Characteristics of Hospitalized Pediatric COVID-19 Cases - Chicago, Illinois, March - April 2020

J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2020 Jun 1;piaa070. doi: 10.1093/jpids/piaa070. Online ahead of print.


Background: To date, no report on COVID-19 pediatric patients in a large urban center with data on underlying comorbidities and co-infection for hospitalized cases has been published.

Methods: Case series of Chicago COVID-19 patients aged 0-17 years reported to Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) from 3/5/20-4/8/20. Enhanced case investigation performed. Chi-square and Wilcoxon two-sample tests to compare characteristics among hospitalized and non-hospitalized cases.

Results: During March 5-April 8, 2020, 6369 lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported to CDPH; 64 (1.0%) were among children 0-17 years. Ten patients (16%) were hospitalized, seven (70%) required intensive care (ICU); median length of hospitalization 4 days (range: 1-14). Reported fever and dyspnea were significantly higher in hospitalized patients compared to non-hospitalized patients (9/10 vs. 28/54, p = 0.04 and 7/10 vs. 10/54, p = 0.002, respectively). Hospitalized patients were significantly younger than non-hospitalized patients (median, 3.5 years vs. 12 years; p = 0.03) and all either had an underlying comorbidity or co-infection. Among the 34 unique households with multiple laboratory-confirmed infections, median number of laboratory-confirmed infections was 2 (range: 2-5), and 31 (91%) households had at least one COVID-19 infected adult. For 15 households with available data to assess transmission, 11 (73%) were adult-to-child, 2 (13%) child-to-child, and 2 (13%) child-to-adult.

Conclusions: Enhanced case investigation of hospitalized patients revealed that underlying comorbidities and co-infection might have contributed to severe disease. Given frequency of household transmission, healthcare providers should consider alternative dispositional planning for affected families of children living with comorbidities.

Keywords: COVID-19; Co-infections; Comorbidities; Epidemiology; Hospitalization.