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 are encouraged by the interest we’ve seen in families to get younger kids vaccinated against COVID-19 and want to encourage the same enthusiasm for flu vaccination. With the holidays fast approaching, we want families to remember that if their child gets their first COVID-19 vaccine this week, they could be fully vaccinated by Christmas. And it only takes one shot for kids to be protected from the flu. With COVID-19 cases again on the rise and a flu season upon us, I hope families continue to get their kids vaccinated. The more people who are vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza before the holidays, the more likely we can prevent disruptions to celebrations and have the entire family start the New Year healthy.”
– Michael Gutzeit, MD, chief medical officer, Children’s Wisconsin
What has changed since last week
• Hospitalizations at Children’s Wisconsin remain steady, while cases of COVID-19 double: Over the last week, the percent of rooms occupied at Children’s Wisconsin Hospital-Milwaukee remained steady. However, the number of children who tested positive for COVID-19 while hospitalized at Children’s Wisconsin Hospital-Milwaukee doubled from 6 to 12.
• Percent of COVID-19 cases in kids rises along with state-wide hospitalization rate: According to the latest data available from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), 26% of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin on Nov. 7 were in those under the age of 18. This is up from 21% in October. This, along with the increased cases of COVID-19 seen at Children’s Wisconsin and an increase in the hospitalization rate in kids statewide, indicates kids in the community are increasingly testing positive and continue to contribute to the spread of the virus.
• Children’s Wisconsin began vaccinating kids ages 5-11: All 20+ Children’s Wisconsin primary care offices are providing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to kids 5 years old and older. More than 7,000 appointments for a COVID-19 vaccination were scheduled at a Children’s Wisconsin location in the past week, and the partnership with the Milwaukee Health Department to provide vaccinations at Milwaukee area schools is underway, with walk-in clinics scheduled now through Nov. 23.
• First signs of 2021-2022 flu season seen in the United States: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports an increase in flu activity, which can potentially mark the beginning of the 2021-2022 flu season. The majority of flu activity was seen in young adults and children. Of note, the University of Michigan has reported a large and sudden increase in cases of flu among students on the Ann Arbor campus.
What continues to be a focus
• Cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) on the rise: A condition where different organs can become inflamed, MIS-C does not have a clear cause. However, many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19. According to the Wisconsin DHS, the average age of confirmed MIS-C cases is 8, highlighting the importance of getting kids 5-11 years old vaccinated now that they’re eligible. Nationwide, more than 60% of reported MIS-C cases have occurred in children who are Hispanic or Latino, or Non-Hispanic Black. In Wisconsin, more than 50% of MIS-C cases occur in people who are Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, or Asian or Pacific Islander, despite these communities of color representing less than 20% of the state population.
• 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 eligible kids receive the COVID-19 vaccine, masks continue to be the best way to protect kids from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. Two 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.
Deadline for Children’s Wisconsin vaccination requirement passes
• Final compliance is 99 percent: We are grateful to the 99% of Children’s Wisconsin team members who met the Nov. 15 COVID-19 and influenza vaccination deadline.
• Caring for the sickest kids: Our responsibility to care for the sickest kids in the state led us to require all employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, in addition to our annual influenza vaccine requirement. Not only does this provide the safest environment for kids in our hospitals, it helps to reduce the chance of exposure in the community.
Please view full report at https://childrenswi.org/newshub/stories/childrens-wisconsin-hospital-census-report