Advocate Children's Hospital sees increase in pediatric Covid-19 cases

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- As concerns on the rise in Covid-19 cases among kids continue, Advocate Aurora Health shared an update Thursday on how this is currently affecting kids and teens in Wisconsin and Illinois.

Advocate Aurora Health has seen an increase in hospitalizations at Advocate Children’s Hospital. It is a significant rise from what Aurora has seen in past surges and since the start of the pandemic.

In the past 30 days, 25-38 children have been hospitalized on a daily basis.

Ninety-four percent of children hospitalized are unvaccinated, and 25 percent of pediatric patients hospitalized are currently in the ICU.

Pediatric experts have noted the omicron variant affects kids under the age of five differently compared to other variants, especially if they are battling other respiratory illnesses.

"When they come to the ICU it is likely they need respiratory indoor cardiac support, so lung and heart support, to help them fight the virus. In those cases parents can expect for children to require oxygen. Some even require ventilator in severe cases," said Dr. Nekaiya Jacobs, a pediatric critical care physician at Advocate Children's Hospital.

Health experts expressed the importance of getting vaccinated and getting the booster. They also said this is key in protecting ourselves and each other and is crucial to keeping kids in school.

Health experts expressed that getting vaccinated and taking other steps to avoid spreading the virus is especially important for families who have kids under the age of five, since they don't qualify for the vaccine yet, and also for immunocompromised kids.

"I really think we realized not only vaccination, but mitigation efforts need to reboot. Things we were doing back in March, like social distancing, diligence about masking. All of that is very important for this particular variant," said Dr. Frank Belmonte, chief medical officer of Advocate Children’s Hospital.

Getting tested for Covid-19 if you feel symptoms is also key in mitigation efforts.

As of now, Belmonte said vaccine studies continue nationally for the age group below five. Aurora Health has also been asked to participate in those studies. Belmonte said in the spring, they are expecting an update on the outcome of those studies.

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