COVID-19 cases rising in children, health officials warn of more hospitalizations, MIS-C

Posted at 3:24 PM, Apr 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-12 20:19:13-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The more than 200% increase in cases of COVID-19 is concerning doctors at Helen Devos Children's hospitals. Not because of COVID, but the rare disease that a child can develop after getting COVID-19. Helen Devos Children's hospital hasn't seen an increase of children coming to the hospital just yet.

“We’re very anxious about the possibility of seeing more cases of MIS-C, given how many more cases of COVID-19 we’ve seen diagnosed in our pediatric population,” Pediatric Infectious Disease Division Chief Dr. Rosemary Olivero said.

MIS-C is a rare inflammatory disease children can get after getting COVID-19. It's the immune system's response to the virus that does more harm than helps, by attacking healthy organs. Children diagnosed with MIS-C are all being followed by a cardiologist until they are 18, for possible complications regarding an increased risk of heart problem.

It affects as many as 2% of all kids infected with COVID-19, but that number is still being studied.

“I wish I had a much more firm number, so we can predict how much more we’re going to see,” Olivero said.

However, Olivero says they do anticipate seeing more cases, given that more children are being infected, even though the disease is rare.

Symptoms of MIS-C include watery diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, sunburn-like rash, and swelling or puffiness in the hands and feet.

Dr. Jameson, an infectious disease specialist at St. Mary's, says now is the time to get vaccinated, since children still can't.

“We actually have a record number of kids that are admitted to the hospital right now in Michigan, that we’ve never seen before. This is because we’ve let this circulate. So yes, it’s worrisome. Yes, get vaccinated,” Dr. Jameson said.

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