In other parts of the country, schools in communities with lower vaccinations rates and less stringent mitigation efforts appear to experience more outbreaks. Until more kids age 12-17 receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the age eligibility is lowered, masks continue to be the best way to protect kids 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 decrease the chance of seeing kids hospitalized in Wisconsin due to COVID-19 or other respiratory illnesses, we need everyone to wear masks, watch their distance, wash their hands, work or attend school only when well, and to get the COVID-19 and flu vaccines when they are eligible.
Average daily occupancy trends at Children’s Wisconsin Hospital-Milwaukee
|The average daily occupancy at Children’s Wisconsin Hospital-Milwaukee
|% of rooms occupied||% of rooms occupied in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)|
|Sept. 29-Oct. 5||72%||82%|
|% of patients in isolation||% of patients in isolation for a respiratory illness
(including COVID-19 and RSV)
|Sept. 29-Oct. 5||33%||25%|
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:||COVID-19||RSV||Rhinovirus||Influenza|
|Week of Oct. 19||6||8||8||0|
|Week of Oct. 12||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 COVID-19 cases
Confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide for kids 0-17 based on Wisconsin Department of Health Services database.
|Confirmed COVID-19 cases statewide||Total||Age
|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 Sept. 12||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 still preliminary and will continue to be updated by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services as cases are investigated and confirmed.
National and state context
- In Wisconsin, the hospitalization rate of those age 0-17 with COVID-19 has continued to slowly decrease after a spike in September.
- According to the latest data from the CDC, last week, some states continued to see a plateauing or decreasing COVID-19 hospitalization rate in those 0-17 years old. However, almost half of the states saw the hospitalization rate beginning to increase once again.
|State||COVID-19 hospitalization rate age 0-17
(As of Oct. 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 Sept. 21, 2021|
|Tennessee||.44||1.12 on Sept. 5, 2021|
|Texas||.30||.92 on Sept. 4, 2021|
Current hospitalization rates are an average of how many kids, age 0-17, out of 100,000 are hospitalized. For example, on Sept. 25, an average of .61 children out of 100,000 were hospitalized in Wisconsin with COVID-19, though many of those kids were hospitalized for other reasons. To see more of this data, please visit the COVID-19 Data Tracker from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For more information and data specific to pediatric cases of COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.