In July, the number of positive cases in children under 10, and between 10 and 19 years of age, increased dramatically.
The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in children has significantly risen in Puerto Rico since last month, according to data reported by the local health department.
On July 1, the agency reported 45 confirmed cases of children under the age of 10 who had tested positive for COVID-19, as well as 111 possible cases within the same age group.
By July 31, the number of cases confirmed for children in the same age range rose to 254, with 315 possible cases.
For children 10–19 years of age, on July 1 there were 96 confirmed cases and 199 possible cases. By July 31, confirmed cases were 517, and possible cases 549.
The number of positive cases continues on the rise. As of August 23, there are 625 confirmed cases of children under 10, and 1,087 of children 10–19.
The island is facing a COVID-19 spike since last month. Puerto Rico was one of the first jurisdictions in the United States to lockdown on March 16. Since its wide reopening in mid-June, the number of positive cases has gone up.
As of August 24, the health department has reported 13,922 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 16,696 possible cases. The total death toll for the island is 390 Among the fatalities reported on Wednesday is a 19-year-old teenage girl from Fajardo. There are 363 people hospitalized. Of those patients, 71 are in Intensive Care Units (ICU) at 70% capacity with COVID-19 cases and other illnesses
The pediatrician also stated that so far on the island there are no reports of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a rare condition that can surface after a child has been exposed to COVID-19.
CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has explained that MIS-C resembles Kawasaki disease, also an inflammatory syndrome. “It can be quite devastating for children,” he stated.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, MIS-C symptoms include persistent fever, inflammation (detected by blood test results), and evidence of organ dysfunction or shock.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported 600 children diagnosed with MIS-C in 40 states. Ten of them died because of the condition.
Dr. Ramos assured that local pediatricians are aware of the MIS-C syndrome, and are capable of dealing with cases as they surface. He also stated one or two cases of Kawasaki are diagnosed on the island every month.
Ramos highlighted how important it is for doctors to be up on how to treat MIS-C, especially since it can be easily confused with Kawasaki because of its similar symptoms.
“We have a lot of experience treating Kawasaki and toxic shock syndrome. Toxic shock has similar symptoms to dengue in kids. In its initial phase, it can cause cerebral, heart, and kidney failure. Kawasaki causes inflammation and can be observed through symptoms like a swollen and reddened tongue, dry lips, swollen feet, red eyes, and itchy body,” Dr. Ramos commented.