Wisconsin DHS reports first child under the age of 10 to die from COVID-19 complications

NOW: Wisconsin DHS reports first child under the age of 10 to die from COVID-19 complications

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported the first death in a child under the age of 10 from COVID-19 complications Tuesday, Dec. 21.

DHS could not provide any more details because of privacy reasons. But doctors say this should urge parents to get their child and everyone else in the family vaccinated, as omicron is spreading rapidly in Wisconsin.

"COVID hasn't caused many deaths in children, but I think this brings home the point when something is rare it still happens, and when it's your child this is happening to, it's not rare," Dr. Ben Weston said. " It's an extremely safe vaccine and extremely safe at preventing something just like this. It's been given to thousands and thousands of children."

Milwaukee County remains in the extreme transmission category for COVID-19. The county is seeing an average of 472 cases a day. Doctors predict most of the new cases are now omicron. Dr. Weston said omicron is up to 10 times as contagious as the delta variant.

"It's one of the most contagious viruses we've ever seen. Measles is probably the only other virus that's more contagious," Dr. Weston said.

Milwaukee County is now averaging six deaths a day. Last week, it saw an average of three. Health officials are asking you to only gather for the holidays if you have tested negative for COVID. Dr. Weston said it's best to test the day of.

"This week and the weeks to come will be challenging for many. Our hospitals are at the breaking point," he said. "If that rapid test is positive, stay home. Trust the test is a positive."

While getting the vaccine does not guarantee you won't get the virus, doctors say it will most likely keep you out of the hospital. This is vital as most hospitals in the state struggle to find enough staff as we head into another surge.

"It's extremely frustrating. It's frustrating if you are a provider or nurse caring for somebody who comes into the ER and you know that we have the tools to prevent this," Dr. Darren Rausch, with the Greenfield Health Department, said.

Dr. Weston said with omicron, six feet of distance and social distancing is no longer enough to keep you from getting sick. Just being in the same room, like on the other side of a restaurant, is enough to get you sick.

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