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More children in Shelby County coming down with COVID-19

Infectious disease specialists say many of the kids who contract COVID-19 only have mild symptoms and do not require hospitalization

MEMPHIS, Tennessee —

A leading infectious disease expert in Shelby County said he is concerned about an uptick of COVID-19 cases he and fellow doctors saw over the weekend. In addition to adult cases rising, a growing number of children also are coming down with the virus. 

That rare inflammatory disease associated with COVID-19 also is now in our area. According to the Shelby County Health Department, there are more than 400 cases where children under the age of 18 tested positive for COVID-19.

"Most kids do very well, which is reassuring," said Dr. Jennifer Snow, Baptist Hospital Pediatric ICU Medical Director.

Dr. Snow said the majority of children who contract COVID-19 have mild symptoms and they typically don't require hospitalization. Many may be asymptomatic but Snow said they could have symptoms similar to their adult counterparts, such as a fever or cough.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Stephen Threlkeld said when it comes to kids and COVID-19, they may have few complications, but he added, "What’s up in the air is how much they may spread it. They may have a harder time with social distancing, and they may be closer to groups of people in larger numbers," said Dr. Threlkeld.

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In addition to COVID-19, there have also been a few cases of that rare inflammatory condition called MISC or Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, in the Mid-South. The disease is not definitely linked to COVID-19, but it's believed there is a connection. It hits children and is a condition where different  parts of the body become inflamed. 

"It's scary because it's new and there is still a lot we don't know, so that creates a lot of anxiety," said Dr. Snow.

MISC can be serious. Dr. Snow said symptoms include things like high fever, rash, gastrointestinal issues, or swollen lymph nodes. Snow says a child with MISC was treated at Baptist and is home recovering and doing fine. 

"Most kids are recovering. There have been a handful of deaths, but most kids are recovering," said Dr. Snow.

Snow says if your child shows any symptoms you should call your doctor immediately.  Treatment for the inflammatory syndrome has to be done in a hospital setting.