Governor Andrew Cuomo says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is putting the New York State Department of Health in charge of investigating cases of a serious inflammatory disease affecting children believed to be associated with COVID-19.

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Cuomo says three children in the New York City area have now died after becoming ill and testing positive for the coronavirus.

Last week, the Health Department issued an advisory to inform healthcare providers of the condition called Pediatric Multi-Symptom Inflammatory Syndrome and provide guidance for testing and reporting.

New York Health Commissioner Doctor Howard Zucker says most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms but a few have had the dangerous inflammatory syndrome develop.  A possible link between the coronavirus and the syndrome has been reported in the United Kingdom.

Features can overlap with Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome and occur days or weeks after an acute COVID-19 illness in children.  Symptoms include a persistent fever, abdominal symptoms, rash and even heart issues.

The Governor over the weekend cautioned parents to be on the lookout for high fever lasting several days, vomiting, diarrhea, chest pain and a change in the color of the skin and seek medical advice.  The state is currently investigating 85 cases of the syndrome that does not present in the same way as COVID-19.

Cuomo says the surfacing of the condition is especially alarming since the early stages of the pandemic indicated children were less likely to become critically ill.

The syndrome appears to be targeting primarily school-aged children.