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Weekly COVID-19 update: The first Virginia child dies of COVID-related MIS-C, a rare condition that causes organ inflammation

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A Northern Virginia child has become the first in the state to die of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a rare complication of COVID-19 that causes the body’s organs to become damaged.

The Virginia Department of Health described the victim as a child between the ages of 10 and 19 who lived in the Prince William Health District. The announcement Friday said no other information would be released out of respect for he family and to protect privacy.

He or she was the 16th person younger than 20 years old to die of COVID in Virginia since the pandemic began.

MIS-C is a syndrome — a group of signs and symptoms, not a disease — linked to COVID. While most children who contract COVID experience only mild illness, those who develop MIS-C can experience inflammation of the heart, lungs, blood vessels, or other organs.

Symptoms of MIS-C include a fever that doesn’t break, vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing, stomach pain, skin rash and more.

Doctors don’t know why some children develop the condition and others don’t. Some children have it despite no longer having an active COVID infection. There have been 111 occurrences of MIS-C in the state out of 144,000 COVID cases in youths, according to the Virginia Department of Health.

More Black and Latino children have been diagnosed with the syndrome in the U.S., according to the Mayo Clinic.

COVID cases in Virginia have flattened recently after increasing the first two weeks of November. There was a seven-day average of 1,369 cases across the state last week.

Virginia reported 10,279 new COVID-19 infections over the past week, bringing the cumulative total during the pandemic to 963,739, the Virginia Department of Health reported Friday.

The state on Friday reported 143 new virus-related deaths over the past seven days, for a total of 14,635 since the start of the pandemic.

As of Friday, 76.8% of Virginia’s adult population had been fully vaccinated.

Children ages 5-11 have been approved to receive a vaccine, which are available at the community vaccination center in the former Sears store at Valley View Mall, located at 4812 Valley View Blvd. People can make appointments at vaccinate.virgina.gov or by calling 877-829-4682. Walk-ins are also now open for adults and children.

The Roanoke Times contributed to this report.

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