MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As community spread of COVID-19 has increased across the state in recent weeks, so too has a rare complication from the virus only seen in children. Forty-two kids in Minnesota have been diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome (or MIS-C). That number has nearly doubled since this summer.

WCCO talked to one 9-year-old just home from the hospital after his sickness seemed to set in overnight.

An active and athletic fourth-grader in Glencoe, the pandemic has been difficult for Jaxson Hoffman.

“Throughout that time the kids were quarantined because of positive cases on their school bus and their classroom, we’ve been home off and on because of COVID,” Megan Hoffman said.

Jaxson’s father, a national guard member and in charge of COVID testing at one site, also experienced an asymptomatic case this fall.

“At the time we thought if we have to go through this we’re grateful it’s not super bad,” Hoffman said.

But in the middle of last month Jaxson complained of headaches. Another sign set in overnight.

“That’s when we found a fever of 104.9. That made me panic,” Megan Hoffman said.

Tests at their local hospital didn’t help. No strep, no COVID, and a normal chest x-ray. Back at home, Jaxson got worse.

“It was really hard for me to even move my legs. I was really wobbly and it was just so blurry,” he said.

The Hoffman’s decided to head to Children’s Minnesota.

“I just knew we were missing something. There was something else going on,” Hoffman said.

That’s where they found Jaxson’s white blood cell supply was critically low.

“That same day we got the results of his antibody test and it came back positive so that’s in fact how we found out he did have COVID,” Megan Hoffman said.

That lead to the rare inflammatory syndrome diagnosis.

“At Children’s we’re definitely seeing an uptick in MIS-C as the number of cases of COVID increase in the community,” Dr. Anu Kalaskar, infectious disease consultant at Children’s Minnesota, said.

Kalaskar has seen a wide spectrum of the sickness at Children’s Minnesota: rash, red eyes, respiratory problems. Persistent fever and stomach issues are the most common.

“Those first symptoms are usually present,” she said.

After nine days in the hospital, Jaxson went home on Nov. 28. Steroids helped turn his case around. He will slowly taper off his medication as he gets his body to be able to function on its own again.

Doctors still can’t say why some patients are infected with MIS-C and others are not.

Liz Collin