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'Too Early To Jump To Any Conclusion.' Kentucky Youth On Ventilator Due To COVID-19

Governor's Office

A 10-year-old in Kentucky is now on a ventilator due to COVID-19 complications. The governor made the announcement while asking Kentuckians to heed the call to quarantine if they're informed they've been exposed to the virus.

Public health officials believe the new illness in children linked to the novel coronavirus, labeled "pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome," remains rare, but the governor confirmed Monday that the state has its first known case — and the patient is a 10-year-old currently on a ventilator.

"It's too early to jump to any conclusion about numbers, rate, or anything else," Gov. Andy Beshear said.

Relatively little is known about the syndrome, which is being investigated in more than 80 children in New York state. Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack says the illness appears to be triggered by an overactive immune system response, and can present in young children and adolescents as a respiratory or gastrointestinal problem.

"For those of you who are parents, you should still take great comfort that children overall do extraordinarily well with (the coronavirus) and don't have serious illness," Dr. Stack said, while cautioning that "for kids who get this syndrome, it's serious."

The news came on the first day the administration had asked residents to begin wearing masks in public. As businesses start to reopen and more people venture out, Beshear said they need to be ready, should they receive a call from contact tracers.

"For those that are a little anxious, those that want to get out, you've got to understand with this new world that you may get a call ... that says you've been in contact with someone who's tested positive," the governor said. "And for that, you're going to have to self-quarantine for a period of time."

Total confirmed cases are now at 6,677 with 311 deaths attributed to the virus. Overall numbers remain comparatively flat as the state begins its gradual economic reboot.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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