By Alan Gionet

(CBS4) – It started Friday really. “He wasn’t really feeling good. Tired, lethargic,” said his grandmother Michelle Martinez.  “And the fever was what got me.”

In addition, 8-year-old Xaviar Thurlow-Martinez had a headache and his stomach hurt. He wasn’t keeping food down, said Martinez, who is the boy’s guardian. Their home in Thornton had already been hit hard by COVID-19 in December. Michelle’s father died of it. So they were testing frequently, including Xaviar.

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He’s a sweet kid. He go an award last year, beams his grandmother, for being one of the most caring kids at school.

“He’s always putting other people’s feelings ahead of himself,” she explained. He never tested positive, even in a test after he started feeling symptoms Friday. “It was really weird that he had all these symptoms of COVID, every test we took he was just negative, negative, negative.”

When the fever wouldn’t break day after day, on Wednesday they made a call to get some medical advice and were told to take him right in. They went to Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

“Scared me because we were in the ICU for the night, but he’s actually turning around because they caught it soon enough,” she said. “I’m very grateful for it.”

(credit: CBS)

The Colorado Department of Public Health an Environment says the state has had 29 known cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in children confirmed. They expect the number to grow as more potential cases in December are reviewed.

Two children with it have died.

“As we become more aware of the symptoms and we publicized that to health providers, we see more and more cases,” says Dr. Reginald Washington, chief medical officer of Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. “Now the question is it more widespread or are people diagnosing it more frequently. I think it’s probably a combination of both.”

Washington believes the syndrome may be similar to severe reactions to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in adults, but the manifestations are different. MIS-C typically occurs two weeks or more after COVID exposure.

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“Although it’s manifested in adults usually with respiratory symptoms,” says Washington. “They have excessive blood clotting and a few other things. In children, if they have this exaggerated response, it seems to involve their neurologic system their GI system, they can get a rash and sometimes it involves their cardiac system.”

While the coronavirus seems less serious in many children, for those with the serious reaction like Xaviar, the reaction can wreak havoc.

(credit: CBS)

“It could actually affect him worse than COVID because it actually affect his organs. And that’s something we all need to think about with our kids,” said Michelle. “We fight the inflammation with steroids and other measures,” explained Dr. Washington. “Some of them have trouble keeping their blood pressure up, keeping their circulation going. Keeping their kidneys and livers functioning.”

For some reason, the numbers among minority children are higher.

“It is true that the majority across the country of kids with this syndrome are usually Latino or Black but we don’t know if that’s how they’re being diagnosed or how they present to the medical system, but that is a statistic that we’re really interested in finding more about.”

Xaviar was resting comfortably Thursday evening after being moved out of the ICU. His grandmother wanted other families to understand the risk. The family has already seen too much loss from COVID-19. When children have fever and two other significant symptoms, it may be time for help.

“With all this COVID going around right now, it’s best to just take him in. Better safe than sorry, because you never know,” said Michelle.

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children says they believe they’ve had cases from a premature baby all the way up to 18 year olds. While CDPHE expects more numbers as cases are tabulated from December, Xaviar may end up in that count. Hopefully he can go home healthy soon.

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“Oh yeah, he wants to go home, he wants to see his dogs,” said Michelle.

Alan Gionet