La. reports 4th death tied to child illness possibly linked to COVID-19
BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Health confirmed a fourth child has died from a rare illness that health officials believe is connected to COVID-19.
Multi-system inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C, first popped up in Louisiana in early May. Health officials say the syndrome, which usually requires hospitalization, is found in children who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus.
The state has now confirmed 44 cases as of Aug. 10, with 10 of those children being hospitalized at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge.
The chief medical officer at Children’s Hospital says they have worked with area school systems on crafting reopening plans to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and in turn, MIS-C.
"Washing hands, social distancing, limiting class size, having a static group so that students aren't interchanging with other students. Wearing a facial cover or mask. All those things that we worked with the schools. And those are all recommendations by the CDC to have a safe return to school,” Kemmerly said.
Doctor Shaun Kemmerly says, like those students back in class, the health care community is learning more every day about the novel coronavirus. Specifically, they’re learning more about the potential offshoot of the virus that's affected kids in the state between 1 month and 19 years old.
"And that's what it appears to be, an inflammatory response to COVID. So an over response to fighting off that infection. And then children suffer consequences of that inflammatory response,” Kemmerly said.
Kemmerly says of the 10 children that have been treated at their facility, their overall health has varied.
"The children we have seen with misc really have been a mixture. Some have had some underlying other illness and some have been previously healthy children,” Kemmerly said.
Elsewhere in the state, of the four children that died from organ failure caused by the syndrome, two had underlying medical conditions, and two did not, according to LDH.
Below is what Kemmerly says parents and teachers should be on the lookout for as far as symptoms for MIS-C.
"You need to call your doctor and go see your doctor if your child is having fever or vomiting or diarrhea, or rash, red eyes, things like that. Go to the emergency room for more severe abdominal pain, difficultly breathing. If kids are just incoherent, foggy, and not knowing where they are, things like that,” Kemmerly said.
The state saw a few initial cases about four months ago when the CDC was still defining the name of the illness. Kemmerly says cases then tapered off before popping up again within the past two to three weeks.
Now, she says the guidelines put into place for schools will be put to the test over the coming weeks.
"So we'll see how things go. In general, I don't feel like we'll have a big surge but we have to follow closely and watch what happens,” Kemmerly said.
Kemmerly added that parents should also talk with their pediatrician in deciding what is best for their child as far as schooling this year.
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