Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Inc.

10/27/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/27/2021 09:33

Pediatric COVID-19 trends in Wisconsin — Oct. 27

NewsOct 27, 2021

Pediatric COVID-19 trends in Wisconsin - Oct. 27

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 overwhelming recommendation to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11. Next week, we expect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to review the data, and for a final decision to be made. The number of COVID-19 cases in those less than 18 years old continues to decline in Wisconsin. However, the numbers of kids hospitalized at Children's Wisconsin due to respiratory viruses remained steady compared to last week. Our hope is that the hospitalizations begin to decline as overall cases continue to do the same. We are cautiously optimistic that this will happen in the coming weeks and are continuing to monitor this early start to the viral season. As always, we want to encourage mitigation efforts to help us get there - 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

  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) takes next step on COVID-19 vaccine for children age 5-11: The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) met on Oct. 26 and recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine receive emergency use authorization. The next step is for the FDA to make their decision based on that recommendation. That decision could come in the next few days. Then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will review the data and make its recommendation, which is expected to happen Nov. 2 and 3.

  • Hospitalizations at Children's Wisconsin remained steady: Over the last week, the percent of rooms occupied at Children's Wisconsin Hospital-Milwaukee declined slightly, while the percent of patients in isolation and the average daily number of children admitted who tested positive with a respiratory virus (including COVID-19, RSV and rhinovirus) all showed a very slight increase.

  • Dane County has the lowest COVID-19 case status in Wisconsin: While cases are beginning to decline throughout the state, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), Dane County is the only county to not have "critically high" or "very high" case activity levels. This highlights the continued importance of mitigation efforts as Dane County has the highest percentage of residents who have completed a vaccine series (71.8 percent) and is the only county in the state that currently has a mask mandate in place.

What continues to be a focus

  • 21 percent of COVID-19 cases are in kids: According to the latest data available from the Wisconsin DHS, 21.28 percent of confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Oct. 24 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.

  • 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 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 is Nov. 15

  • Compliance approaches 90 percent: With three weeks to go until the deadline, almost 89.5 percent of Children's Wisconsin staff and providers are in compliance with the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

  • Doctors and nurses lead vaccination effort: Nearly 100 percent of Children's Wisconsin doctors have already met the requirement, and Children's Wisconsin nurses have a higher compliance rate than the system overall.

  • 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. Not only does this provide the safest environment for kids in our hospitals, it helps to reduce the chance of exposure in the community.


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)

Oct. 20-26 69% 74%
Oct. 13-19 70% 72%
Oct. 6-12 72% 82%
Sept. 29 - Oct. 5 72% 82%
Sept. 22-28 71% 78%
Sept. 15-21 68% 78%
Sept. 8-14 68% 79%

% of patients in isolation % of patients in isolation for a respiratory illness
(including COVID-19 and RSV)
Oct. 20-26 33% 21%
Oct. 13-19 31% 20%
Oct. 6-12 37% 26%
Sept. 29 - Oct. 5 33% 25%
Sept. 22-28 37% 28%
Sept. 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

COVID-19 RSV Rhinovirus Influenza
Oct. 20-26 7 10 9 0
Oct. 13-19 6 8 8 0
Oct. 6-12 11 14 11 0
Sept. 29 - Oct. 5 11 16 11 0
Sept. 22-28 12 16 13 0
Sept. 15-21 10 15 11 0
Sept. 8-14 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 0-3 Age 4-8 Age 9-13 Age 14-17
Week of Oct. 10
3,522 407 902 1,207 1,006
Week of Oct. 3
4,188 380 965 1,460 1,383
Week of Sept. 26
4,629 489 1,047 1,610 1,483
Week of Sept. 19
5,257 520 1,231 1,866 1,640
Week of Sept. 12
5,596 494 1,297 1,948 1,857
Week of Sept. 5
4,392 491 1,121 1,426 1,354
Week of Aug. 29
3,099 405 795 961 938
Week of Aug. 22
2,343 377 633 692 641
Week of Aug. 15
2,108 347 559 631 571

*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, some states saw another spike in hospitalization rate for that age group, including Idaho and Montana, where vaccination rates are low. When compared to the hospitalization rate reported last week, Idaho jumped from .29 to .54, and Montana jumped from .56 to .94.

Current hospitalization
rate age 0-17
(As of Oct.19)

Previous highest
rate age 0-17

.25 .61 on 9/25/21
1.61 on 8/30/21
.27 2.23 on 8/13/21
.54 .80 on 9/28/21
.13 .31 on 11/11/20
Iowa .29 .83 on 11/20/20
Louisiana .12 1.2 on 8/15/21
Minnesota .23 .42 on 12/11/20
Montana .94 3.31 on 10/2/20
Ohio .41 1.01 on 9/21/21
Tennessee .14 1.12 on 9/5/21
Texas .26 .92 on 9/4/21

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.

Past reports

Our high standard of care has always required an uncompromising approach to safety. And during this COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to ensure every visit, appointment, procedure and surgery offered across all our Children's Wisconsin locations is safe. Learn more on our COVID-19 web page.