There are now 100 cases of the rare possible coronavirus-related inflammatory illness affecting children in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday.
Out of the children diagnosed with Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS), 55 tested positive for COVID-19 or for antibodies to the virus.
“It is still, in the scheme of things, rare,” said de Blasio during his daily coronavirus press conference today. “But it is something that we take very seriously and we are now on high alert.”
On Tuesday, city health officials reported that 82 children were suffering from the life-threatening illness which is similar to other serious inflammatory illnesses like Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome.
In response to the uptick in cases, the city will launch weekly PMIS webinars targeting 700 pediatric providers, and it also plans daily outreach to 23 frontline pediatric ICUs in the city.
Symptoms of the PMIS, which causes swelling of the arteries with particular danger to the heart, include a fever lasting more than five days, severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, bloodshot eyes, skin rash, pale, patchy, or blue skin, indifference to eating, trouble breathing, racing heart, chest pain, lethargy, irritability, or confusion.
The mayor and city health officials urge parents who have children suffering from any of the listed symptoms — especially in combination — to reach out to a medical provider immediately. If parents do not have access to a health care provider, they are encouraged to call 311 to be connected to public health care clinicians.
“Early detection makes all the difference,” said de Blasio. “With early detection we can save the lives of these children.”
So far, three children have died because of the illness across New York State.