Coronavirus News: Pediatric Multi-System Inflammation Syndrome cases on the rise

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Cases of what appears to be a rare COVID-19-related illness in children continue to rise across the Tri-State area and the nation.

In New York state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that the Department of Health is now investigating 102 cases of what experts are calling Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS).

The illness has taken the lives of three young New Yorkers, Cuomo said: a 5-year-old boy, a 7-year-old boy, and an 18-year-old girl.

82 cases were reported in New York City alone. One of the children who died was a New York City resident.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that the city is launching a multilingual PSA campaign to inform parents and caregivers about the syndrome.

According to New York health officials, 60% of the children with these symptoms statewide tested positive for COVID-19 and 40% tested positive for the antibodies. 14 percent tested positive for both.

Experts believe the victims may have been exposed to the virus weeks before developing symptoms. They range in age from less than 1 year to 21 years old.

In New Jersey, health officials reported 7 new cases of PMIS Wednesday, bringing that state's total to 18.

The victims are between 3 and 18 years old and are from Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Middlesex, Monmouth, Union and Warren counties.

So far, four have tested positive for COVID-19. More details are expected in the coming days.

And in Connecticut, at least five children were being treated for PMIS as of Tuesday.

The physician-in-chief at Connecticut Children's Medical Center said two patients there are believed to have the rare condition, and tests were being conducted on a third child.

In all, 15 states - including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah and Washington - plus Washington, D.C., and five European countries (Spain, France, England, Italy, Switzerland) have reported cases of the syndrome.

Health officials say parents who have been exposed to COVID-19 or have reason to believe their children have been exposed to COVID-19 should take heightened precautions and seek medical attention should symptoms arise.

In New York state, hospitals have been directed by DOH to prioritize COVID-19 testing for children presenting these symptoms.

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