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Area child dies from rare coronavirus complication

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Sarah Self-Walbrick/Texas Tech Public Media
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Dr. Amy Thompson and Dr. Lara Johnson talk about cases of MIS-C at Covenant Children's.

A child under age 10 died this week from complications of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C.  

 

Dr. Amy Thompson, CEO of Covenant Children’s, said the child lived in the region and was treated in the pediatrics ICU. The City of Lubbock has not reported any deaths under age 19.  

 

 

A second MIS-C patient under age 15 is also hospitalized at Covenant Children’s. Pediatrician Dr. Lara Johnson says MIS-C is a rare, but serious, effect of coronavirus.  

“This doesn’t tend to be something that we tend to see right when children may have a positive test for COVID or some mild COVID symptoms,” Johnson said at a news conference Wednesday. “Most commonly, it happens two to four weeks later.” 

 

According to the Center for Disease Control, 98% of MIS-C patients also tested positive for the coronavirus. The remaining 2% were exposed to someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19.  

 

MIS-C inflames parts of the body and can lead to more serious complications, like organ failure. Johnson said symptoms of MIS-C include fatigue, fever and abdominal problems, which can make it hard to diagnose. Covenant Children’s has secured tests that will make it easier to confirm cases of the syndrome, the specialist said.  

 

The CDC reports 1,163 cases have been confirmed nationwide, with more than 51 diagnoses in Texas. Twenty of these young patients have died in the U.S.  

 

Most cases have been diagnosed in children between the ages of 1 and 14. Thus far, 75% of MIS-C patients are Latino or Black and more than half are male.  

 

Thompson said the syndrome is not something parents should be too worried about, but they should know the symptoms. Cases of MIS-C are low right now but seem to be rising, she said.  

 

The idea that children are not affected by COVID-19 is a misconception Thompson said weighs heavy on her.  

 

“We have had increased admissions to our COVID unit here at the hospital,” Thompson said. “That number for us has really been less than 10 at any given time since the beginning of this illness. But we have started to see increased numbers of children in the COVID unit.”

  

In Lubbock, 4,044 people under age 19 have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data from the city. About 16% of those patients have been younger than age 9.  

 

Have a news tip? Email Sarah Self-Walbrick at saselfwa@ttu.edu. Follow her reporting on Twitter @SarahFromTTUPM.

 

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