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At the start of the pandemic, older individuals and those with immunocompromised systems were the main concern. As the pandemic has progressed and variants continue to mutate, the new concern is children.

Each week, Children’s Wisconsin releases information regarding the number of COVID-19 cases among children. From Sept. 22 to Sept. 28, an average number of 12 children were hospitalized with COVID-19. Other respiratory related illness that resulted in hospitalization include respiratory syncytial virus with 16 cases, rhinovirus with 13 cases and influenza with zero cases.

“The number of kids in Wisconsin with COVID-19 and the hospitalization rate of kids with COVID-19 in our state continue to steadily rise,” Dr. Michael Gutzeit said in a statement.

Gutzeit is the chief medical officer for Children’s Wisconsin.

He continued, “The best way to stop this trajectory and protect our kids is through the precautions we already know work. I encourage families and school districts to reinforce the use of masks to decrease the spread of viruses, especially as we see a continued rise in COVID-19 and rhinovirus.”

The number of COVID-19 cases among children that have resulted in hospitalization have increased over time. Between Sept. 8 and Sept. 14, five children were hospitalized, the following week that number doubled.

Children’s Wisconsin noted that the many of the children who have tested positive are displaying mild symptoms or are hospitalized for other reasons. It stressed that the long-term effects of COVID-19 are still unknown.

According to the hospital’s news hub, respiratory viruses such as respiratory syncytial virus and rhinovirus, which causes the common cold, are common this time of year.

At the moment, 71% of the rooms at Children’s Wisconsin are occupied. According to the chart, 78% of the rooms in the pediatric intensive care unit are likewise occupied. While this number is the same as last week, it is a slight decrease from 79% from Sept. 8.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, children in the following ages groups are experiencing the highest numbers of cases: 9 to 13 and 14 to 17. As of the week of Sept. 19, there have been 32,263 confirmed cases in the 9 to 13 age group and 37,776 confirmed cases in the 14 to 17 age group.

Individuals 16 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines currently available include the Moderna, the Pfizer and the Johnson & Johnson. Children ages 12 and older can receive the Pfizer vaccine.

In his statement, Gutzeit noted that masks are the best tool for slowing the spread of the virus and “limiting disruptions to the school year.”

“We are encouraged by the COVID-19 vaccine progress reported by Pfizer-BioNTech and look forward to being able to vaccinate kids age 5-11,” he said.

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