Coronavirus News: New York becomes 1st state to issue criteria for COVID-19-related syndrome in kids

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York has become the first state to issue criteria for what symptoms health care providers should look for to better understand and combat a mysterious illness related to COVID-19.

New York is investigating 110 reported cases and three deaths related to Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome.

The deaths include a 5-year old in New York City, a 7-year old in Westchester County and a teenager in Suffolk County.

"We're still learning a lot about this virus and we must remain vigilant because the situation is changing every day," Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "We now have 110 cases of COVID-related inflammatory illness in children and I expect this is only going to grow. We are leading the national effort to better understand and combat this new emerging syndrome, and we want to make sure everyone is informed and is looking out for the symptoms of this illness in children."

New Yorkers should seek immediate care if a child has:

Predominant Symptoms:
-Prolonged fever (more than five days)
-Severe abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting
-Bloodshot eyes
-Skin rash

Other Symptoms:
-Change in skin color - becoming pale, patchy and/or blue
-Difficulty feeding (infants) or is too sick to drink fluids
-Trouble breathing or is breathing very quickly
-Racing heart or chest pain
-Lethargy, irritability or confusion

The CDC is also expected to issue urgent warnings to doctors concerning children and the severe inflammatory syndrome that is strongly linked to the COVID-19 virus.

"I think they will start saying it is causal. That it's a direct cause and effect of a previous infection with the coronavirus and the Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome," Dr. Jennifer Owensby said.

Dr. Owensby is the Interim Medical Director of Pediatric ICU at Rutger's Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. She has seen five cases at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital in the last several weeks.

"Extreme fatigue. Shortness of breath. Some of the older kids are complaining they can feel their heart racing, palpitations. Some definitely have rashes, some have fever," Owensby said.

Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS) affects blood vessels and organs and has symptoms including prolonged fever, abdominal pain and vomiting.

Jack McMorrow, 14, of New York, first had a rash and a fever. His doctor says his heart was functioning abnormally.

"He got admitted to the Intensive Care Unit because he needed help keeping his blood pressure at a safe level," Dr. Tom Connors said.

Although McMorrow first tested negative for the virus, his mother insisted on a second test that came back positive for COVID-19.

"It started out small and eventually the symptoms got out of hand," McMorrow said.

Cases of the syndrome have been reported in New York and 15 other states. More cases are expected in New York and New Jersey.

"We are going to start seeing it spike most likely in the next few weeks," Owensby said.

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