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Shelby County has highest level of COVID-19 related child inflammatory disease in the state

Medical experts said the number of children with underlying health conditions is a factor in COVID-19 complications.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As pediatric COVID cases have risen, so has the number of cases of Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome, known as MIS-C. It's a rare inflammatory condition that affects kids with COVID-19. 

According to state records, Shelby County is leading the state with the number of child COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks, and the number of MIS-C cases.

According to the Tennessee Health Department records, there have been 41 cases of MIS-C in Shelby County, more than any other county in the state.

The number of school-aged kids in Shelby County diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past two weeks was 1,435.

"With COVID, initially children were fairing very well. With the Delta, we are seeing they are getting much sicker," said Dr. Reginique Green with Christ Community Health Services.

Green said one reason children are getting so sick is that many children in our area have underlying health conditions and are more vulnerable to COVID complications. 

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For example, a recent study found 39% of children in Shelby County were overweight. Our area's high rates of diabetes and asthma also don't help the situation.  

"Being overweight, diabetes, hypertension, poor diet, particularly diabetes in itself. Any type of asthma or immunosuppression would make children fair far worse. And we do see that more so in the African-American and urban communities."

Making matters worse, Green said because the Delta Variant is so much more contagious than the original strain, when children come down with COVID-19 often, the whole family also gets it.

"If your children come home, even if you are vaccinated, you may get a mild form of COVID."