Children Are Rising Share of COVID-19 Cases
Report shows hospitalizations of children with COVID-19 have increased.
COVID-19 is holding steady in Milwaukee at a high level of disease, but the percentage of total cases that are occurring among children is growing.
The latest data from a weekly report tracking COVID-19 locally shows that COVID-19 cases among children 18 years or younger now make up 32% of all new cases in the county, compared to 30% last week and 20% at the end of June, noted Darren Rausch, director of the Greenfield Health Department in an email that accompanied a release of the report.
Among children 18 and younger, there were 463 cases this past week and 490 the week prior. However, in the City of Milwaukee, cases among children have risen at a dramatic rate and they continue to make up a majority of the cases among children in the county. Of the 463 new cases this past week, 375 were in the city.
During the past week, there were more 1,438 cases of COVID-19 among adults in the county, compared to more than 1,600 the previous week.
Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 remain high in Milwaukee County, as they rise across the state. There were 285 adults and 37 children hospitalized with COVID-19 during the past week. This marks a rise among children, who only had 24 hospitalizations the previous week.
Hospitalizations and deaths are considered lagging indicators of disease, because of the time it takes for a person to become seriously ill after contracting COVID-19. Increases in these two disease outcomes have historically trailed initial surges in disease throughout the pandemic.
Now, deaths, too, are higher than they were before this latest surge in disease. During the past week there were four deaths due to COVID-19. The week prior there were six deaths.
The transmission rate in Milwaukee County indicates the community is not suppressing the disease. The transmission rate measures how many people, on average, will contract COVID-19 from a single confirmed case of the disease.
The transmission rate this past week was 1.072 countywide, 1.108 in the city and .984 in the suburbs. These numbers mean, for example, that in the city, for each new confirmed case 1.108, or more than one additional person, on average, will contract the disease.
The positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that come back positive for COVID-19, was 9% countywide, 10% in the city and 7.3% in the suburbs. Last week the county’s positivity rate was 9.7%, and both the city and the suburbs saw a slight drop in their positivity rates.
The positivity rate among children this past week was 16.4% countywide, 18.6% in the city and 11.3% in the suburbs.
Public health officials have repeatedly said that the highly transmissible Delta variant and the large percentage of the population that remain unvaccinated have been the fuel for the summer surge in disease.
In the county, the number of people that are eligible for the vaccine and are fully vaccinated continues to rise, though at a marginal rate. Currently, 59.6% of county residents above the age of 12 are fully vaccinated, according to a report on vaccination in the county. A month ago, on August 12, the county had 56.8% of eligible residents fully vaccinated.
Racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 outcomes have existed throughout the pandemic. Black county residents have made up a disproportionate number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 relative to their share of the population. Hispanic residents have had the highest rate of disease in the county and American Indian and Alaskan Native residents currently have the highest rate of death in the county.
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